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A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition

Squirrel Hill Magazine

Vol 18 | Issue 1

R

Spring 2020

NEW BEGINNINGS UNCOMMON COMPANIONS A NEW LEASH ON LIFE AT HUMANE ANIMAL RESCUE MINADEO RISING FRESH STARTS AROUND SQUIRREL HILL


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


EXPERIENCE MEANS PROVIDING A SMOOTH AND SEAMLESS PROCESS SO THAT YOU CAN FOCUS ON THE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE.

INTEGRITY IS ENSURING THAT EVEN THE SMALLEST DETAILS ARE COMPLETED PRECISELY SO THAT YOU CAN ENJOY YOUR HOME FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.

THAT’S BRIAN SERGI-CURFMAN.

Brian Sergi-Curfman ASSOCIATE BROKER, REALTOR®, CRS, CNE, SRS, ABR, SRES, GREEN, RRS, RFS, RCC, CNHS

412.521.5500 (office) • 412.901.6900 (cell) briansergicurfman@thepreferredrealty.com www.BrianSergiCurfman.com


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 works to preserve, improve, and celebrate the quality of life in our vibrant urban Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

ON THE COVER:

‘Golden Northern Bumble Bee’, an insect portrait by Jacquelyn Cynkar. Her photography exhibit, Uncommon Companions, opened at the Frick Environmental Center in December, giving viewers an intimate glimpse into the realm of insects and arachnids. More on page 16.

We were fortunate to have a mild Winter this year, but that makes us no less excited for Spring. In addition to the arrival of warmer weather, Spring is also a time to look forward to New Beginnings, which is why we chose

INQUIRIES

Contact marketing@shuc.org. All other communications can be directed to editor@shuc.org or (412) 422-7666.

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Spring 2020

SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION OFFICERS PRESIDENT Mardi Isler VICE PRESIDENT Marshall Hershberg VICE PRESIDENT Lisa Murphy VICE PRESIDENT Joshua Sayles SECRETARY Raymond Baum ASST. SECRETARY Dalia Belinkoff TREASURER Paul Katz ASST. TREASURER Lisa Steindel IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Richard Feder BOARD OF DIRECTORS Anna Batista, Jill Beck, Vivian Didomenico, Lori Fitzgerald, Heather Graham, Barbara Grover, Michael Henderson, Paul Katz, Lois Liberman, Cynthia Morelock, Joseph Ott, Mary Shaw, Erik Wagner, Eveline Young, Ceci Sommers (Emeritus)

them as our issue theme. A new beginning can mean a lot of things: it can mean a second chance at life, like Eitan had in our piece on the Humane Animal

MAGAZINE COMMITTEE Harriet Baum, Dalia Belinkoff, Michael D. Henderson, Eleanor Hershberg, Mardi Isler (Ex officio), Helen Wilson

Rescue; it can mean a completely new menu, like Nor Nareedokmai is offering at his rebranded Kiin Lao & Thai Eatery; it can be improving each new school year, like Michilene Pegher is doing in her work at Minadeo. As our country and community now face

FOR ADVERTISING

Vol 18 | Issue 1

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some unexpected challenges, we hope you’ll still notice the newness that Spring brings and

CONTRIBUTORS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Maria Cohen, Jacquelyn Cynkar, Lawrence Gerson, Barb Grover, Mardi Isler, Natalie Kovacic, Marian Lien, Gina Mercuri, Jennifer Petrie, Melissa Smith, Rochel Tombosky, and Helen Wilson. EDITOR Natalie Kovacic

enjoy your own new beginnings. Of course,

DESIGNER Lynn Kawaratani

with the longer days and warmer months

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Maria H. Cohen

coming, it’s a perfect time to try something new. Nataliie Kovacic Editor, Squirrel Hill Magazine

Squirrel Hill Magazine, Vol. 18, 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.


SPRING 2020

facebook.com/ squirrelhillmagazine instagram.com/ squirrelhillurbancoalition twitter.com/ squirrelhillmag shuc.org/ the-burrow-blog/

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in every issue GREETINGS FROM THE SHUC PRESIDENT

6

STATE AND CITY COUNCIL CORNER

8

by Mardi Isler

12

features 12

2020 LUNAR NEW YEAR

14

MINADEO RISING

COMMUNITY CHAMPION JaQuay Edward Carter

10

SHUC SNAPSHOTS

22

16

UNCOMMON COMPANIONS

GOOD NEWS FROM OUR SCHOOLS

24

18

A NEW LEASH ON LIFE

PET POINTS

26

36

GIFT PROGRAM

24

by Lawrence Gerson

NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES

30

SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY

33

by Jennifer Petrie

by Natalie Kovacic

18

by Helen Wilson

36


SHUC PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Greetings from the SHUC President By Mardi Isler, SHUC Board President

THE SYMBOLISM OF SPRING IS UNIVERSAL. A time of growth and rebirth, the new season invites us to rediscover both our surroundings and our optimism. With the warmth and sunshine come colorful blossoms, gardens awakening from their slumber, and baby squirrels and bunnies dashing across our yards. Scientists who study happiness tell us that all this reawakening actually helps us be more successful, healthier and happier—because our surroundings influence how we experience and appreciate life. The same wisdom, it seems, applies to cities as it does to seasons. Recently, I have been reading a book by Charles Montgomery titled Happy City, which looks at how urban design contributes to our happiness and well-being. It turns out that cities that are walkable, green, and connected are not only better places to live, they are quite literally happier places to be. The book validated my long-held belief in the importance of public spaces and access to nature.

We should be making decisions based on how they help our community feed our happiness and quality of life. As a lay person, I was drawn to the concept of a “happy city.” To me, it’s a terrific shortcut for considering the impact of improvements being proposed in our own little corner of the world. It also piqued my interest as to what other lessons are relevant to a volunteer organization with a mission to “preserve, improve, and celebrate the quality of life in our vibrant urban Squirrel Hill neighborhood.” I believe people are drawn to Squirrel Hill precisely because of the sort of assets that Montgomery describes in his book, and we should be making decisions based on how they help our community feed our happiness and quality of life.

I remember holding a series of public meetings a few years ago. We asked residents what they wished for our community. The answers were clear. They wanted streetlights on Murray Avenue for aesthetics, but also for a feeling of safety. They said we needed benches on Murray Avenue at significant corners to rest or hold conversations with friends. Everyone wanted more street trees for their shade and for their beauty. People also asked for a renovated Post Office parklet, public art, murals to spruce up dingy sides of buildings, and a welcome sign for visitors. SHUC has accomplished most of this original wish list. These recommendations were additions to Squirrel Hill’s noteworthy foundation of parks, businesses, institutions, faith-based organizations, entertainment, restaurants, and diverse housing which supports our personal and neighborhood well-being. A happy city is also a work in progress, always striving to offer more of what contributes to a truly healthy and sustaining community for everyone. We all have different definitions of what happiness is. It can be contentment, a belief that we are meeting our potential, good health, the ability to connect with other people, economic stability, leisure time, and the CONTINUED on page 7

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love of our family and friends. But however we may define happiness, there can be little doubt that our surroundings contribute to it. The environments we build and preserve—and how we take care of them—matter. Obviously, so do other factors, too. I believe a happy city, and a happy nation, ensures that the core needs of all its people are met, and we should all advocate for that sort of responsible policy-making. And here, in our community, we should make sure the environment we preserve and create continues to feed who we are as human beings. SHUC is a community organization that works through public processes to identify the public good and to accomplish changes that hopefully we can all be proud of. Our efforts can only be successful with significant resident participation in everything we do. We welcome your thoughts. What initiatives would make you optimistic about Squirrel Hill’s future? Tell us how Squirrel Hill makes you happy—and how this corner of our city can be happier still.

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Mardi Isler can be reached at president@shuc.org.

P.S. As this magazine goes to print, the impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve and our collective responses are based on new information from the Centers for Disease Control and the Allegheny County Health Department. Most public events have been cancelled and companies and agencies are limiting inperson meetings with are emphasizing working from home. Therefore, listing of events in this magazine are subject to change. Please do check with organizers before making plans to attend. Everyone’s goal is to keep our community safe and help our neighbors as we are able. This virus will eventually run its course and we can all get back to supporting a full recovery for our family, friends, neighbors, restaurants, businesses and for our community! In the meantime,

follow best practices for staying healthy, and wash your hands! Be safe, stay well!

Spring 2020 | 7


STATE & CIT Y COUNCIL CORNER

SPRING UPDATES

STATE & CITY COUNCIL CORNER IS OUR QUARTERLY UPDATE of news and press releases from the offices of Squirrel Hill’s city and state representatives to keep you informed. PITTSBURGH PAID SICK DAYS LAW TO GO INTO EFFECT ON MARCH 15TH An ordinance sponsored by Councilmember Corey O’Connor will require private employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours an employee works. Employers with less than 15 employees must provide up to 24 hours, and all other employers must provide up to 40 hours. The new law applies to businesses within the City limits, but also applies to employees that spend at least 35 hours a year working in the City. Businesses and organizations have a 90-day period to comply.

PITTSBURGH RECEIVES GRANT FOR SPECIAL STREET SWEEPER Councilmember Corey O’Connor, together with Pittsburgh City Council, also authorized a $187,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to purchase a specialized street sweeper for the maintenance of stormwater-absorbing pavement. The money will initially be used for cleaning a bike and pedestrian trail at Hazelwood Green along the Monongahela River. Commenting to the TribuneReview, Councilmember O’Connor says the equipment is needed as the city installs more permeable pavement to allow stormwater to penetrate the ground, and the pavement becomes clogged over time, necessitating the use of the special sweeper.

STRASSBURGER APPOINTED TO PITTSBURGH WATER & SEWER AUTHORITY (PWSA) BOARD On Feb. 4, Mayor Bill Peduto nominated City Councilmember Erika Strassburger to replace Councilmember Deb Gross on the board. Councilmember Strassburger remarked that she took the responsibility seriously, noting she will serve to especially ensure public control of the PWSA’s assets and management and investment in green solutions to stormwater overflow and flooding challenges.

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Clockwise, from top left: City Councilmember Erika Strassburger; State Senator Jay Costa; City Councilmember Corey O’Connor; State Representative Dan Frankel.

In early March, Mr. Peduto announced the formation of a nominating committee that will be tasked with expanding the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority board from seven to nine members.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAN FRANKEL INTRODUCES PRESCRIPTION DRUG AFFORDABILITY ACT Rep. Dan Frankel recently introduced the Prescription Drug Affordability Act, HB 2212, which creates a Prescription Drug Affordability Board in Pennsylvania to protect residents from soaring drug prices. On February 25, a hearing on prescription drug costs was held in Harrisburg to standing-room-only crowd. A large group had to be moved to the lobby to watch the proceedings on a television.

SENATOR JAY COSTA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO INTRODUCE REFORM FOR DRIVER LICENSE SUSPENSIONS Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa along with Senator Pat Stefano announced plans to introduce bipartisan legislation that would reform the process of license suspension for driving violations. The legislation would provide alternative mechanisms such as community service for individuals to retain their driver’s license in cases where they are financially unable to pay fines and fees imposed for routine traffic violations.


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COMMUNIT Y CHAMPION

JaQuay Edward

Carter

of Greater Hazelwood Historical Society FOR THIS EDITION OF COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS, Executive Director Maria Cohen sat down with JaQuay Edward Carter of the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society to learn more about what his organization is doing to assist with redevelopment and preservation of Hazelwood’s historical assets. The Society strives to connect with those communities that have historically shared Hazelwood’s borders, like Greenfield and Squirrel Hill South. Hazelwood is one of our neighboring areas where we’re seeing a lot of changes. Can you tell us about the work you’re doing there? I’m the founder and president of the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society. We’re working to build a historical and cultural center in Hazelwood, and working with other local organizations on redevelopment strategies and the preservation of historical assets in Hazelwood.

How did you come to get involved in that? By happenstance, I came across posts on social media of historical documents and photos from the past, and I started looking into my family history in the neighborhood of Hazelwood. I found a bunch of old photographs, memorabilia—all sorts of things from the 40s, 50s and 60s, in Hazelwood’s heyday before the mills closed. People love to reminisce about how the neighborhood used to be, a time that I actually didn’t see for myself, so it’s very cool to have the pictures and stories from the residents there.

What has been the impact of you doing this kind of work on your community? My dad was a mentor to other men when I was growing up, and now I am doing mentoring work.

JaQuay Edward Carter, founder and president of Greater Hazelwood Historical Society

There is a legacy of mentorship, of African-Americans trying to teach youngsters the ropes, have them reflect on our past, help them in the way they dress or conduct themselves. We are also working to put historical markers in place to acknowledge events that have taken place in Hazelwood. Did you know bingo was invented in Hazelwood in the 1920s? Hugh J. Ward invented it, and up until his death he was a resident of Hazelwood. So we plan to put a historical marker in front of his house to let people know: this is where the inventor of modern bingo once lived.

Do you want to share about the library project you are working on? Yes. A redevelopment team that includes myself, Councilman O’Connor, the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative, and others, have all supported a project to redevelop the former Hazelwood branch of the Carnegie Library for a cultural and community center. It’s a historic, 120-year old building, one of the oldest in Pittsburgh. Local foundations, including Heinz, which is a big part of the redevelopment of Hazelwood right now, are hopeful CONTINUED on page 11

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to be a part of this redevelopment project. We are awaiting approval from the URA.

Are there any other initiatives you are working on? I’m working on a book with Arcadia Publishing which explores the history of Hazelwood; I’ve been mentored by Helen Wilson of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society who’s worked on a similar project about Squirrel Hill. We’re also hosting a tour of Hazelwood March 2728 which is very exciting, on a trolley-type bus. We’ll drive around the neighborhood, including Hazelwood Cemetery, and I’ll speak about some of the people who are buried there. Following the tour, we’d like to develop a map of it that will be displayed at the Center for Life and people can do self-guided tours.

as Woods House, the new pub, redeveloping this old library as a historical and cultural center. We have 6 Z Cafe coming in, a play on the 61C Cafe, of course, and La Gourmandine as a new tenant. This shows people that the neighborhood is viable. It’s not an unsafe place everywhere; you have to be alert anywhere in the City, but I’d encourage people to come check out our library, grab a pastry, and come visit. A lot of our Squirrel Hill neighbors have Hazelwood roots, family members that worked in the mills there. In the next 5-10 years we’ll see the fruition of all these years of work and cohesiveness in the community. We were missing that for a while, but now we have a master plan in place and we’re excited about that.

What are some of your other hopes for the Hazelwood community? My hope is to see the community to be redeveloped in a way that pays homage to its historical past and also allows the community residents to be part of designing its future. We are very proud of the progress that’s being made and hopeful for what’s to come.

Residents who are interested in learning more about JaQuay’s work can join the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh group on Facebook or reach out to JaQuay Edward Carter at hazelwoodhistorical@gmail.com. Men mentoring younger generations is a long-standing tradition in Hazelwood.

What would you want our Squirrel Hill residents to know about their Hazelwood neighbors? Hazelwood is a place that has lost a bit of history, its identity and its culture especially after the decline of the mills there. It never fully recovered. It’s not unlike other neighborhoods that have suffered the same fate such as Braddock. The environment became stagnant. But we are working to see it thrive again and we have new businesses popping up all the time, such

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Murray! Murray the Squirrel is available for events and visits to local organizations and schools. Call SHUC at (412) 422-7666 or email info@shuc.org to request a visit.

Spring 2020 | 11


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LUNAR NEW YEAR 2020 CELEBRATION With appreciation to the Organization of Chinese Americans for organizing, St. Edmund’s for hosting, and to Solevo Wellness for sponsoring the Lunar New Year Parade

Spring 2020 | 13


MINADEO

RISING

PRINCIPAL PEGHER’S TWO YEAR SUCCESS STORY IN FORGING A NEW PATH FOR MINADEO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL By Jennifer Petrie, SHUC Education Committee

IN AUGUST 2018, PRINCIPAL MICHILENE PEGHER entered the halls of Minadeo Elementary School, a K-5 public school located in Squirrel Hill, ready to take the school on a new path towards success. As I entered Minadeo School last month, I instantly recognized that a real positive transformation was taking place in terms of student proficiency, student safety, culture of learning, resources available, and even the school’s appearance. Principal Pegher is making enormous strides at Minadeo, and her captivating story shows school transformation and success can happen in Pittsburgh Public Schools with the right mission, resources, and a steadfast leader determined to hold herself and the school accountable for success.

When the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition’s Education Committee sat down for our conversation with Principal Pegher, we were taken by her passion, energy, and confidence in her mission to raise the standard of success at Minadeo. To improve learning outcomes, Principal Pegher restructured the school day to have students change classes allowing students to receive specialized instruction in reading and math, which experts state can raise test scores.

...a real positive transformation was taking place in terms of student proficiency, student safety, culture of learning, resources available and even the school’s appearance.

As I walked into Minadeo Elementary in January, the first thing I noticed were physical improvements made to the school since I had last visited Minadeo back in the spring of 2018, before Principal Pegher started. The walls are beautifully covered with student artwork and repainted a new color enhanced by brighter lightening from the new ceiling lights.

In addition to increasing student learning, Principal Pegher’s most significant transformation has been in improving student safety and reclaiming a culture of learning at Minadeo. A new disciplinary policy has been put in place to foster positive behavior and hold students accountable. The result is far fewer disciplinary transgressions and distractions in the classroom and a school that Mrs. Pegher says is safe and orderly. Minadeo’s increasing success is largely a result of Mrs. Pegher having high expectations for all students, taking personal control of discipline, contacting parents, setting clear and consistently enforced boundaries, directly communicating with the students, teaching mutual respect and courtesy to all, CONTINUED on page 15

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and encouraging students to seek adults to help solve problems with other students.

day. We still have much work to do, and we will all do it together.”

In fact, Principal Pegher is so committed to this change, she frequently rides the school buses, infusing a “be the nice kid” attitude. Because Principal Pegher grew up in and lives in Hazelwood, she has distinct insight into the lives of the students and parents she meets, as many come from Hazelwood. The Minadeo success story is also being made possible through the hard work and dedication of Assistant Principal Scott Gralewski and the teachers to embracing and implementing Principal Pegher’s new mission.

The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is committed to help increase parent and community involvement and resources to Minadeo. Principal Pegher is a force of accountability and transformation needed in our city’s public schools and we can’t wait to see the story of success at Minadeo continue.

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SPRINGTIME

BRINGS

Uncommon Companions

UNCOMMON COMPANIONS, A PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT, opened at the Frick Environmental Center in December, giving viewers an intimate glimpse into the realm of insects and arachnids through portrait photography by Jacquelyn Cynkar.

Jacquelyn Cynkar stands besides her portraits in the Uncommon Companions exhibit at the Frick Environmental Center.

Jacquelyn says it’s an honor to show her work at the Environmental Center, especially because many of her images were captured in Frick Park. She credits Susan Rademacher, Director of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory/Head Curator, and Reed Hoffmier, Frick Environmental Center Site Manager, and their team for their collaboration and support to bring her photos to the public. When Jacquelyn started photographing insects, she didn’t realize it would turn into a series. She took her first insect portrait in 2006 and has worked on this exhibit little by little over the past ten years or so. She found herself increasingly intrigued by the detail in these insects, that a person on an average walk might not notice. “I love capturing something you might not naturally see. As I’m refining my photography skills, from a technical standpoint, I’m also learning how to investigate insects in the park. It’s a place I can slow down. I’m not feeling as rushed or hurried like I might be when photographing people.”

This planthopper, photographed by Cynkar, eats sap/fluid from plants and trees, but doesn’t kill them (though it is plant-dependent).

Jacquelyn wasn’t always a photographer. After college, she worked at Carnegie Mellon in a lab researching cognitive brain imaging, but it was during her pregnancy with her second child in the early 2000s that she realized she needed to take up a new kind of work to be at home more often. In 2005, she went CONTINUED on page 17

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to the Art Institute to earn a degree in Photography. Having degrees in Psychology and Anthropology, she thought it was a natural fit. “I’ve always been drawn to people and portraits. I think that comes from working with people in my research early on in my career, looking at brain activation, continually exploring that. [My photography] is research-oriented in a way - I investigate and look at things and document my point of view.”

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Why does she consider the insects in the park uncommon companions? “Whether you’re in the park, at home, in your yard, or your garden,” she says, “these insects are there with us, and so they’re all of our companions. You might not be thinking of them as a companion; hence, the uncommon. They are so seemingly innocuous that most people would pass by them and not even notice. But we need to take care of them and to notice the company we have around us. They are our company, and beautiful creatures.”

You can see a fuller sample of Jacquelyn’s work on her website at jacquelyncynkar.com. Spring 2020 | 17


A NEW LEASH ON

LIFE AT THE HUMANE ANIMAL RESCUE By Natalie Kovacic, Editor

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IT HAD BEEN AT LEAST FIVE YEARS since I visited the Animal Rescue on Hamilton Avenue when I was invited to meet with Dan Rossi, Chief Executive Officer of the now Humane Animal Rescue (HAR), at their brand-new facility on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Washington Boulevard last month. Upon entering the facility, I was immediately struck by how bright and clean the facility was; this definitely wasn’t the Animal Rescue I had visited years before. Was I in the right place? “Yes,” assured Rossi, who has been with the organization for 11 years. He started out with the Animal Rescue League and oversaw its merger with the Humane Society three years ago, a merger that Rossi says was years in the making. “We realized the Society and the League had the same mission, offering many of the same services,” he said. “It made sense to work together and pool our resources. Together, we’re able to achieve bigger goals and we’re much more efficient.” During that merger, the leadership of the organizations realized that the shelter on Hamilton Avenue was no longer sufficient to meet the needs of the animals they were sheltering. As Rossi describes it, the old building was sorely in need of renovations, and the kennels from the 60s no longer complied with best practices for the modern-day animal shelter. Air circulation, a lack of space for incoming animals, and a lack of parking for visitors were additional concerns. The HAR brought in architects who specialize in animal shelter design and secured a location close to the old shelter to build the 3-acre, 32,000 sq. ft. facility that is the new home of the HAR on Hamilton Avenue. “Since we merged and built the new facility, we’re really able to grow our capabilities and we want to continue to do that: expand our programs, expand our reach, and save as many lives as we possibly can,” he says. This includes expanding HAR’s clinical services at both its East End and North Side locations, where it currently offers low-cost veterinary services to the public. HAR has recently expanded their walk-in

hours to the East End clinic, where the public can visit without an appointment to receive vaccinations two days per week. HAR is also continuing to assist other animal rescues through their transfer program. Last year, over 1,200 animals in overpopulated shelters, mainly in the South, were transported in by HAR via a partnership with ASPCA to save them from being euthanized. They also visit shelters in Ohio and West Virginia weekly to transfer animals from overpopulated shelters there, too.

It made sense to work together and pool our resources. Together we are able to achieve bigger goals and we’re much more efficient. — Dan Rossi, Chief Executive Officer, Humane Animal Rescue “A lot of people don’t know about the services we provide, including behavior classes here at the East End, as well as the North Side location. We had over 1000 dogs come through our program here last year,” says Rossi. CONTINUED on page 20

Spring 2020 | 19


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He notes there are a myriad of ways neighbors can participate in programming at HAR: •

ADOPTIONS, OF COURSE: “We always have plenty of dogs and cats to adopt, including some turtles, gerbils, and other small animals,” Rossi says. FOSTER CARE PROGRAM: “We especially need volunteers to foster animals in the spring and summer, when our population of cats and dogs increases; it can be as easy as taking in a mother and kittens for 3-4 weeks, or as intense as fostering kittens who need to be bottle-fed,” he says. HAR is willing to work with volunteers based on their ability. READING TO THE ANIMALS PROGRAM: Children can come once per month through the school year and read to the animals. “This is a real win-win for

everyone,” says Rossi. “Children can practice their reading skills and our animals receive the human attention they need and can hear a gentle voice, too.”

VOLUNTEER PROGRAM: HAR is always seeking dog walkers and cat cuddlers to help with the animals, but they need volunteers for additional tasks, too, like gardening/weeding their new property, maintenance assistance, disinfecting and sterilizing instruments, and helping at special events.

Rossi encourages residents to visit their new facility at 6926 Hamilton Avenue for a tour and to visit their website for a full list of their upcoming programs and events (humaneanimalrescue.org). HAR is open 6 days a week, Tuesday through Friday from 11am-7pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm.

A NEW BEGINNING FOR In December, a Good Samaritan found Eitan near Turner Elementary School in Wilkinsburg. Upon evaluation by the HAR medical staff, they noted the dog was suffering from a severe skin infection and in major pain. Veterinarians determined that he was suffering from severe demodectic mange with secondary infections on his legs, abdomen, neck, and face. He was placed in intensive medical care with HAR for two months, and over $7,000 was raised to aid his recovery.

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EITAN

Because of the care Eitan received through HAR and his foster family, today Eitan is thriving! Though it’s been a long road to recovery, he was placed with a foster family who will be permanently adopting Eitan soon (and renamed him “Elliot”). A happy ending with a new beginning, thanks to Humane Animal Rescue.


Coordinated Care Helping Seniors Stay Healthy at Home

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The UPMC Living-at-Home Program is a geriatric care management program that provides peace of mind for seniors and their loved ones. • Comprehensive in-home assessment • Free to eligible seniors 70 or older who live in one of 22 surrounding Pittsburgh neighborhoods

             

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Celebrate with the party animals! Host your child's

BIRTHDAY PARTY

at Humane Animal Rescue!

2/15/19 8:26 AM

First Level: $200 Ɣ 10 guests* Ɣ 1.5 hours Includes: • Visit from an animal

• Printable invitations

• Tour of shelter

• Gift bags for each guest

• Decorations & paper products

• Selfie station & props

• Animal-themed crafts & games

• Special gift for birthday child

• Use of party room, refrigerator, & freezer • Opportunity for party child to name next adoptable animal

* $10.00 for each additional guest

Second Level: $250 Ɣ 12 guests* Ɣ 1.5 hours Includes: • Visit from two animals

• Printable invitations

• Tour of shelter

• Gift bags for each guest

• Decorations & paper products

• Selfie station & props

• Animal-themed crafts & games

• Special gift for birthday child

• Use of party room, refrigerator, & freezer

• Pizza (two slices per child)

• Opportunity for party child to name next adoptable animal

*$12.00 for each additional guest

Third Level: $300 Ɣ 15 guests* Ɣ 2 hours Includes: • Visit from three animals

• Printable invitations

• Tour of shelter

• Gift bags for each guest

• Decorations & paper products

• Selfie station & props

• Animal-themed crafts & games

• Special gift for birthday child

• Use of party room, refrigerator, & freezer

• Pizza (two slices per child)

• Opportunity for party child to name next adoptable animal

*$12.00 for each additional guest •

Humane Animal Rescue


shuc snapshots NOTES FROM YOUR SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION STAFF

Update from SHUC Executive Director, Maria Cohen

We came together as a community to celebrate the Lunar New Year – the Year of the Rat. The Kickoff event at St. Edmund’s was spectacular and very well attended. Though we had to postpone the Parade, we’re grateful to everyone who helped us regroup, supported us, and celebrated the Lunar New Year with our wonderful neighbors! Uncover Squirrel Hill and the SBA (Small Business Administration) hosted a meeting in January to help prospective business owners and current business owners looking to expand understand and navigate the support that is available to them. We hope that this will be a step toward bringing more merchants and businesses into our vibrant Squirrel Hill community. Thank you to Heather Graham, President of Uncover Squirrel Hill and owner of European Wax Center, for heading up this effort! The city is making strides to be bold and proactive in its vision of the future of Pittsburgh’s transportation networks. PGH Mobility 2070 is a plan to ensure that, in a growing city, all residents will have the physical mobility they need to reach the economic mobility they seek. We encourage you to share your input with DOMI, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. For more information visit: https://pittsburghpa.gov/ domi/transport-vision-plan.

Councilmember Corey O’Connor and Murray the Squirrel at the reopening of the Schenley Park Skating Rink.

SPRING IS FAST APPROACHING and with it comes New Beginnings. In this issue we explore the fascinating photography of Jacquelyn Cynkar who captured the insects inhabiting Frick Park and Phipps in almost humanlike form with her exhibition Uncommon Companions which ran December 2019 – February 2020 at the Frick Environmental Center Gallery. We also caught up with Hazelwood Historian and Advocate JaQuay Edward Carter as he shared some details about the History of Hazelwood and what the community is doing to revitalize their beloved neighborhood.

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The historic Schenley Park Skating Rink received a much-needed upgrade and is once again open. The reopening was commemorated with a fun ribboncutting ceremony which included several special guests, the Pittsburgh sports teams’ mascots, Councilmember Corey O’Connor, and Mayor Peduto. Our very own Murray was also invited to help celebrate this special event! Please reach out to share with me what you would like SHUC to continue, feedback about changes that you would like to see in our 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.


SHUC Litter Patrol to host annual Community Clean Up on Sunday April 19 THE LITTER PATROL’S FIRST CLEAN UP ACTIVITY occurred on March 1, 2020, for the Lunar New Year Parade. Volunteers removed litter from the parade route (Murray Avenue between Phillips and Forbes) prior to and following the parade. They’lll be cleaning up trash and recycling at our Night Markets on June 27 and August 22. The Litter Patrol will hold their annual Community Clean Up on Sunday, April 19, 2020 from 9am – 1pm with registration under the library at the corner of Forbes and Murray. This is a FREE, family-friendly event. They provide gloves, bags, safety vests, coffee, juice and some snacks. Officer McGruff, the Crime Dog and Murray the Squirrel, two important mascots, will provide photo ops for all. If you are a member of a group (e.g., Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, chess club, dance club), and wish to participate as a group, contact Barb Grover so she can work out a special assignment just for you! You will soon see Murray the Squirrel and his friend wandering along Forbes and Murray distributing flyers to promote the event. So say hello, take a flyer, and share it with your neighbors and friends. We hope many residents will join in to help enhance the physical appearance of our neighborhood as well as prevent all the trash from ending up in our watershed, where it can pollute wildlife habitats. The Litter Patrol is also sponsoring elementary school projects to raise awareness of environmental issues. Carole Wolsh, one of their volunteers, is working with teachers at Community Day School and Minadeo. They provide blank mugs for the students to decorate with environmental themes and provide prizes for those judged to be especially good. Litter Patrol also works with Uncover Squirrel Hill and the merchants in the neighborhood to be Good Neighbors. You may see Good Neighbor decals at

Litter Patrol volunteer Carole Wolsh with students from Community Day School who participated in SHUC’s environmental design mub activity.

some stores. These decals are in recognition of the merchant committing to: • • •

Keeping their sidewalk free of litter on a daily basis including cigarette butts; Clearing their sidewalk of ice and snow; Keeping their sidewalk in good repair.

Merchants are encouraged to purchase a Cigarette Butt Receptacle through the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition to reduce the number of cigarette butts littering our sidewalks. Litter Patrol volunteers periodically clean out those receptacles. When you see a decal or a cigarette butt receptacle outside a shop, stop in and thank the owner/general manager/ clerk for being a Good Neighbor and caring about the neighborhood. The Adopt-A-Block program members commit to removing litter from a block or more somewhere in the neighborhood on a schedule that is convenient for them. We can supply bags, gloves and grabbers. If you are interested in any of these activities, please contact Barb Grover at 412-521-9526 or barbgrover1@ gmail.com or Lois Liberman at 412-421-5659 or lois92@verizon.net.

Spring 2020 | 23


GOOD NEWS FROM OUR SCHOOLS

As our children grow up in an increasingly interconnected and multicultural society, learning to think critically about global affairs is of utmost importance. In December, our 5th Graders began studying world migration and immigrants’ new lives in Pittsburgh, and they heard from first generation Pittsburghers like Ms. Ivonne Smith-Tapia who shared her immigrant story of coming from Colombia to Pittsburgh. In turn, the students will be developing recommendations for how Pittsburgh can be more inclusive and welcoming of newcomers to our region.

At St. Edmund’s Academy, Young People Can Help Solve the World’s Biggest Challenges By Marian Lien, Director of Education for Inclusion and Global Awareness at St. Edmund’s Academy THE UNITED NATIONS ADOPTED 17 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (UN SDGs) in 2015 as part of the United Nations’ Development Agenda. These 17 objectives to be achieved by 2030 were negotiated and agreed to by 193 world governments to end extreme poverty and hunger, build sustainable communities, promote justice, peace and prosperity, and protect the natural environment from humancaused harms. Inspired by this universal call-to-action, St. Edmund’s Academy in Squirrel Hill (SEA) committed nearly a year ago to be the first school in Pennsylvania to sign on as a UN Global School. Our students are learning to prioritize sustainable development in their lifestyles, behaviors, and education. This past October, the City of Pittsburgh became only the second U.S. city (after New York) to sign on to the SDGs. Invited to join other philanthropic and educational partners like Pittsburgh Foundation, CMU, Pitt, and Chatham University, St. Edmund’s Academy is part of a leadership circle that is strategizing ways to build a more sustainable and equitable future for all members of our Pittsburgh community.

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Through deep-dive community-based experiences, the school is learning firsthand the social and economic needs of our most vulnerable and marginalized populations while addressing climate change and environmental protection. We are taking field trips to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and to the sustainable farms at Eden Hall, Chatham Campus where our 1st and 2nd Graders learned ways to responsibly consume with less waste. Throughout the school year, St. Edmund’s Academy 3rd Graders visit with neighbors at the Squirrel Hill Wellness and Rehabilitation Center and form friendships with patients. Additionally, our 4th Graders have buddies at The Children’s Institute, where they have been inspired to design inventions to help ease the lives of their new friends. By working with these local community partners, our students are reaching understandings about diversity, equity, and inclusive practices in their own city. When students have an understanding of the SDGs and why they are necessary, they become inspired to make positive changes, in big and small ways. And along the way, they develop compassion and the skill sets of analysis, collaboration, cross-cultural competency, critical-thinking, and problem-solving— important skills that are crucial to transform our world to one that is inclusive, in peace, and is sustainable. You can learn more about the SEA projects we’re hosting with our local partners at on our website, stedmunds.net, and by following us on social media.


St. Edmund’s Academy participates in Holocaust Remembrance Day through The Butterfly Project

AFTER TWO YEARS OF PLANNING AND FUNDRAISING, Community Day School (CDS) recently celebrated the soft launch of its new Learning Innovation Lab. They designed, equipped, and furnished this combined lab and library so that it serves as the hub of learning innovation and STEAM education at CDS. This spring, they look forward to inviting the community to a grand opening to showcase the remodeled space and highlight the pedagogic opportunities that both propelled this transformation and will now be powered by it.

ON JANUARY 27, 2020, 2020, St. Edmund’s Academy 5th Graders and Administrators participated in The Butterfly Project as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Butterfly Project is a call to action through education, the arts and memorial making. It uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate about the dangers of hatred and bigotry and cultivates empathy and social responsibility. Participants paint ceramic butterflies that are permanently displayed as symbols of resilience and hope, with the goal of creating 1.5 million butterflies around the world—one for each child who perished in the Holocaust, and honoring the survivors. The butterflies will be installed for display at St. Edmund’s Academy this Spring.

Save the date for March 18, 19, and 22, when the CDS Middle School will present Lion King Jr. The African savannah will come to life on our stage with Simba, Rafiki, and an unforgettable cast of characters as they journey from Pride Rock to the jungle in this inspiring tale directed by CDS alum Jessica Savitz. Tickets are available at comday.org/lion.

On January 20, for the fifth consecutive year, instead of taking the day off, CDS students and faculty took on the essential themes of Martin Luther King Jr. Day together with the broader Pittsburgh community in a day of learning, service, and reflection. In a time when the Pittsburgh Jewish community and CDS have received an outpouring of love, kindness, and inclusion from across the world, they felt it was urgent to rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of social justice for all marginalized communities guided by our Jewish values. You can experience highlights of the day through photos and video at comday.org/mlk.

Spring 2020 | 25

GOOD NEWS FROM OUR SCHOOLS

New Learning Innovation Lab and Events at Community Day School


PET POINTS

HELPING THE CAT POPULATION IN SQUIRREL HILL AND BEYOND By Lawrence Gerson

Pet Points is our new series about all things related to the furry ones we love. Contributing to this new series is Lawrence Gerson, V.M.D., who founded the Point Breeze Veterinary Clinic as a family veterinary practice, in 1977. PET OVERPOPULATION HAS BEEN A TOPIC OF CONCERN to veterinarians, shelter staff, and animal lovers for decades. The thought of humanely euthanizing millions of adoptable animals each year is the nightmare of a bad dream. Growing up In Squirrel Hill in the 1960s, it was common to see pets running freely through the neighborhood. As a teenager, I worked at an animal hospital and my passion for animals became a driving force for my future. When I watched my first reproductive surgery, I realized how complicated these operations were, though they have become more sophisticated since. Later, as a veterinary student, a new reality set in as my consciousness and society changed the way we thought about our pets. The good news: since that time, the number of dogs euthanized is down significantly. That’s because many dogs are spayed and neutered, and stray dogs are a rare occurrence now. But we have yet to get the population of cats under control. Shelters are full of healthy, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated felines waiting for homes. A single cat can produce multiple litters a year; a year later, each kitten can repeat the reproductive process. Spring is just around the corner and new kittens will be born adding to the already excess

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population. Farms, wooded areas, and back alleys will be home to more kittens. The predatory behavior of feral cats has a dramatic effect on the local bird population. Cats will kill birds both for food and sport. Shelters spend significant resources to spay or neuter, vaccinate, and adopt cats. Many volunteers work tirelessly to help control the population. The Pittsburgh area is fortunate to have two large humane shelters in the area. Both the Humane Animal Rescue and Animal Friends subsidize spay/neuter programs for individuals needing financial assistance. The City of Pittsburgh also has a free program through these shelters as an incentive to get every pet sterilized. The Pittsburgh Cat Adoption Team is a division of the Homeless Cat Management Team. Their volunteers are dedicated and passionate in helping to manage the cat population. These resources help to trap and then spay or neuter and vaccinate in an effort to control feral cats. I’s up to us to help the depopulation process. Donate to shelters and rescue groups. Volunteer and work to help cats left to survive outside. Adopt a pet that needs a home and spay and neuter all cats at 5 to 6 months before they reach sexual maturity. It takes a village to impact cat overpopulation.


“There’s always something to do here to keep you occupied. You’ll never be bored.” -Jim Quinn, retired Marine Machinist

Looking forward to a bright and uplifting Spring season, full of hope and promise!

For more information or to schedule a tour at any of our campuses, call 1-800-324-5523, or visit UPMCSeniorCommunities.com.

9207_SRLIV509200_squirrel_hill_mag_ad_3.625x4.875.indd 1


Heartfelt Thanks

Kelsey McNaul

to our most recent donors and members

Deborah & Lloyd Meyers Jayne Miller Valentina Modne-Birman

Rebecca & Kenneth Acer

Peter Davis

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Jewish Community Center

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of Greater Pittsburgh

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(The Childs Family Foundation)

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McKnight Realty

Squirrel Hill Historical Society

28 | shuc.org


Katherine & Richard St. John Suzanne Staggenborg Alexander Stanton

Dear Neighbor:

Yvonne & Barry Stein

Are you a SHUC member?

Terry & Kenneth Steinberg

If you are a member, thank you very much for your support! Your contribution

Lisa & Stephen Steindel

is what makes possible the many projects and programs like the Squirrel Hill

Suzanne Steitz

Magazine, Lunar New Year Celebration, the Squirrel Hill Night Market, SHUC Litter

William Stevens

Patrol, and O’Connor’s Corner just to name a few!

Marcia Stewart Mona & EJ Strassburger

If you have never been a member, or your membership has lapsed, please consider

Councilmember Erika & Jordan Strassburger

going to our website now at www.shuc.org and join your neighbors and friends.

Charles “Chip” Strotz

Fewer than 1% of the 16,500 homes and businesses receiving this free community

Superior Motors

magazine have made a membership contribution in the last 2 years. Funders

Emily & Oscar Swan

consider the size of our active paid membership when deciding whether we are

Marcia & Louis Swartz

worthy of support, and elected officials take our advocacy more seriously when they

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know we are speaking on behalf of a large membership base.

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Your support is what allows us to continue to preserve, improve, and celebrate the

Wagner Agency

Squirrel Hill community we all love. There’s no other place like it! Give today!

Walnut Capital & Bakery Square

TOGETHER WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE ONE PROJECT AT A TIME.

Irwin Wedner Liora & Lee Weinberg Julia Weirman

Name:

Payment Methods Check: Please make payable to

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Email:

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Address:

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Or visit: www.shuc.org/donate

Consider becoming a sustaining monthly member with a recurring monthly gift that you can pay in a convenient ongoing way!

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Yes, please charge my credit card the monthly amount of $5 $10 $15 $20 or other $

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Spring 2020 | 29


NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES

Flats on Forward Project Gets a Boost ACTION-HOUSING WAS JUST AWARDED a $2.2 million federal Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grant (CDFI), one of only 15 nonprofit developers from across the U.S. selected to receive an award. It is expected to pay for about 250 units of affordable housing in Pittsburgh, including inside the forthcoming Flats on Forward, which will feature ground-level retail shops, three floors of affordable housing, and two floors of offices.

Meet Mahmoud. His is one of several portraits on display for upcoming Humans of Israel exhibit in Squirrel Hill April 1 - May 8.

Humans of Israel

Photo Exhibition to be Displayed on Forbes and Murray Avenues PRESENTED BY the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, in collaboration with Classrooms without Borders, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, and Uncover Squirrel Hill, the Humans of Israel photo exhibit will be a series of 30 large scale portraits by Israeli Photographer, Erez Kaganovits, highlighting the diverse faces of Israeli life and culture. Kaganovits studied Journalism and International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and worked as a journalist at two Israel based news networks and as parliamentary advisor for several members of Knesset (Israel’s Senate).

The SHUC Built Environment Committee hosted a community meeting in February to take questions from Squirrel Hill residents about the impact of the project on the neighborhood. Speakers from ACTION-Housing, Brandywine Agency, and other stakeholders updated residents about the features of the project and a rendering of its facade.

Each portrait will include a brief story of the individual portrayed as well as a QR code link to an online exhibit portal to reveal more about the individual. By highlighting the diversity in Israel, this exhibit seeks to show Pittsburghers that Israel is both complex and tolerant at the same time, exposing them to real people from all different backgrounds, and breaking down negative stereotypes. The CONTINUED on page 32

30 | shuc.org


NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES CONTINUED from page 31

organizers hope viewers of the exhibit will be able to personally relate to the portraits and stories of the individuals and connect to Israel through artof the exhibit will be able to personally relate to the portraits and stories of the individuals and connect to Israel through art.

KIIN opens on Forbes Avenue in former Bangkok Balcony Space KIIN MEANS “EAT TOGETHER” IN BOTH LAO AND THAI, so Nor Nareedokmai, looking to bring the two cuisines together in one menu, recently transformed his restaurant on Forbes Avenue into the appropriately named KIIN Lao & Thai Eatery. In addition to installing a new concept and menu - KIIN is the first and only Lao restaurant in Pittsburgh - the restaurant has also received a significant remodel, with additions of brightly colored murals on the walls, long, expansive tables for sitting, and photography by Nor’s son, Nolan, throughout.

Congratulations to Shear Visions on 30 Years in Business! SHEAR VISIONS IS CELEBRATING ITS 30TH YEAR in Squirrel Hill this month and offering 30% off its retail products to celebrate (see their ad in this issue). The salon offers a wide range of services from talented stylists who hail from both Eastern and Western Europe. Owner Valentina Modne-Birman, who’s owned the salon since 2000, says her team lives by the mantra: ‘we’re not happy until you are!’ shearvisions.com

Tree Pittsburgh to hold Spring Tree Giveaway in Squirrel Hill

The new restaurant serves Thai favorites along with traditional dishes from the country of Laos. KIIN Lao & Thai eatery is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

ON FRIDAY APRIL 17TH AT THE FRICK ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER (2005 Beechwood Blvd), Tree Pittsburgh will provide trees at no cost from 12-2 pm. At pick up, trees will be in 2 gallon containers and will range from 2-7 feet tall which should fit in cars or trucks. They’ve even seen people bike home with them! To secure your tree, you must register in advance at treepittsburgh.org. Click on Events, then Calendar, then click on April 17th.

Spring 2020 | 31


Artist in Residence Mimie Zlotnik

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SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY

URBAN RENEWAL

in Squirrel Hill By Helen Wilson, Vice-President Squirrel Hill Historical Society

WHEN COMBINED WITH THE WORD URBAN, renewal takes on a specific and loaded meaning. After Pittsburgh’s boom years of the first half of the 1900s, the city’s population went into a steep decline, and “urban blight” was seen as a worrisome problem. The city’s Planning Department needed a way to assess the needs of individual neighborhoods, so it used census tract data to determine what those needs were. Census tracts are areas of relatively homogeneous populations varying in size from 1,200 to 8,000 people. Until the early 1970s, wards were the major political entities in the city, so exact neighborhood boundaries weren’t deemed important. When census tracts began to be used to assess the condition and needs of each neighborhood, boundaries needed to be drawn. A raging battle ensued about who lived where and what that place was called. Drafts of neighborhood maps were created by several competing groups, most importantly, the City of Pittsburgh Planning Department and the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Atlas (PNA), a consortium of neighborhood leaders. The differences between the maps sparked arguments and protests. A major point of contention was that the Planning Department’s map respected ward boundaries, while the PNA’s map focused more on community perceptions of neighborhood areas. The PNA’s map drew neighborhood lines based on the consortium’s survey that asked people where they thought they lived.

The 14th Ward (Squirrel Hill) threatened to secede from the City after being “written off” from municipal government.

What the Planning Department found when they drew Squirrel Hill’s borders was that the community’s population was too large to fit into the designated census tract arrangement, so they divided Squirrel Hill into two neighborhoods—North and South. Urban renewal split the community. In the process, Greenfield also lost Schenley Park to Squirrel Hill, although many people still think the park is in Oakland. Meanwhile, a small part of Squirrel Hill is in the 15th Ward, stretching to Desdemona Avenue west of Browns Hill Road. Another disagreement concerning Squirrel Hill’s boundaries centered on Shadyside’s claim to include Chatham University and Oakland’s claim to include Carnegie Mellon University. In drawing up the City’s official neighborhood maps, the Planning Department followed geologic features that had previously defined ward boundaries. Squirrel Hill’s border follows the valleys that surround it—Fern Hollow, Nine Mile Run, the Monongahela River, Saline Street, Junction Hollow, and Fifth Avenue. CONTINUED on page 35

Spring 2020 | 33


Join us for Admissions Information Sessions starting at 9:30 a.m. on: Thursday, October 10 Saturday, November 9 Saturday, December 7 Thursday, December 12 Learn more and register at www.stedmunds.net. PRESCHOOL THROUGH 8TH GRADE COEDUCATIONAL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL

Proudly in the heart of Squirrel Hill


CONTINUED from page 33

So what kind of renewal did Squirrel Hill need? Because it had no large factories or industries that had closed and because its population was comparatively better off than that of many other Pittsburgh neighborhoods, it wasn’t targeted for mass demolition like East Liberty or North Side. When the Parkway East and Squirrel Hill Tunnel were built in the 1950s, care had been taken to route the highway through sparsely populated areas. Only a few houses and businesses along the Saline Street/ Forward Avenue corridor were affected. That being said, Squirrel Hill business leaders and activists saw problems begin to surface in the community, with stores closing and housing, streets, and sidewalks deteriorating. They didn’t want to wait until the deterioration reached a critical point, worrying that if they “continue the practice of ignoring the basically sound areas, you will create future slums and destroy the city,” as stated in a 1976 Pittsburgh Press article. These leaders and activists ultimately formed the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC), threatening City Council that the 14th Ward would secede if the Council continued to ignore its demands. SHUC wanted a senior citizen center, pointing out that while the city operated 19 if them, there weren’t any in the area of the city with the most elderly residents. SHUC also asked for help in a communitysponsored rehabilitation of the commercial area along Forbes Avenue, better police protection, more consideration for low-income home repair loan applications, a lighted ballfield, more traffic regulation, better ice and snow removal, and other things critical to keeping a community alive and well. SHUC’s concern for the well-being of Squirrel Hill continues to this day. The renewal of Squirrel Hill is ongoing. Businesses leave, but few storefronts remain vacant for long. The businesses that replace the previous ones are of different varieties - but that is how it has always been!

UPCOMING PROGRAMS

SQUIRREL HILL HISTORICAL SOCIETY TUESDAY, APRIL 14

Homewood Cemetery and Smithfield East End Cemetery

JENNIE BENFORD, Director of Programming at The Homewood Cemetery Historical Fund, has spent almost two decades as an archivist, historian, and docent leading people through the most fascinating details of The Homewood Cemetery’s occupants and their current repositories.

TUESDAY, MAY 12

100 Things to Do in Pittsburgh Before You Die

ROSSILYNNE SKENA CULGAN is the author of 100 Things to Do in Pittsburgh Before You Die, a book that promises to become your local “bucket list” and to provide new ideas for your next visitors. Culgan is Food and Culture Editor for The Incline (theincline.com), a Pittsburgh news website. Anyone interested in learning more about Squirrel Hill history is invited to attend the programs of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society, held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. Go to squirrelhillhistory.org to view upcoming lectures and events.

Spring 2020 | 35


GIFT Program

Provides Free Passover Kits to Homebound Elders By Rochel Tombosky GIFT IS A NONDENOMINATIONAL, GRASSROOTS NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION on a mission to transform isolation into joy by reaching seniors living quietly in our community. As a part of that goal, GIFT seeks out seniors who are home alone over the holiday and provides kits to help them feel included and celebrated. GIFT provides Passover to Go Kits to homebound elders. This Passover holiday, through the support and collaboration of UPMC, Tree of Life, Chabad of Pittsburgh, Community Day School, and many others, GIFT will provide over 300 free kits to homebound seniors, adults with special needs, and hospital patients in the Pittsburgh area. Since 2015, GIFT has provided over a thousand free Passover to Go kits to people who aren’t able to attend a community or family Seder. In the Jewish faith, Passover is a holiday that celebrates freedom from captivity and is often a time for families to gather and celebrate with a special meal filled with

36 | shuc.org

age-old traditions, called a seder. Each item in the kit allows the recipient the ability to celebrate a full Seder and is a reminder that they are remembered and appreciated. Lillian, a recent recipient of a kit, was grateful to GIFT for lifting her feelings of abandonment at Passover this year, saying there were “no words to express my deep gratitude for such a tremendous gesture. As a 91-year-old shut-in, I had reconciled myself to relying on stored up memories of Passovers Gone By for my observance.” Passover is approaching the second week of April and GIFT needs volunteers to prepare and deliver kits and reach out to seniors who will be alone this holiday. If you are interested in participating, email giftpgh@gmail.com, call 412-401-5914, or visit their website at giftpgh.org to learn how you can help transform isolation into holiday joy!


MARCH Thursday March 19 | 6:00 pm | Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh | 5738 Forbes Avenue

Times Bestseller Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope and

Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House.

Come meet and talk with local neighbors. For more information, please contact John Tokarski at john.tokarski@pittsburghpa.gov

TUNNEL VISION LIVE AT SUNBURST SCHOOL OF MUSIC

Saturday March 21 | 6:00 pm | 5843 Forbes Ave (upstairs) Tunnel-Vision performs live at the Sunburst School of Music for their first gig of the year. Opening act is Sunburnt. $10 cover at the door.

BETH SHALOM SPEAKER SERIES

Wednesday March 25 | 7:30 pm | Beth Shalom | 5915 Beacon Street Marra Gad, author of The Color of Love An unforgettable memoir about a mixed-race Jewish woman who, after fifteen years of estrangement from her racist great-aunt, helps bring her home when Alzheimer’s strikes.

YES SHE CAN: Q&A AND BOOK SIGNING Sunday March 22 | 3:00 - 5:00 pm | Temple Sinai | 5505 Forbes Avenue

Join Shalom Pittsburgh and Temple Sinai for a Q&A and book signing with Molly Dillon and Taylor Lustig, two of the authors of the New York

SQUIRREL HILL FUN RUN

Wednesday March 25 | 6:30 - 8:00 pm | PRO BIKE & RUN | 5876 Forbes Avenue Join us in our Squirrel Hill location for our weekly group run. Routes change weekly with a 3-5 mile option. Check in time is at 6:15 pm adn run leaves at 6:30 pm. All skill levels are welcome. For more information on this weekly group run contact coach Kim Lambert at kiml@gcxcracing.com or Matt Imhof at matt@gcxcracing.com

SQUIRREL HILL STANDS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

Thursday March 26 | 7:00 - 8:00 pm | White Whale Bookstore | 4757 Liberty Avenue Join the White Whale Bookstore and poets Robert Walicki, Sharon Fagon McDermott, Cameron Barnett, Kelly Lorraine Andrews and James Croal Jackson for a poetry reading to benefit CeaseFirePA adn Squirrel HIll Stands Against Gun Violence. Spring 2020 | 37

EVENTS & HAPPENINGS

THE ZONE 4 PUBLIC SAFETY COUNCIL MEETING


EVENTS & HAPPENINGS

APRIL NOAH ARONSON CONCERT

Saturday April 4 | 7:00 - 10:00 pm | Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh Katz Theater | 5738 Forbes Avenue Temple Ohav Shalom celebrates 50 years by sponsoring a community concert at the Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community Center with Noah Aronson.

SHUC MONTHLY BOARD MEETING

Tuesday April 21 | 6:30 - 8:00 pm | Wightman School | 5604 Solway Street For more information, please call 412.422.7666 or email info@shuc.org.

PENNSYLVANIA PRIMARY ELECTION

100 THINGS TO DO IN PITTSBURGH BEFORE YOU DIE

Tuesday May 12 | 7:30 pm | Church of the Redeemer | 5700 Forbes Avenue Rosilynne Skena Culgan is the author of 100 Things to Do in Pittsburgh Before You Die, a book that promises to become your local “bucket list” and to provide new ideas for your next visitors. Culgan is Food and Culture Editor for The Incline (Theincline.com), a Pittsburgh news website.

Tuesday April 28 | 7:00 am - 8:00 pm

To find your polling place, please visit www. pavoterservices.pa.gov. To vote in the primary, you must register by April 13.

M AY BETH SHALOM SPEAKER SERIES

Wednesday May 6 | 7:30 pm | Beth Shalom | 5915 Beacon Street Steve Israel, author of Big Guns From Steve Israel, the congessman turned novelist who writes “in the full title style of Carl Hiaasen” (The Washington Post), comes a comic tale about the mighty firearm industry, a small Long Island town, and Washington politics. 38 | shuc.org

PITTSBURGH PRIDE BOWLING

Second Sunday of every month | 6:30 pm | Forward Lanes | 5844 Forward Ave Bowling league for the LGBT community. For more information, please call 724.712.1745.


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