A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition
Squirrel Hill Vol 20 | Issue 1
CARING FOR TOMORROW SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES TACKLING LITTER ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP
Squirrel Hill Magazine
Our Mission The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition gives voice to the hopes and
Vol 20 | Issue 1
SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION OFFICERS PRESIDENT Mardi Isler VICE PRESIDENT Dalia Belinkoff VICE PRESIDENT Erik Wagner SECRETARY Raymond Baum TREASURER Paul Katz ASST. TREASURER Lisa Steindel IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Richard Feder
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. My mood always brightens when the daffodils bloom. These bulbs require such little care before they return each year, reliably springing forth when the
ON THE COVER:
temperature is right. Many other parts
of the natural world, however, need
Center for Sustainable
much more care. This issue assembles
Landscapes is one of
stories about people who care for our
the “greenest” buildings in the world—inside and out.
environment (and the people and animals who live in it) so that, day after day, year after year, it—and we—can thrive.
Credit: Paul G. Wiegman
Young people, like those in the EnvironMentors program, learn the
FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All other communications can be
importance of environmental science, while environmental scientists show us what can and must be done. Some neighbors pick up litter; others plant trees; some look up at night to identify light pollution.
directed to email@example.com or (412) 422-7666.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Anna Batista, Raymond N. Baum, Jill Beck, Justin Beck, Dalia Belinkoff, Guy Costa, Lori Fitzgerald, Heather Graham, Barbara Grover, Michael Henderson, Marshall Hershberg, Melissa Hiller, Martha Isler, Paul Katz, Joseph Ott, Mary Shaw, Lisa Steindel, Erik Wagner
To care for tomorrow means living, working, and growing sustainably.
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.
CONTRIBUTORS Omoye Aikhuele, Sophie Bean, Patrick Beck, Alicia Carberry, Maria Cohen, Bob Danenberg, Melissa Eppihimer, Lawrence Gerson, Barb Grover, Kelly Henderson, Mardi Isler, Jim Rogal, Ann Rose, Sean Russell, Helen Wilson, Jeffrey Zialo EDITOR Melissa Eppihimer DESIGNER Lynn Kawaratani EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Maria H. Cohen ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Sophie Bean
Businesses in Squirrel Hill are taking this responsibility to heart. I hope their actions and those of everyone highlighted in this issue will inspire you to join this critical mission. MELISSA EPPIHIMER Editor, Squirrel Hill Magazine
Squirrel Hill Magazine, Vol. 20, 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.
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in every issue GREETINGS FROM THE 4 SHUC PRESIDENT by Mardi Isler
PITTSBURGH’S CURBSIDE RECYCLING IS GOING BAG FREE!
LIVING AND WORKING SUSTAINABLY IN SQUIRREL HILL
EAT FROM A–Z
SPOTLIGHT: LITTER PATROL
YOUTH VOICES: 36 ENVIRONMENTORS
SUSTAINABLE PLANTS FOR EAST END GARDENS
PET POINTS 41
SHUC SPRING EVENTS
COMMUNITY CHAMPION: 6 RICHARD PIACENTINI STATE AND CITY COUNCIL 9 CORNER NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES 18 SHUC SNAPSHOTS 24
GOOD NEWS FROM OUR 34 SCHOOLS
by Lawrence Gerson
SQUIRREL HILL 43 HISTORY by Helen Wilson
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Greetings from the SHUC President By Mardi Isler, SHUC Board President NAMES HAVE A CURIOUS WAY OF ALIGNING sometimes with what people end up doing in life. Some of you know that my maiden name is Woodward. It comes from an Old English phrase for someone who looks after the trees and the game in the forest, or simply, Ward of the Woods. That sense of responsibility and love for trees has been a passion of mine for my entire life, and I sometimes wonder if I inherited it from my English ancestors, whose lineage I have traced all the way back to the 1500s. As a young child my favorite place to play with my dogs was under our backyard Linden tree. My father had built a circular bench around the tree, and even as a teen this was my favorite place to escape my parents and talk to my friends.
Maple that was so overrun by scrub trees that it looked more like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree than anything else. We literally dragged it up the slope of our back yard and replanted it in a prominent location, hoping for the best. It not only miraculously survived but is actually quite beautiful today. Out our back door we had a small deck with no shade and no greenery around it. On a visit to Mellon Park that summer I saw a tree that I instantly loved. Later I described it to an executive at Sestili Nursery, and he knew immediately the species I was describing—a Swiss Stone Pine. I asked him to deliver one and, because of the size, plant it for us. When the invoice came in, my husband Bill understandably asked why I would buy an expensive tree when we had just moved into a new house. I had to admit, I never asked about the cost—the tree just spoke to me. And to this day it’s perfect for the place and gorgeous.
Trees improve the quality of life in our communities.
As an adult, after buying my first house, I planted trees offered by Penn State Extension. I even borrowed a pick-up truck because I ordered 50 trees—not knowing that they were seedlings, and I could literally carry them in one hand. I was delighted that 90 percent survived.
Without trees, our neighborhood would be barren and bleak. Can
As a young married person in the first house my husband and I purchased together, part of its charm for me was a stand of mature trees starting behind the house and extending into the farm behind us. Here we planted specimen trees as the acreage would allow.
Hill without trees?
When we moved from that house to Pittsburgh 38 years ago, our new home had a beautiful crabapple in the front yard, but sad-looking, long-neglected trees along the perimeter. We rescued a Japanese
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you even imagine Squirrel Year after year, we continued to plant trees, getting balled Blue Spruce and one White Spruce to be planted after Christmas in pre-dug holes. Four of five survived, and the White Spruce is now the most spectacular. A weeping beech, a black pine, hemlocks, arbor vitae, and holly trees—all were added and are happy and thriving in our yard. The latest addition was a much loved Seven Son tree with year-round
would be barren and bleak. Can you even imagine Squirrel Hill without trees? SHUC has a Tree Committee and submits applications for street tree plantings twice a year to TreeVitalize, a program of the Western PA Conservancy, based on City Tree Request Forms. In the last decade we’ve received more than 300 trees. If you’d like a free street tree or two in front of your house, and you can convince some neighbors to also sign forms, SHUC will bundle the requests and submit. Call 412-422-7666 for more information and to request a form. Arbor Day is April 29th this year, the perfect time to think about planting trees. Keep in mind that oftrepeated Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now!” Mardi’s Seven Son Tree
appeal: peeling tan bark in winter, spring leaves, late summer pretty white flowers, and bright red modified leaves in the fall. Yes, I enjoy what trees add to a landscape, but since being Chair of Pittsburgh’s Shade Tree Commission, I’ve learned about their larger value. They clean the air we breathe, their leaves collect rain, and their roots help reduce storm water runoff. Trees save energy by shading our homes so we use less electricity for air conditioning. In cities, planting trees can reduce the “heat island effect” caused by heat stored in concrete and asphalt. Trees reduce heating bills when evergreens are planted to block winter winds. Shoppers stay longer and tend to spend more in tree-lined business districts. Homes in neighborhoods with mature trees sell for more than in neighborhoods without trees. Trees provide shelter for wildlife and food for birds, animals, and for us.
SHADE. RUSTLING LEAVES. CLEANER AIR. TREES bring this, and more. Thanks to the grant program TreeVitalize, you can have street trees planted in front of your property for FREE. Visit shuc.org/projects/trees/ to download the simple, one-page request form.
Trees improve the quality of life in our communities. Without trees, our neighborhoods
Spring 2022 | 5
RICHARD PIACENTINI By Jim Rogal
PITTSBURGH HAS A HISTORY OF BEING HOME TO RENOWNED PEOPLE WHO HELPED CHANGE THE WORLD. In the late 1800s there were industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie and George Westinghouse. In the last several decades there have been Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine; Rachel Carson, author of The Silent Spring, which opened the world’s eyes to the life-threatening dangers of pollution; Thomas Starzl, who revolutionized organ transplant surgery; and Fred Rogers, a pioneer in the use of television as a tool for early childhood development. Today, there is Richard Piacentini. Wait, who? Richard Piacentini, the President and CEO of Phipps Conservatory. And yes, he’s on that prestigious list. Over the last three decades, Piacentini has transformed Phipps from a tired, old, rundown, neglected afterthought owned by the city into a privately operated complex that is the leading institution in the world for environmental practice, standards, and health for the 21st century. Need proof? Piacentini has led the efforts that opened the world’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development) certified visitors center in a public garden; the world’s first LEED greenhouse; the Tropical Forest Conservatory, among the most energy-efficient conservatories on the
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planet; the Nature Lab, a certified energy-efficient modular classroom for schools; the WELL Platinum certified Exhibit Staging Center; and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a net-zero energy and water facility that meets the Living Building Challenge and many other environmental standards. That’s a lot to digest, and it’s perhaps indecipherable for many, but, simply put, Piacentini has been at the forefront of the global effort to, in his words, “try to restore a healthy and sustainable living environment for the world—before it’s too late.” And Piacentini practices what he preaches in his personal life as well. He has converted his residence in Squirrel Hill into a net-zero energy home, which means it generates more energy that it uses. Piacentini grew up in New York and earned a BS in Pharmacy and an MBA. In fact, he is still a registered pharmacist. But while he was working as a pharmacist at the Washington, D.C., Children’s Hospital, he developed an interest in Japanese bonsai trees. Before long, he was off to greener pastures—literally. He went back to school, earned an MS in Botany, and then was hired to run the Seattle Rhododendron Garden. In 1993, the City of Pittsburgh spun off management of the glass house to “Phipps Conservatory, Inc.”
through a public-private lease agreement and hired a horticulturist to begin designing upcoming flower shows. In July of 1994, the Board authorized hiring Piacentini as the first Executive Director. When he got here, he said, “Phipps was in pretty bad shape.” There were empty flower beds, plastic-covered rows of soil, and worse. Attendance was at a low point, and among those who did come, “In my first summer here people asked for their money back,” he said.
A decade later, Phipps was known around the world, and Piacentini
was rightfully recognized as a global leader. And so it began—a Master Plan to begin the transformation process; the raising of mostly local money, including foundation funding and RAD grants to pay for the renovations; the start of the building and re-building process. A decade later, Phipps was known around the world, and Piacentini was rightfully recognized as a global leader in the interconnected fields of sustainable land use, energy efficiency, and environmental health.
in the environmental health movement. These days, much of Piacentini’s focus is on raising youth education and awareness. “Phipps has been here for more than 100 years, so we have to keep rethinking and planning and doing for the next 100 years,” he said. “People keep looking for government to solve this problem, which is a top-down focus. But we have to build a bottom-up focus.” Easier said than done, but Piacentini believes that the opportunity lies with the between 500 million and 600 million visitors to museums around the world. “That’s where we need to build a ground swell of support,” he said. And that’s where Phipps leads not only by example, but also through its global outreach programs like the Climate Toolkit. “We want Phipps to exemplify what good looks like,” he said. “We see everything as being connected. The reason for our success is that we think regeneratively, which means we approach everything we do as all part of one thing, all part of nature. The planet is our constituent just as much our visitors, our donors, our staff, and our community are.” Complicated and difficult as it all might seem, Piacentini’s motivation to succeed is simple: “I feel like I should do something and can do something to change how we live.” This article is a corrected version of the print edition.
In the last several years, Phipps has begun exporting its knowledge around the globe. Piacentini has overseen the development of outreach efforts such as the Homegrown Program, which teaches “sustainable land care for people in their own backyards,” he says. There is also the Studio Phipps consulting program, which helps other institutions throughout the world achieve the standards set by Phipps. Then there’s the international Youth Climate Advisory Committee, as well as a Youth Toolkit that offers practical ways for young people to be involved Credit: Denmarsh Photography, Inc.
Spring 2022 | 7
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State and City Council Corner
From Left to Right: State Senator Jay Costa; State Representative Dan Frankel; State Representative Summer Lee; City Councilperson Corey O’Connor; City Councilperson Erika Strassburger.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We welcome Representative Summer Lee, whose 34th Pennsylvania House District includes the southernmost part of Squirrel Hill, as a contributor to this page of the magazine.
and other infrastructure. The Councilman also reports that the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh, will begin the restoration of Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park this spring. The Parks Conservancy will be working with Arch Masonry &
CITY COUNCIL PASSES LEGISLATION FOR A CLEANER, HEALTHIER PITTSBURGH
Restoration to address a number of failing masonry
COUNCILPERSON STRASSBURGER closed out 2021
that Council approved a measure allowing restaurants
strong on sustainability, passing several key pieces of
and retailers to continue using sidewalks and streets for
legislation to make the District and the City safer and
outdoor dining and retail. O’Connor also announced that
more eco-friendly for 2022 and beyond. In November,
the Redistrict Re-Apportionment Committee will release
City Council passed an ordinance to protect residents
a preliminary new Council District map and the schedule
from exposure to lead through increased lead inspection
for meetings with community groups and a series of
requirements and renovations, as well as improvements
components on the site. Another piece of good news is
to water fountains across the city to reduce risk of City continues to make strides on eradicating single-
REPRESENTATIVE LEE SEEKS TAX CREDIT FOR WORKING FAMILIES
use plastics, starting with legislation introduced in
STATE REPRESENTATIVE SUMMER LEE is a prime
November to place a ban on single-use plastic bags
co-sponsor of the Working Families Tax Credit for
and a fee on paper bags to be retained by the retailer.
Pennsylvania. This legislation is modeled after the federal
These legislative actions to reduce lead exposure and
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). EITC has saved millions
plastic pollution in our communities are important steps
of children from poverty, enabled families to continue
in continuing Pittsburgh’s leadership in sustainability
basic spending, increased the career earnings of working
and making our neighborhoods cleaner and safer for
people, and provided additional security for individuals
aging into senior citizenship. COVID-19 has created and
lead poisoning, especially in children. Additionally, the
amplified financial hardships for so many Pennsylvanians.
CITY COUNCIL NEWS FROM COUNCILPERSON O’CONNOR
In March 2020, unemployment spiked in the
In the wake of the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge
April. Families survived off household savings, and many
in Frick Park, COUNCILPERSON COREY O’CONNOR, in
hardworking people were forced to ask for help for the
cooperation with Mayor Gainey, proposed legislation to
first time. The Working Families Tax Credit will help low-
form a commission that would advise officials on how
to-moderate income families recover from the protracted
to improve and maintain Pittsburgh’s bridges, tunnels,
effects of the pandemic and alleviate hardships for
Commonwealth and reached 14.8 percent nationwide by
Spring 2022 | 9
those living paycheck to paycheck. With their increased
transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive people
purchasing power, recipients will spend additional income
in the Commonwealth. “There are countless ways that
on necessities, thereby supporting our local businesses
navigating the world as a transgender person can be
and jobs and the region’s economic recovery.
difficult and even painful,” Frankel said. “The more that we can remove those unnecessary obstacles to living
REPRESENTATIVE FRANKEL ANNOUNCES COMMUNITY
authentically, the better.”
FUNDING AND LGBTQ+ LEGISLATION STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAN FRANKEL made several
SENATOR COSTA WELCOMES PA BUDGET PROPOSAL
important funding announcements, including $6.6 million
Governor Wolf presented his 8th and final budget
for Tree of Life complex and $4.5 million in statewide
address to the General Assembly, and SENATOR JAY
grants to address nonprofit security. Frankel worked
COSTA is very happy with his proposal. It includes:
closely with PA Sen. Jay Costa and others to help get
$1.55 billion increase in basic education
the resources our community needs to move forward
$200 million increase for special education
thoughtfully and safely.
$60 million in Pre-K Counts & $10 million for Head Start
Rep. Frankel also introduced legislation that would create
$77.7 million in federal funds for Child Care Works for
a safer and easier name-change process for LGBTQ+
the stability of childcare facilities and making childcare
Pennsylvanians. His bill would remove unnecessary
barriers for anyone seeking this administrative change,
while also helping to destigmatize the process for
Over $180 million invested across higher education programs
$1 million for reentry services to assist women & reduce recidivism
Nearly $37 million increase for mental health services
$14 million for food assistance programs
$2.5 million for outdoor management, recreation, and safety
All of these initiatives are funded without a tax increase. The state’s revenue collections have been strong, and federal funds remain from the American Rescue Plan. For more updates, please visit www.senatorcosta.com.
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Say HELLO to Murray! Murray the Squirrel is available for events and visits to local organizations and schools. Call SHUC at (412) 422-7666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a visit.
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Pittsburgh’s Curbside Recycling is going
BAG FREE! By Alicia Carberry and Omoye Aikhuele
City of Pittsburgh – Department of Public Works, Bureau of Environmental Services, Recycling Division
HELLO FROM THE CITY’S BUREAU OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES – RECYCLING DIVISION! Here in the Recycling Division, we are shifting away
Environmental Services will receive a 32-gallon blue
from a bag-based curbside residential recycling
recycling bin by the end of 2022—Squirrel Hill North
program. While the blue bag has long been a part of
and South received bins in the summer/fall of 2021.
Pittsburgh’s recycling program, plastic bags degrade recyclables and get caught in the sorting equipment at
Going along with this shift away from blue bags at the
the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Hazelwood.
curb, our City Council is considering a ban on plastic bags at the point of sale. We want to underline the
In order to guide this shift away from using blue bags at
mantra “Reduce, reuse, recycle” and endorse the
the curb, we are distributing blue recycling bins city-
reduction of single-use plastic bags. We continue
wide. Every residence serviced by the Bureau of
to strive to find more ways the City can encourage reuse and recycling to keep as much as possible out of our landfills. Many materials can journey towards a “next life,” even if not accepted for curbside recycling collection. The Recycling Division receives many questions about composting options. Although curbside collection of food waste is not part of our current operations, we do accept yard debris at the curb in the spring and fall. Residents may also drop off yard debris year-round at our Streets Divisions in Homewood, Hazelwood, or Elliott. A handful of local businesses offer both business and residential compost services, and we maintain a directory on our website of companies and resources.
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Additionally, the City’s Sustainability & Resilience Division is debuting community compost projects for events and facilities this year. We know we can do more to divert organic waste from the landfill! Please email us at email@example.com to provide opinions and ideas. Happy Earth Day!
COME CHICK OUT THE CO-OP!
To learn more about the blue recycling bins program, recycling drop-off resources, and how to keep our colleagues safe when they are collecting your trash & recycling, visit us online at https://pittsburghpa.gov/ dpw/ To make a request for a smaller bin, please contact our colleagues at the city’s non-emergency response line, 311.
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5837 Forbes Ave | Pittsburgh, PA 15217 | 412.682.1966 6006 Penn Ave | Pittsburgh, PA 15206 | 412.661.1966 Pittsburgh International Airport | Concourse A
Spring 2022 | 13
Living and Working
SUSTAINABLY in Squirrel Hill By Melissa Eppihimer
SUSTAINABILITY IS A MAJOR FOCUS FOR MANY
and services are
COMMUNITIES these days, including Pittsburgh.
the core of their
Chatham University runs the Falk School of
identity. Here, we
Sustainability & Environment. Mayor Gainey put
environmental justice at the center of his vision
businesses that are
for a sustainable city. Pittsburgh Public Schools is
integrating sustainability into their operations and
reviewing its lunch program to promote environmental
suggest ways that you, too, can live more sustainably.
sustainability, among other goals.
But what exactly is sustainability? And how does it
Diners who want to patronize restaurants that value
work? Quite literally, sustainability is the capacity of
sustainability can look for the logo of the Sustainable
something to endure. In current usage, it refers to
Pittsburgh Restaurant program, which certifies
behaviors that create a healthy environment, a thriving
restaurants that adopt “environmentally and socially
economy, and a vital society. When these three
responsible methods.” In Squirrel Hill, nine restaurants
pillars are supported simultaneously, the benefits are
have achieved one of the program’s four levels of
recognition (Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze) by demonstrating sustainable choices in these operating In Squirrel Hill, sustainability functions in obvious ways, like pedestrian- and bike-friendly pathways, access to public
areas: waste reduction, water conservation, energy efficiency, people, nutrition, and product sourcing. Guests at Rita’s, for example, can enjoy frozen custard while knowing that the shop takes recyclable materials to Construction Junction.
transportation, and a public library.
Beyond their social and environmental benefits, many
Behind the scenes,
of the actions recognized by the Sustainable Pittsburgh
local businesses are
Restaurant program are good business practices.
elevating people and
According to Cathy Willis, manager of Aiello’s Pizza,
planet as part of their
the restaurant had long been implementing certain
commercial practices, and for some, sustainable goods
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sustainable practices, but a remodel in 2017 provided the opportunity to meet even more goals. Aiello’s
continues to emphasize sustainability in the kitchen,
No matter where you spend your dining dollars, you can
where thoughtful food prep minimizes waste. In the
take steps to lower your meal’s toll on the environment.
dining area, signs encourage customers to ask for take-
When dining in, bring your own reusable containers for
out containers only when necessary. The restaurant
leftovers. When ordering takeout, say “no thanks” to
has also provided meals for distribution by 412 Food
unnecessary single-use plastic utensils and condiment
Rescue, an organization that fights hunger by fighting
packets. Recycle takeout containers when possible. The
City of Pittsburgh’s curbside recycling program accepts bottles, jugs, and jars made from plastic or glass, 3
SUSTAINABLE PITTSBURGH RESTAURANT PROGRAM
gallons or less in size. This means that drink bottles go in the recycling bin, but many takeout containers do not. You should also throw away the greasy bottom of a pizza box, but go the extra mile and cut off the
The Squirrel Hill restaurants certified by the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program include:
(hopefully) grease-free lid for recycling.
Sustainable Pittsburgh, the non-profit that runs the
(1 SCHENLEY DRIVE)
Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program, also recognizes shops that are environmentally and socially conscious. Biketek (5843
Forbes Ave) and The
(2112 MURRAY AVE)
Chocolate Moose (5830 Forbes
ALLEGRO HEARTH BAKERY
(2034 MURRAY AVE)
both awarded Silver-level
(5878 FORBES AVE)
for their sustainability
KIIN THAI AND LAO EATERY
(5846 FORBES AVE)
learn more about the
MINEO’S PIZZA HOUSE (2128 MURRAY AVE)
certification program, visit sustainablepittsburgh.
SILK ELEPHANT (1712 MURRAY AVE
(1714 MURRAY AVE)
Even if you were unfamiliar with sustainability before reading this article, you may recognize the phrase
RITA’S ITALIAN ICE
“reduce, reuse, recycle.” This advice is still valid,
(5880 FORBES AVE)
especially at Squirrel Hill’s many shops selling preowned items. Purchasing used goods reduces the environmental costs of manufacturing and—since inventory often draws from local sources—transporting
Spring 2022 | 15
new items. These shops also connect us with each
with worn, damaged, or out of style clothing and shoes.
other, even if we never meet the person who once
Try Andy’s Tailoring (1833 Murray Ave), Ianni’s Tailoring
owned the treasured item now in our possession.
(5817 Forward Ave), or Squirrel Hill Shoe Repair (2205
For clothing, Avalon Exchange (5834 Forbes Ave) offers
Murray Ave). Finally, when out and about, bring your
a diverse selection of vintage and contemporary
own bag to carry purchases home. If
pieces that are guaranteed to turn heads, like
you bring a bag when buying from
its playfully posed window mannequins.
Ten Thousand Villages (5820
The store encourages customers to
Forbes Ave), they’ll reward
rework and reconstruct items that may
you with a miniature
not yet be a perfect fit, and it donates
many unsold items to charities that While adults change their style with
SUSTAINABILITY AT THE CORE
the times, kids outgrow clothing too
At Tula Organic Salon and
will pass them along to new users.
quickly. For that problem, families can
Spa (2629 Murray Ave),
turn to A Child’s Wardrobe & Adults
sustainability is the core of
Too! (2200 Murray Avenue). With a focus on upscale brands, the store promises a wardrobe suitable for fashion icons of all ages.
its approach to beauty and Cr ed
it : W
wellness. It uses environmentallyilson Chan
friendly products for hair and body treatments in a space decorated with
For entertainment, gently used books, records, and
recycled and upcycled materials. Even small details,
games are found throughout the neighborhood. Jerry’s
like reusable glasses and electronic gift cards, reduce
Records (2136 Murray Ave, 2nd floor), a Squirrel Hill
the salon’s environmental impact. Becky Goodwin,
institution, has been selling pre-owned records here
Tula Organic’s owner, said that there are benefits for
since 1993. Amazing Books & Records (5858 Forbes
customers as well. “We often get new clients at the
Ave) combines vinyl and paper in its array of musical
salon because of personal health concerns—auto-
and literary treasures. Games Unlimited (5876 Forbes
immune conditions, cancer survivors. They are very
Ave) sells some pre-owned tabletop games. The
aware of what they allow near their bodies,” she said.
selection is constantly changing, but Candra, a manager at the store, remembers vividly the vintage Dungeons
The Refillery extends the idea of sustainable practices
& Dragons materials that once passed through. Gamers
into the home. Shoppers fill reusable containers
who prefer the digital realm should visit The Exchange
with personal care and cleaning materials from bulk
(5862 Forbes Ave), which sells used video games and
containers for at-home use. This minimizes packaging
gaming accessories, as well as CDs and DVDs. The store
materials. The store also sells reusable “unpaper”
also has a vinyl collection on hand. That makes three
towels, napkins, gift bags, and other items meant to
venues for record enthusiasts within walking distance!
replace single-use products. The Refillery sources local goods whenever possible and seeks out products made
All of these shops add to their inventory by buying
by individuals paid a fair wage. (For more on this new
from customers. This means you can extend the life
business, see page 18.)
of items in your closet by bringing in material for their consideration. If your goods are not accepted for
There’s nothing more local than honey derived from
resale, donate or recycle them instead. You can also
your own hive, but not everyone has the courage or
extend the life of your possessions by repairing and
patience to run an apiary. Fortunately, Alyssa Fine and
reimagining them. Tailors and cobblers can do wonders
Adam Revson of Pittsburgh Honey (2327 Murray Ave)
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produce and sell honey from apiaries in southwestern
follow their lead. Shop locally to support community
PA. They also lead the Pittsburgh Honey Cooperative,
merchants and cut shipping waste. Visit the Squirrel
a resource for local honey producers. When eating
Hill Farmer’s Market when it opens in May; the food
local honey you are, as Revson describes it, “living in an
is fresh, local, and delicious. Finally, recognize that our
ecosystem.” The honey derives its flavor and nutritional
collective actions can make a difference.
benefits from the flowering plants nearest to the hives, allowing Pittsburgh Honey to place its hives for the
The people of Squirrel Hill have a track record of
optimal benefit to consumers and the community at
working together to uphold the three pillars of
sustainability. Through our efforts, Squirrel Hill has
While these businesses strive to ensure that their goods and services promote sustainability, you can
follow their lead.
remained a place that supports its residents and welcomes those who visit or work in its business districts. Here, sustainability is more than a buzzword. It’s a commitment that we will do what we can to make the neighborhood and the people and places connected to it greener, healthier, and more vibrant. Sustainability is the LED lights that brighten our restaurants; the worker that volunteers in the community; the racks of clothes saved from a landfill;
While these businesses strive to ensure that their
the sounds of bees buzzing to make local honey. That’s
goods and services promote sustainability, you can
a buzz we can all appreciate.
Forbes Ave | 412 586 4571 Walnut Street | 412 683 2124
waxcenter.com First-time guests only. Valid only for select services. Additional terms may apply. Participation may vary; please visit waxcenter.com for general terms and conditions. European Wax Center locations are individually owned and operated. © 2022 EWC Franchise, LLC. All rights reserved. European Wax Center® is a registered trademark.
Spring 2022 | 17
NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES NEW BUSINESS NOTICES The Refillery As with many others during the pandemic, COVID-19 made owner Larissa Russo rethink her values, both as a consumer and in her career. Last year, Russo left her corporate engineering position to focus full time on her business, The Refillery (1931 Murray Ave), which fills a gap in Pittsburgh’s sustainable, zero-waste market. After bringing The Refillery to 37 pop-up events across
DAT’Z Mini Mart
the city, including the night markets in Squirrel Hill,
When you walk into DAT’Z Mini Mart (2301 Murray
Russo opened a brick-and-mortar location on Murray
Ave), a wave of nostalgia may rush over you. That’s
Avenue. At the shop, customers can bring their own
because owner Abby Zupancic’s inspiration for the shop
empty containers—or take one from the store’s “give a
was the penny candy stores of his childhood, which he
bottle, take a bottle” shelf—and fill up on products like
remembers fondly as a community gathering place for
body wash, laundry detergent, and other personal care
talking and reminiscing. Abby originally opened DAT’Z
and home goods, which are then priced by weight. The
in Greenfield on Hazelwood Avenue, but soon realized
Refillery offers products from companies that share
he would need more space and moved to the Murray
its values, like a dedication to high-quality ingredients,
Avenue location in December 2021. So, what sets DAT’Z
better wages for workers, and sustainable and ethical
apart from the other market options in Squirrel Hill?
sourcing. In 2022, Russo looks forward to hosting
Zupancic says it’s the unique variety of snacks, drinks,
more events in the store, collaborating with other small
and household essentials he stocks, including the novelty
businesses, working with Pittsburgh universities to create
candies customers will remember from years past.
a more sustainable dorm life, and becoming Squirrel Hill’s
Zupancic is also committed to stocking products based
one-stop sustainable shop. For store hours and more
on demand from the community, saying “If you want
information, visit www.therefillerypgh.com.
it and I don’t have it, I’ll get it, and it will be here next time you come in.” DAT’Z is a corner store for anything customers might need in a pinch, from milk and eggs to dish soap to last-minute specialty gifts. The store’s current hours are Monday–Saturday, 8AM–8PM.
Hops Brews and Sunshine The new beer and beverage distributor Hops Brews and Sunshine (5853 Forbes Ave) is a convenient addition to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. The store is centrally located on Forbes Avenue, making it a great spot to pick up drinks before heading to dinner at one of the neighborhood’s many BYOB restaurants. Hops Brews and Sunshine offers an impressive selection of beers, with a focus on craft and local options. The store’s knowledgeable employees will use their expertise to help you narrow down your choices. Customers will also
18 | shuc.org
NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES The first action is quite local. During the summer of 2021, representatives from Uncover Squirrel Hill, the City of Pittsburgh, Councilperson Corey O’Connor’s office, and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC) walked together through the Forbes and Murray business district to identify places where additional lighting would improve safety for pedestrians and vehicles. As a result of that assessment, the city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) upgraded existing fixtures and installed additional LED overhead lighting at eight intersections on Murray between Forbes and Forward Avenues. DOMI also added fixtures at Shady and Forward, an intersection frequently used by residents, students at Allderdice, and the senior residents find a colorful wall of alcoholic frozen slushies, including
of Forward Shady Apartments, and the complex
seasonal and exclusive flavors. A long communal table
intersection at Shady and Tilbury.
lines one side of the store, where customers can bring outside food, grab a drink, and sit down to enjoy their meal. Hops Brews and Sunshine offers online ordering and delivery through the Fantuan Delivery app. The store’s hours are 10:00AM–11:00PM Monday–Saturday and 10:00AM–9:00PM on Sunday.
Light pollution at night can negatively affect the life cycles of people, plants, and animals. The second development concerns the entire city of Pittsburgh. In September of last year, City Council passed the Dark Sky Ordinance. This legislation works to reduce the light pollution generated by the city’s streetlights and public properties. The program highlights the increased efficiency and cost savings for lights using dimmers, motion sensors, and LED bulbs that glow warm-white
Forbes and Murray at night, viewed from above. Credit: John Wenscovitch, Sebastian Scherer, Stephen Quick, Diane Turnshek
BRIGHT STREETS, DARK SKY
instead of daylight-white. It also requires that streetlights be shielded, meaning the light is directed towards the ground where it is needed rather than the sky, where it is not helpful.
One of the things we love about Squirrel Hill is how the
Diane Turnshek of Carnegie Mellon University is a
neighborhood is place of activity and enjoyment at night.
long-time advocate of dark skies who worked with the
Yet, even as the days grow longer and the nights become
city to develop its plan. She notes that humans and
shorter, nighttime brings the need for artificial lighting.
the environment will share the benefits of the Dark
Two recent actions sought to improve how we live our
Sky Ordinance. Light pollution at night can negatively
modern lives at night.
affect the life cycles of people, plants, and animals. For
Spring 2022 | 19
NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES example, trees may grow their leaves too soon if light in
The most visible changes to the streets are the bump-
the sky falsely suggests that the longer days of spring
out corners at the intersections of Wightman and
have arrived. With more efficient and effective lighting
Solway, S. Negley and Solway, S. Negley and Woodmont,
in the city, these harms are reduced. The city budget
and Murray and Solway, the last of which is still under
also expects to see lower costs from a more efficient
construction. These help move water from the streets
system, and the public can look for brighter stars in the
of the surrounding catchment area to the park. With
sky. “Because of the acres of parkland and the changes
the arrival of warmer weather, the colorful vegetation in
in elevation, sections of Squirrel Hill have beautiful starry
the subterranean basins will spring to life, and additional
skies, akin to a distant suburb,” said Turnshek.
plantings are coming.
For more information on the LED streetlight upgrades,
Significant alterations have also improved the block of
Solway adjacent to the park. A raised crosswalk between the park and the Wightman School Community Building provides a safer connection between the two spaces. The bump-out corners will also improve pedestrian safety. As this multi-year project comes to end, we are grateful to all of the public and private partners that cooperated to bring it to fruition.
ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION IN MELLON PARK Carolina silverbell; Saucer magnolia; Katsura tree; Cedar of Lebanon. These tree species, and many more, can all be found in Mellon Park, the city’s first public arboretum. To celebrate the park and the community, Friends of
WIGHTMAN STORMWATER UPDATE
Mellon Park, in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh
Since our last update on the Wightman Park stormwater
park, south of Fifth Avenue. There will be a scavenger
project (September 2021 issue), Pittsburgh Water
hunt, art in the park, lawn games, a tree planting, guided
and Sewer Authority has undertaken significant work
tree tours, live music, activity tables, food, and much
in the streets to the south and east of the park. The
more. These activities will follow a “zero-waste” principle,
improvements aim to reduce sewage backups and
meaning no Styrofoam containers, plastic water bottles,
flooding in the neighborhood. “Phase Two” of the project
single-use plasticware, etc. Rain or shine, the trees will
installed infrastructure to channel stormwater into
be there, just like the day’s events. For more information,
the park’s rain garden and the enormous underground
and Tree Pittsburgh, is hosting a family-friendly event on Saturday, April 30th from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The festivities will be centered upon the southern side of the
storage tanks. When the system is fully operational, water will flow through the previously dry stone cascade,
Be sure to visit the SHUC booth to make a fun,
to the delight of park visitors. Informative signs around
sustainable craft inspired by trees and artists including
the park explain how the system operates.
Piet Mondrian, Bob Ross, Gustav Klimt, and Taki Katei.
20 | shuc.org
In Squirrel Hill you can eat dishes from around the world, but did you know that you can also eat from A to Z? Try to identify these restaurants and eateries from a single letter. Hint: Not all are the first letter in the restaurant’s name. For the answer key, see page 28.
Spring 2022 | 21
memories WHEN PAMELA’S AND EAT’N PARK CLOSED THEIR MURRAY AVENUE DOORS earlier this year, many of us were sad to see them go. Fortunately, these neighborhood institutions left behind countless
When our kids were school age, we often had Sunday breakfast at Eat’n Park. As a treat, we allowed the kids to order milkshakes with breakfast. They always ordered strawberry, because I didn’t like that flavor and would not try to steal a sip!!
memories. We extend our thanks to the staff of both Pamela’s and Eat’n Park for making these memories possible, and for being part of the community for so many years. Although we may have to travel farther to munch on Smiley Cookies and hotcakes, these restaurants hold a special place in our hearts, as these memories from the community show.
I have a wonderful memory of meeting and dining at Eat’n Park on the 4th of July with my then friend and future Father-in-Law Michael Antonplos, prior to our trip to Ohio to visit his eldest daughter, Jennifer, my current wife. —GEORGE KARPACS
I wrote a chunk of my master’s thesis at Eat’n Park. No better place for endless coffee, pie, and broccoli at midnight! —ANONYMOUS
22 | shuc.org
When my son was little, we used to go into Pamela’s together for a mother-son breakfast treat. Naturally, he’d want the hotcakes, but even the short stack was too much for him to eat. So, I’d have to (get to?) share them with him. Lucky us! —ANONYMOUS
I will miss seeing the long lines at Pamela’s on the weekend. Saturday or Sunday, it was a regular occurrence in Squirrel Hill to see a mixed age group, students, older citizens, etc. patiently waiting their turn to get into Pamela’s for the famous pancakes, French toast, and breakfast specials. Sorry to see them leave. —BARBARA JONES
End of an era. So many great memories at Eat’n Park. Dad and I (and sometimes mom) would meet there or at Bagel Factory for our weekly breakfasts for many years. We’d walk in and Yvonne (who worked there for 24 years) would always enthusiastically yell, “Hello Blair. Hello Teddi.” Teresa (who worked there for 34 years) would ask if we wanted our usual. And Lamar, the “baby” who worked there for 15 years, was always so kind. Best of luck to all of them in their new chapters. —TEDDI JACOBSON HORVITZ
Did you know that the Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol was founded over a meal at Pamela’s? You could often find its members planning their service to the community at Pamela’s or Eat’n Park. —SHUC
Spring 2022 | 23
shuc snapshots NOTES FROM YOUR SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION STAFF
Update from SHUC Executive Director, Maria Cohen AS WE ENTER SPRING, we
the table regarding the bridge redesign. Special thanks and accolades go to Mary Shaw, Roy Weil, Marshall Hershberg, and Rich Feder of the Bike-Ped Committee as well as Ted King-Smith and Paul Heckert of Bike Pittsburgh for immediately creating alternative bike routes, and to the Bike-Ped team for quickly engaging Councilmember O’Connor’s office with the support of Anna Tang of Bike Pittsburgh. Elected officials and city employees are also working tirelessly to make sure that the future brings a better, safer Fern Hollow bridge design.
are looking forward to a time of re-engaging in fun, outdoor
Entering Spring, we look forward to Earth Day! Our in-
activities and hopefully getting
person Spring Community Cleanup event will be hosted
back to a bit of normalcy. With
on Sunday, April 24th from 9 am to 12 pm. For those
less focus on the pandemic, we
who enjoy the convenience and safety of being able
can put more emphasis on how
to pick up litter anytime, SHUC is hosting a weeklong
we care for tomorrow and work
cleanup starting on Earth Day, Friday, April 22nd and
together to ensure that our Squirrel Hill community is
lasting until Sunday, May 1st. Please sign up for both via
vibrant for many years to come.
our newsletter, social media, or our shuc.org site. There will be various prizes offered from local merchants. We
The year began with a bit of a rocky start for our local
are so thankful to Barb Grover, our past volunteers, and
community. In the early morning hours of Friday, January
regular Litter Patrol members who have helped to plan
28th, the Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed. The bridge
this event and made past events such a success!
played an integral role in connecting Squirrel Hill with Point Breeze and Regent Square. Very fortunately, there were no fatalities. The collapse also ruptured a gas line, which was shut off before more damage ensued. The responses from the emergency workers, local community members, Waverly Presbyterian Church, the Red Cross, our political leaders, and our own SHUC Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee was spectacular. Squirrel Hill, the East End, and our city really stepped up. Located almost
Be warned: the conversation might motivate you
to think and act differently.
directly at the scene, Waverly Presbyterian Church
SHUC is cautiously optimistic and excited about the
worked tirelessly to support the community, living by its
return of in-person events! We were very excited to be
motto “love thy neighbor, no exceptions.”
a part of last year’s successful return to Bach, Beethoven and Brunches. The Mother’s Day Wine Walk is always
The bridge rebuild is expected to take approximately
fun and well attended; it is scheduled for Mother’s Day
two years. Fortunately, Councilmembers O’Connor and
weekend! We are very happy that Squirrel Hill will again
Strassburger’s offices, SHUC’s Bike-Ped Committee,
host three Night Market events. Our Farmers’ Markets
Bike Pittsburgh, and many more have worked to
are again planning for a full season.
ensure that we have several safe, good detours for our biking community, proper detours for traffic in
SHUC is collaborating with the JCC’s Center for Loving
our local community, and for SHUC to have a seat at
Kindness in a CMU OSHER course titled “Countering
24 | shuc.org
emphasized that we all have the capacity to make change,
Ron Symons and Melissa Hiller. The course is scheduled
one moment at a time. “We cannot forget that our real
to meet for three weekly sessions starting on May 2nd
power is not necessarily to change the world … it’s to
from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Join us as we explore
make a world of change in the people we encounter
ideas from leading authors for building a more equal
every single day,” he said. Here at SHUC we look forward
and just future. No need to read the books before or
to working with Mayor Gainey and his administration in
after these sessions. Be warned: the conversation might
their efforts to improve the lives of all of Pittsburgh’s
motivate you to think and act differently. Participants
residents, workers, and visitors.
are encouraged to be an active part of the conversation. The excerpts presented will give all participants enough
The inauguration of Mayor Gainey meant the departure
shared language to be in dialogue.
of Bill Peduto from the mayor’s office. We thank Mayor Peduto for his many years of service to the city and
Our annual Treasure Awards Dinner is planned for an
to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, including as City
in-person event on Thursday, November 10th! We are
Councilmember for District 8. In a magazine issue
very optimistic and will make adjustments to ensure
focused on sustainability and the environment, we are
the safety of our guests as needed. Please mark your
especially grateful for his work on these issues on behalf
calendars. We are looking very forward to hosting and
of the city and its residents.
really hope to see you there! Barbara Smith retired from her position as the Executive Please reach out to share with me what you would
Director of UpstreamPgh at the end of 2021. During her
like the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition to continue,
14 years of leadership, Smith oversaw the restoration
feedback about changes that you would like to see, and
of Nine Mile Run (which gave UpstreamPgh its original
your thoughts and ideas to support us in preserving,
name, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association). Those
improving, and celebrating the quality of life in our
years also saw rain barrels and native plants become
vibrant Squirrel Hill community. You can connect with me
familiar sights on Squirrel Hill properties. Mike Hiller,
who previously served as Assistant Director, has now taken the helm of the organization. We congratulate both Smith and Heller and thank them for their efforts to improve the area’s environmental health.
Credit: Emmai Alaquiva
Comings and Goings On January 3, 2021, Ed Gainey became Pittsburgh’s 61st
We say farewell and best wishes to two neighbors
and first Black mayor in city history. Previously, Mayor
who have positively enhanced our region through their
Gainey was the PA State House representative for the
work: Aradhna Malhotra Oliphant and Grant Oliphant,
24th district, which includes neighborhoods to the north
residents of Squirrel Hill for the past 10 years. Aradhna,
and east of Squirrel Hill. In his inaugural address, Gainey
President and CEO of Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. since
Spring 2022 | 25
Hate: Excerpts of 3 Books in 3 Weeks” and hosted by
2004, has directed efforts to identify, inform, and engage Southwestern PA leaders and link them with opportunities to serve our region. Aradhna is deeply committed to community building by being engaged with the academic, public policy, corporate, and nonprofit sectors. Aradhna will continue in her current role through June before joining her husband, Grant, in California. As a Squirrel Hill resident, Aradhna particularly appreciates one of the neighborhood’s many
We’re delighted she’s brought her talents to Pittsburgh
distinctive features: its openness to all cultures. “It’s such
and is working with SHUC!
a great feeling to be walking to the Starbucks on Forbes/ Murray and hear five different languages being spoken
Fritz Manzano is spending the academic year as a Media
within two blocks,” she said.
Intern in the SHUC office while pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon. At
Grant Oliphant has been working in philanthropy in
SHUC, Fritz is applying his media and communications
the Pittsburgh region for 30 years. A former journalist,
skills to the newsletter, website, magazine, and social
talented writer, and articulate speaker, Grant’s latest
media. He’s glad that working for SHUC brings him to
position was as President of the Heinz Endowments,
Squirrel Hill and its many Asian-American shops and
where he refocused its work on advancing a sustainable
restaurants. We’re glad that he’s part of the SHUC team!
and equitable future, locally and globally. Grant will be heading San Diego’s relatively new and largest foundation; its role is still evolving, which provides an
SHUC Says “Thanks”
interesting and challenging entrepreneurial opportunity. He was also drawn to the West Coast because he’ll be
This past holiday season, festive holiday decorations
closer geographically to his parents, both in their 80s.
brightened the neighborhood, thanks to the generosity
About Squirrel Hill, Grant said, “Squirrel Hill is what
of the community. Squirrel Hill merchants anonymously
every neighborhood aspires to be. It is full of interesting
donated hanging holiday wreaths for Forbes Avenue.
and caring people, has a wealth of places to eat and
John Katz, Jamison Combs, and Patrick Beck contributed
shop locally, is walkable and accessible, and is just about
the spectacular Holiday Tree, also on Forbes. Jamison
the friendliest place you will ever find. But what I will
also joined SHUC’s own Sophie Bean in hanging lights.
miss most is the incredible friends we have here—and
Thank you for brightening the season!
gathering with them on our Kinsman Road front porch. America at its finest!”
New Faces at SHUC
Thank you to Helen Wilson and the Squirrel Hill Historical Society (SHHS) for collaborating to put together another incredible Squirrel Hill Calendar! Thanks so much to Games Unlimited, Riverstone Books,
SHUC is excited to introduce two new members of
Little’s Shoes, and Ten Thousand Villages for distributing
our team. Sophie Bean is our Administrative Assistant.
the 2022 calendar, and to all who purchase and enjoy it.
A native of eastern PA, Sophie earned a degree in Geography and Urban Studies from Temple University
We continue to be grateful to the volunteers who help
and worked for several urban redevelopment and design
care for Wightman Park. In November, they added mulch
organizations in Philadelphia. In addition to helping
to prepare the landscape for winter. Gary Crouth also
SHUC in myriad ways, including as a contributor to the
deserves our thanks for his commitment to increasing
magazine, Sophie is involved in the restaurant industry.
Squirrel Hill’s tree canopy. Gary has long been submitting
26 | shuc.org
tree applications to TreeVitalize, resulting in more that
Saturday, April 9th. The race is emphasizing sustainability,
300 trees being planted on our residential streets. He
and a portion of the proceeds will go to Tree Pittsburgh,
also organizes our volunteer Tree Care Days with Tree
an important partner with SHUC in caring for the trees
Pittsburgh, focusing on the business corridor. You may
in the neighborhood. Tree Pittsburgh provides mulch,
know Gary and his Squirrel Hillbillies partner, Jenny
tools, gloves, and supervision and, together with our
Wolsk, who play their eclectic mix of folk, country, and
dedicated volunteers, has helped keep the new trees at
blues at our Squirrel Hill Night Markets.
Allderdice alive. To sign up for the race, go to p3r.org/ races/pittsburgh-earth-day-run.
Coordinated Care Helping Seniors Stay Healthy at Home
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 23 surrounding Pittsburgh neighborhoods
Spring Steps and a Run Although we introduced the Walk Squirrel Hill! map in last
For more information, call 412-723-6200 or visit UPMC.com/livingathome.
UPMC LIVING-AT-HOME PROGRAM
winter’s issue, only the most intrepid readers may have ventured out during the coldest months of the year. Now, with warmer weather on the horizon, we hope more people will take advantage of this self-guided tour of the neighborhood’s historical, cultural, and natural landmarks. You can access the map at shuc.org and at select local venues including Riverstone Books, Little’s Shoes, and 4345_HOME524335_squirrel_hill_magazine_3.635x4.875.indd the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill. Feel free to share
photos of your journey with SHUC; you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also hope that runners will participate in the inaugural Heineken 0.0 Pittsburgh Earth Day 5K Run on
Spring 2022 | 27
Learn where Core Values matter. PRESCHOOL THROUGH 8TH GRADE COEDUCATIONAL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL
Proudly in the heart of Squirrel Hill | 412.521.1907 | www.stedmunds.net
ANSWER KEY FOR
3/1/22 9:41 AM
EAT FROM A-Z
See page 21 for the corresponding photos. A: Aladdin’s Eatery, 5878 Forbes Ave
O: Everyday Noodles, 5875 Forbes Ave
B: Bagel Factory, 5885 Forbes Ave
P: Pigeon Bagels, 5613 Hobart St
C: Coriander India Grill, 2201 Murray Ave
Q: Teppan BBQ, 2209 Murray Ave
D: Diners 2+1, 1722 Murray Ave
R: Ramen Bar, 5860 Forbes Ave
E: Eighteen, The Café at Pinskers, 2028 Murray Ave
S: Sakura Teppanyaki & Sushi, 5882 Forbes Ave
F: Frankie Bunz, 2108 Murray Ave
T: Turkish Kebab House, 5819 Forbes Ave
G: Green Pepper, 2020 Murray Ave
U: Uncle Sam’s, 5808 Forbes Ave
H: How Lee, 5888 Forbes Ave
V: Murray Avenue Grill, 1720 Murray Ave
I: Independent Brewing Company, 1704 Shady Ave
W: Waffallonia, 1709 Murray Ave
J: Jian’s Kitchen, 5824 Forbes Ave
X: Pink Box Bakery Café, 2104 Murray Ave
K: Kiin Lao and Thai, 5846 Forbes Ave
Y: Yue Bai Wei, 5874 Forbes Ave
L: Lucha Street Taco, 2130 Murray Ave
ZZ: Aiello’s Pizza, 2112 Murray Ave #1; Mineo’s Pizza House,
M: Mediterranean Grill, 5835 Forbes Ave
2128 Murray Ave; Napoli Pizzeria, 2006 Murray Ave; Pizza
N: New Dumpling & Sushi House, 2138 Murray Ave
Bellino, 5839 Forbes Ave; Pastoli’s, 1900 Murray Ave
28 | shuc.org
: T H G I OTL
R E T T LI L O R PAT
THE PEOPLE BEHIND SHUC’S LITTER PATROL ARE
and police-community partnerships. She worked with
DEDICATED caretakers of Squirrel Hill’s environmental
local and state elected officials to address concerns of
health and communal spirit. In the following essays, three
participants recall some of the highs and humorous lows of the Litter Patrol’s history.
In 2005, Bicky, Ann Rose, and Ceci Sommers—good friends with a serious concern for the litter on Forbes
If their messages inspire you to get involved—and we
and Murray—decided to “Do Something!” They knew
hope they do—your next opportunity comes on Sunday,
the litter detracted from the vibrancy and aesthetics of
April 24th during the annual Spring Cleanup. Join the
Squirrel Hill and was a hazard to wildlife and the health of
community from 9 AM to 12 PM as we do our part to
residents. Flyers were posted around the neighborhood
beautify the neighborhood, street by street. For more
recruiting residents to remove litter from around their
information and to sign up in advance, go to shuc.org.
homes (an Adopt-A-Block concept). Our Patrol soon
You can also contact Barb Grover at barbgrover1@gmail.
recognized a lot of interest in cleaning up litter.
com or 412-521-9526. A BIG THANK YOU goes out to the Squirrel Hill Urban
A HISTORY | By Barb Grover
Coalition (SHUC), whose leadership has supported us
The Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol began in 2005, the result
under its non-profit umbrella. That support allowed us
of one woman’s 50-year passion and commitment to
to obtain grant money from various entities (e.g., Sen.
our neighborhood: Bicky Goldszer. Prior to starting
Jay Costa’s office, Keep America Beautiful, Pittsburgh’s
the Litter Patrol, she had organized National Night Out
Love Your Block and Beautify Our ‘Burgh). Many
activities to strengthen neighborhood crime watch
residents joined our efforts, as did local principals,
Spring 2022 | 29
personally delivering letters to local businesses. The letters asked them to participate in actively keeping the business district clean, clear of trash, and free of winter snow. Those businesses that agreed to more closely monitor their access area were offered a window sticker designating them as good neighbors, as well as some specially priced advertising in the SHUC magazine. Those who participated showed remarkable improvement, but we would be delighted to have all businesses take responsibility for a litter-free and snow-free sidewalk right outside their door so we don’t have to initiate another Good Neighbor Campaign. All in all, for the Litter Patrol it was a learning experience in community teachers, and students. We expanded our efforts by
hosting a Spring and a Fall Community Cleanup. College and university environmental groups joined us at our
Several years ago, we saw some progress on reducing
Community Cleanups and at various times during the
the litter and decided we could cut back to just a Spring
year for a special assignment. These were places in our
Cleanup. After over 15 years, cigarette butts are still our
neighborhood that required young, athletic bodies that
number one type of litter, and we haven’t been able to “put
could scramble up and down hills and lift heavy bags.
ourselves out of business” yet. You can help us do that.
For several years, we collaborated with a Litter Patrol group in Homewood on their cleanups. We believe this collaborative effort under the leadership of Boris Weinstein helped inspire other communities, as well as the city and the county to commit to supporting annual regional litter cleanups. We received support from Giant Eagle, Costco, Starbucks, European Wax Center, Classic Lines Books, Dunkin Donuts, Jewish Association on Aging, Mineo’s Pizza, Bagel Factory, Coffee Tree Roasters, Riverstone Books, Little’s, Commonplace Coffee, Games Unlimited, The Refillery, and Cold Stone Creamery. As activities in our neighborhood expanded beyond Community Cleanups, so have the responsibilities of the Litter Patrol. We work with teachers at some elementary
A PERSONAL HISTORY | By Ann Rose
schools to support environmental projects such as
We did not know in 2005 that the group we were
creating mugs with environmental themes, installing
starting would become so meaningful to each of us.
vegetable gardens on school property, and planting trees.
Bicky Goldszer, our leader, was a galvanizing force of
We clean up Murray Avenue before and after the Lunar
nature; Ceci Sommers was a wizard at PR; Barbara Grover
New Year parade and each of the Night Markets.
was and still is a meticulous organizer and an ardent environmentalist; I was an enthusiastic picker-upper of
In March of 2019, the Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol organized
litter, and brawn to their brains. Our mission that day at
a Good Neighbor Campaign that involved Martha
Pamela’s was to plan ways to clean up Squirrel Hill, the
Raak, Lois Liberman, Barbara Jones, and Vicky Fuller
neighborhood that we all loved.
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We agreed that cigarette butts were a big problem. Ugh! With the help of Keep America Beautiful and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC), we acquired a number of Cigarette Butt Receptacles (CBRs) and placed them around the business district. Members of the group counted cigarette butts before and after the installation and found that they did indeed help. We also passed out small plastic boxes for smokers to use until they found a receptacle for their cigarette butts. One man, when offered the box, declined by saying, “My butt’s too big for that box.” We are now on our second round of CBRs. They are still functioning despite having coffee spilled into them, papers stuffed into them, and
out on their own, grandparents and grandchildren,
being partially pried open, perhaps by smokers looking
churchgoers still in neat clothes, men in yarmulkes with
for a viable butt.
their families, fit college students, dog walkers, and, best of all, school groups are among those who show up.
We decided to sponsor at least one neighborhood
Local politicians and hopefuls, police mascot McGruff,
cleanup per year. Because publicity before the event is
Murray the Squirrel, and neighborhood “characters”
crucial, Barbara Jones devised an unorthodox way to get
usually grace us with their presence. They pick up and
the word out. “One of my favorite activities volunteering
recycle or discard the expected items left behind in a
for the Litter Patrol was to link arms with Murray the
busy and diverse neighborhood. But who can explain the
Squirrel and walk up and down Forbes Avenue. Murray
underpants left near the library?
could barely see out of his furry costume, so I had to hold his paw and guide him up and down curbs,
Of course, the volunteers make the neighborhood
around corners, and help him across the street,” she
look better, but they also keep untold pounds of trash
said. “The squirrel, being a friendly critter, would wave
from being washed into the storm sewers and into our
to passersby. Children ran up to him, asked to shake
streams and rivers. Getting a little dirty and sweaty with
his paw, and, most importantly, wanted their picture
friends and neighbors can be a bonding experience as
taken with him. I wore a sandwich board that had all the
we work to improve the community we love.
essential information about the cleanup printed on it. I handed out flyers to whomever showed interest in our
When Bicky and Lou Goldszer moved to Florida, Barbara
activity.” On one occasion, Barbara and Murray wound
Grover took over as head of the Litter Patrol. Barb
up inside the Christine Frechard Art Gallery during a
has been successful in attracting groups that want to
champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception!
perform community service by picking up in Squirrel Hill. She makes sure that they have an assignment and
Barbara continued, “During Covid we have limited
equipment. In 2019, Bob Danenberg and I agreed to
ourselves to standing at corners and handing out flyers
accompany a group of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
that told people how to sign up virtually to do their own
students to their spot, the on-ramp to the Parkway East,
neighborhood cleanup within a one-week window of
a notorious eyesore. As soon as we met on Forward
time. Quite a few responded to the request.”
Avenue, these intrepid young people began gathering up every speck of litter. This tenacity did not waver
At 9:00 AM on the big day of our annual cleanup, we
when we reached the motherlode of Squirrel Hill trash, a
usually get an enthusiastic turnout of volunteers. Young
weedy area to the right of the road. It contained all the
families with children in strollers, tweens proud to be
usual items that people throw out of their car windows
Spring 2022 | 31
with the mailing labels washed away, and a dog skeleton.
AN UNEXPECTED HISTORY | Bob Dannenberg
The CMU students proved their worth that day as we
First, a bit of definition:
filled at least a dozen huge garbage bags. Bob and I are
As a sub-group of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, the
sworn to secrecy as to what we did with the trash, but
purpose of the Litter Patrol, from its name alone, is
we found a place where it would be properly collected.
generally obvious: to pick up litter, and to try to beautify
plus some more troubling items: empty purses, packages
Getting a little dirty and sweaty with friends and neighbors can be a
bonding experience as we work to improve the community we love.
our surroundings by eliminating litter. One dictionary defines litter as “trash, such as papers, cigarette butts, cans, and bottles, left lying in an open or public place without properly disposing of it, such as in a trash receptacle.” Litter is also defined as “garbage lying on public streets, sidewalks, or roads. A disorderly accumulation of objects; a pile.” Speaking of “piles” … it was the Lunar New Year parade, February 17, 2019 (Year of the Pig). The Lunar New Year parade begins at the corner of Murray and Phillips and then proceeds up the hill toward Beacon Street, ending
For years, our group partnered with our Homewood
at the intersection of Forbes and Murray Avenues. The
equivalent by working at the other’s cleanup. The city’s
Litter Patrol’s planning for cleanup of the parade begins
Public Works’ head, Guy Costa, picked up litter with
well before the event. Our job is to canvas the parade
the rest of us, as did litter luminary Boris Weinstein.
route prior to the start, and to clean up after, which is
After working all morning in the rain on one occasion,
the larger effort. I had agreed (along with others) to do
Squirrel Hill volunteers enjoyed a hot lunch prepared by
“cleanup” along the lower portion of the parade route,
Homewood residents. The food nourished us, as did the
basically along Murray Avenue, from Beacon to Phillips.
conversation about community improvement with a group of Homewood women. We had so much in common. Early on, Bicky Goldszer emphasized that children need to appreciate the importance of taking care of the environment. Carole Wolsh and Alex Greenberg took on this challenge by visiting schools and involving students in projects and contests. Carole told us their plans for 2022: “The Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol is working hard this year, 2022, to promote awareness of environmental issues. We are working with teachers and students at Community Day School (CDS) and Minadeo. Students at CDS will decorate mugs with environmental themes, and prizes will be awarded. At Minadeo, students will decorate small
As I’m standing at the corner of Murray and Beacon
pots and plant marigolds and watch them grow. Our
watching and enjoying the Rolls-Royce lead car,
mentor, Bicky Goldszer (of blessed memory), inspired us
marching bands, colorful dancers, dragons, ribbons,
to continue to carry on this work, and we look forward to
and performers in the parade, and admiring all of the
doing it for a long time.” And so, we all continue with the
different groups participating, along comes the City of
volunteer work we love. Please join us.
Pittsburgh Mounted Police Unit. Easily five or six officers
32 | shuc.org
Teeth Checked Hearing Checked?
atop large, stately horses, making a beautiful and exciting display of the city’s mounted police force. As the parade continues along, I’m standing there with my blue bags in hand and gloves at the ready to pick up
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litter. What I didn’t realize is that those beautiful horses
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I mentioned before, well, they tend to leave their calling cards all over the parade route, and no one was on site to clean up the “piles.” Accordingly, Mounted Unit cleanup was unexpectedly
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2703 Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill www.eartique.com
left to the Litter Patrol. Knowing I only had blue bags and gloves for cleanup, I didn’t think that would work to manage the piles. In trying to determine next steps, I happened upon a box left next to a city garbage can and immediately leaped into action. I tore the flaps off the box to use as hand shovels to “scoop up” the piles, and then disposed of the scoops into the blue bags, ultimately filling the box I had located to the brim. (Perhaps the parade that year should have been the “Year of the Horse.”) Admittedly, litter often brings with it a certain quality of “product” and odor, but never had I expected this particular product and scent to be in the mix. (Needless to say, I didn’t have my mask with me that day (i.e., pre-pandemic)). Clearly, cleanup after the Mounted Unit was a bit beyond the anticipated trash haul, but we had to take it in stride. It’s all in a day’s work to keep our Squirrel Hill neighborhood clean and beautiful.
Thanks to the support of our community, for 50 years, CDS has inspired students with learning that is joyful, engaging, and enduring Honor our past & join us in creating the future of Pittsburgh's co-ed independentSpring Jewish2022 day school | 33
GOOD NEWS FROM OUR SCHOOLS
New STEM Initiatives at Hillel Academy This year Hillel is excited to offer opportunities for its students to explore the world around them through the lens of science. As students advance, so does their understanding of the world. The new STEM Beyond Our Walls program utilizes field trips as a way to expand students’ understanding of their respective units beyond the walls of the classroom. Students will visit STEM-related venues throughout Pittsburgh such as Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, Carnegie Science Center, Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh Zoo, National Weather Credit: St. Edmund’s Academy
An Author and a Celebration at St. Edmund’s Academy
Service Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and many more. Another exciting program new at Hillel is Tower Gardening with Hillel STEM, a special incorporation of gardening into the curriculum. Students from all grade
ON JANUARY 26, ST. EDMUND’S ACADEMY was
levels will engage and study plant life from planting to
honored to welcome author Brittany J. Thurman, who
harvesting. While younger students engage in planting,
spoke to the school’s 1st and 2nd graders about her
caring for, and basic plant anatomy lessons, older
newest book, Fly Fly.. Prior to her visit, Ms. Thurman asked
students will study pH balances and plant growth and
the students to think about what goes into creating a
development. This program will help to grow more
book. She listened to their ideas, and then talked to
than just plants—it’s growing students’ math, science,
them about the process. They also talked about the
language arts, and social studies skills while promoting
important lessons in Fly Fly,, which tells the story of a young
student responsibility and healthful eating.
Black girl’s perseverance and confidence in following her Double Dutch dreams. Ms. Thurman holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University and currently lives in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. On January 28, St. Edmund’s Academy’s Asian American Student Alliance hosted a school-wide Lunar New Year celebration! Students began the afternoon with a Lion Dance and martial arts demonstration from Master Chris Young of Pittsburgh Steel Dragons. For the rest of the afternoon, students rotated through stations including the storytelling of The Great Race by Dawn Casey; crafting drums, lanterns, and paper dragons to welcome the new year; learning about and creating Chinese opera masks; and dumpling making with SEA parents.
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The Wildlife Baby Shower is almost here! Help us stock up on supplies needed for the busy season ahead! Event takes place April 9, LIVE online.
Learn more at HumaneAnimalRescue.org/babyshower
HOW WE DRIVE In our Advanced Topics in Physics and Engineering course, students independently design and build projects that interest them, like this “Couch Car.” Our challenging curriculum gives students the freedom to create projects around their passions, while expert teachers provide support wherever it’s needed. How will you drive your child along the path to success?
BECAUSE “HOW” MATTERS PK-12 • Four Campuses
EnvironMentors and the Seeds of Change
IN THIS EDITION OF YOUTH VOICES, two student
members of the EnvironMentors program write about their experiences as emerging environmental activists
Access to healthy, affordable food at school or in a grocery store
Spending a disproportionate amount of your income on energy bills
EnvironMentors is a college access and math/science enrichment program from the Global Council for
THE GENESIS OF AN ACTIVIST
Science and the Environment (GCSE). Chatham
By Sean Russell Jr., 12th grade, Westinghouse Academy
University operates a chapter of EnvironMentors
Something lingered. Something persisted. I claimed
locally, with sites in
to be more than an athlete, yet I
Westinghouse Academy and
was only active in academics and
Environmental Charter High School. EnvironMentors guides students historically underrepresented in environmental science as they learn about careers in the field and work on a personal passion project with a professional adult mentor. Through field trips, guest speakers, research,
It was a love for the community combined with a desire to make it better.
athletics. I looked deep within myself. Self-reflection. I was an 11th-grader with the desire to utilize my potential. Soon, my counselor informed me about a program called EnvironMentors. I’d be paired with a mentor to research an environmental topic of my choice. Agreeing to join, I began the new year embarking on a new journey: activism.
stakeholder interviews, and more, students learn that
One of the program’s initial lessons
social justice is related to the
was on the UN’s Sustainable
environment because in Pittsburgh, your race and your
Development Goals (SDGs). I knew Pittsburgh wasn’t
zip code often determine your likelihood of:
flawless, but I became aware of Pittsburgh’s lack of
Health issues from air, water, or soil pollution
commitment to the SDGs. A haze was lifted from my
clouded perspective. I binge-watched environment-
Access to parks, trees, and other green spaces (and
related videos on YouTube and Netflix. I was determined
related mental and physical health)
to make the most of this opportunity.
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I had the privilege of informing individuals from all walks of life about Pittsburgh’s air and how to combat pollutants. The months of preparation achieved my goal of impacting those who attended. However, I didn’t just host an event on air pollution: I planted the seeds of change. Afterward, my mentor and I planned a tree planting, one of many actions that I emphasized at my event. I was thrilled to continue my work since the Credit: Kelly Henderson
EnvironMentors program had ended for the year. While planting, my cross-country teammates and volunteers
“Air,” I said to my program-assigned mentor one
bonded over making tangible progress toward a
day. “That’s what we should focus on.” We had been
compiling lists, problem trees, and countless notes to sort out an ideal topic. As a runner, I was worried the
I’m endlessly appreciative of the people I’ve met and
air could hinder my performance. As a community and
the connections I’ve made through this program. I’ve
family member, I was worried the air could worsen
returned for my senior year and am currently a student
others’ health. The topic would also address good
liaison. I will aid other members with their projects as I
health and well-being, an important SDG. Ignorance
revamp and develop my own.
isn’t always bliss, and I set out to become educated on the issue. After all, change starts with us, within us.
As I continue along my journey of positively advancing the world, EnvironMentors’ impact will remain
Virtual Seeds of Change conference, Chatham
emblazoned in my journey. The seed, continuing its
University. I ended my presentation on ‘Air Pollution
growth, will sprout a garden that infuses the world
and its Role in Environmental Injustice’ with, “One
vision of mine is to host an event on air pollution in Pittsburgh. People need to be aware of this issue and
be equipped with actions to combat it.” At this point,
By Jeffrey Zialo, 12th grade, Westinghouse Academy
I had been involved in the program for almost three
I stood across the table from a woman. I had never met
months. The speaking opportunity was a milestone,
her before, and she didn’t know me. A greeting turned
and the hours spent researching allowed me to soundly
into an interest. An interest would spark a conversation.
execute my presentation and earn a $500 grant for my
During this conversation, she asked me if I was the
environmental type. I had to be honest and said, “Nope.” I was never the “green thumb” type, and my work in
My mentor and I worked diligently to coordinate the
the community never went as far as participating in
event—poster boards, flyers, etc. With EnvironMentors
workshops. I thought of myself as hindered by my lack
and the grant, I had the confidence and resources
of experience with community service and my lack of
to succeed. On the day of the event, my mentor
knowledge about the communities that I’d lived in for just
repeatedly told me phrases like “You’re going to do
great,” and “I’m so proud of you.” I had never done anything like this before, yet she believed in me and
About once a week, I would meet with others: peers like
helped me shoot for the stars.
me and adults who strived to make differences in CONTINUED on page 40
Spring 2022 | 37
Reading a poem and a Google Slides presentation,
Blue Boa Hyssop
SUSTAINABLE PLANTS FOR THE EAST END GARDEN
By Patrick Beck
ONE OF THE PERKS OF MY JOB is that I get to visit different homes throughout the East End and see some spectacular gardens and landscapes. I see everything from gardens that have been established for decades to new landscapes with new trends. I’d like to share some of the lesser known or underused plant material that I have noticed is performing well in and around our neighborhood. Whether you’re adding to an existing garden or completely renovating your landscape, here are some good plants to consider in our little slice of the Pennsylvania Woodlands.
E V ERGREEN T REE American Holly (Ilex opaca) This is a classic evergreen that, while once popular, fell out of vogue, but should be given more attention and consideration when a large evergreen or clusters are needed. While it would be nice to use some of the softer leaf hybrids, they just aren’t cold hardy enough in our area. To develop the classic and beautiful red berry, you must plant the male and female together.
DECIDU OUS T REE Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) This tree falls into most nurserymen’s top 5 trees. It has one of the most
Japanese Plum-Yew 38 | shuc.org
ornamental barks with only the River Birch being a close second. Unlike the River Birch, though, this tree tends to get along with its understory shrubs,
perennial, and turf neighbors since it typically doesn’t
H ERBACEO US P EREN NI A L FO R T H E S U N
develop a highly fibrous root system like the River Birch.
Blue Boa Hyssop (Agastache ‘Blue Boa’)
The beautiful bark and brilliant red fall color give this tree
Beautiful blue-violet, spike-shaped flowers stand above
interest all year.
clean mint-scented foliage. This perennial starts to flower in June and continues to flower into September
E V ERGREEN S HRU B
or occasionally October. Once established it rarely
Japanese Plum-Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonii)
needs an extra drink of water. It’s great for pollinators,
Not to be confused with the common English and
especially hummingbirds and butterflies, and can be used
Japanese Yews, this is a completely different genus and
in groups or as an accent throughout the garden.
species. It is slow growing but doesn’t disappoint when it reaches its intended maturity. For best growth, give it
HERBACEOUS PERENNIAL FOR THE SHADE
a home with around 6 hours of sun. It can live in deeper
Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus)
shade and still be a handsome plant, but will grow very
This unique perennial flowers in late winter or early
little. This is one with very good deer tolerance and is
spring, but to a lot of gardeners, the real uniqueness of
this plant is that it is evergreen and deer resistant! Its handsome foliage makes a great border to the shade
DECIDU OUS S HRU B
garden but is also useful in small groupings.
Japanese Orixa (Orixa japonica) This largely unknown shrub has become one of my
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick Beck grew up in
favorites to use in difficult shady and understory
Swisshelm Park and has worked at Sestili Nursery in
areas. Since many Squirrel Hill homes are shaded by
Oakland for nearly 35 years. He holds a degree in landscape
mature trees it sometimes seems like nothing will grow
contracting from Penn State and focuses on the design-build
in certain areas of the garden. If you have had that
side of the industry. He lives in Squirrel Hill with his wife, Jill,
problem, give this shrub a try; you will also love the
and two children, Gavin and Rachel.
tropical leaf texture it adds to the landscape.
Insuring Our Community for Over 80 Years
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home and I’ve got to protect it” started popping up in your head until you’re shoved to a point of reaction and drive. I learned that it could even be something as small as wishing a garden had different flowers, a building no longer being there, or a better playground for the kids. So, fast forward into the EnvironMentors program another two months, and I’m still here. I’m still experiencing great places like Tree Pittsburgh and the Frick Environmental Center in Squirrel Hill. I can feel my hesitation fade more and more into black obscurity. The video games get put down for just a little longer. Will you ever be moved? I hope so. There’s one thing I am confident in now: that’s to go out there! I’m literally Credit: Clara Kitongo
shouting at you to go experience the places you’ve always thought you didn’t have time for. Take long walks around
CONTINUED from page 37
your area! The house or apartment you live in should
their communities. I learned about a community that I
never be the only place you live.
just became a part of not too long ago. At this program, they showed me that there was always more. Being in EnvironMentors taught me the care and compassion that people put into the community every day that never really gets noticed. These skilled professionals were silent protectors and watchful guardians at times, and it was a selfless act of empathetic fostering for future generations to experience natural beauty. I thought of them as “Green Vigilantes” at one point. Ironically, I was thinking all this while they were trying to be more and while they strove to make a deep impact. Soon, things started to change. To this day, I wish I could describe what happened. What caused me to just contemplate? What drove me to this conclusion? Why in the world would I make the leap and be so bold? It was a simple thought. I mean, the mentors I’d met were able to laugh like me, live like me, and talk like me and with me. “What if I stay and do something about it?” The thought stopped me in my tracks. I was split. One part of me was mad that I was so active and wanted to cut down on video game time while the other part was starting to feel the addictive “green care” that I had spent so much time around. But what was this “green care?” Well, it was a love for the community combined with a desire to make it better. It was whenever thoughts like “It’s my
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By Dr. Lawrence Gerson, VMD
Although cats rarely if ever have a problem with Lyme disease, it is more problematic for dogs. In veterinary practices that see dogs from Squirrel Hill and Regularly check pets like Cody, 13, for ticks.
surrounding neighborhoods, we rarely get through the day of appointments without identifying pets exposed
VETERINARIANS GO TO GREAT LENGTHS to educate
to Lyme disease. We detect these exposures via the
owners and prevent diseases in pets. Among the
vector-borne blood screen. This recommended yearly
easiest problems to control are the common internal
heartworm test can also have a screen for Lyme and
and external parasites. Intestinal worms had been very
other tick-borne diseases.
common, but with monthly preventative medications, the risk for these parasites is reduced. We must stay
There are steps an owner can take to protect their dog
vigilant, though, as some worm eggs are infectious to
from Lyme disease. Some veterinarians like special collars
children. Heartworms, once restricted to other parts of
or topical products, but many veterinarians like myself
the country, are now seen in Pittsburgh and throughout
prefer oral flea and tick products to protect people—
the United States. All dogs should be on a preventative
especially children—who are in close contact with
year round for heartworm disease, which is spread by
chemicals in topical products. However, not all products
mosquitoes. Fleas are a real nuisance, but are easily
on the market are effective for tick control. In addition
controlled with medication.
to preventative tick medication, we often recommend the vaccination of dogs for Lyme. The initial two-vaccine
The big issue that has evolved in Pennsylvania over the
series is followed by a yearly booster. Tick control is
past few decades is the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi)
essential, and avoiding tall grass or woods helps too.
that causes Lyme disease and spreads from the blacklegged (or ‘deer’) tick. Lyme disease transmits from
The choice of prevention options will vary depending
the bite of infected ticks that dwell in tall grass, bushes,
on the preference of the owner and other factors.
woods, and meadows. After feeding on small animals,
Discuss the issue with a veterinarian to find an affordable
larvae of the tick molt to nymph and then adult stages
product for each unique situation. Manufacturers have
that can both transmit the bacteria to dogs, other
incentives for clients to purchase preventatives from the
wildlife, and humans. Adult ticks cause infection in the
veterinarian who can provide professional advice and
fall and into winter. The tiny nymphs transmit disease in
quality product with pricing similar to mass retailers.
spring and early summer.
Treating dogs for Lyme disease can get complicated.
Spring 2022 | 41
Antibiotics help pets with pain and swollen joints that can occur with tick exposure. Additional laboratory testing can guide treatment plans. Many dogs that are positive via testing may never develop symptoms. A small percentage of positive dogs, however, will result in chronic and fatal kidney disease.
Pennsylvania is the number one state
Lyme disease cases. for
Drawing by Natalie Stewart
People who are bitten by ticks can develop a bull’s-eye rash around the bite and should consult their doctor if this appears or attached ticks are found. Humans can become chronically infected and suffer severe disability. After walking in tick-prone areas, people should examine pets and themselves for the tiny parasite the size of a poppy seed. I have found ticks on myself after being outside both before and after they embed in my skin. Just pulling weeds or picking up a dog can give the tick an opportunity to crawl on you. Ticks can carry more CohenCenterSUM19.qxp_Layout 1 4/8/19 3:25 PM Page 1
than just Lyme disease. Recently, Powassan virus, a
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We accept most major medical insurances.
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42 | shuc.org
serious tick-borne virus that causes illness in humans, was identified in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is the number one state for Lyme disease cases, and every precaution should be taken to prevent disease in pets and people. Your veterinarian and physician should be the first place for information. Online resources include the CDC, Pa. Lyme Resource Network, and the Companion Animal Parasite Council.
Nine Mile Run Outlet, 1931. Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection. Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System.
SQUIRREL HILL’S WATERSHEDS:
By Helen Wilson, Vice President, Squirrel Hill Historical Society
CAN YOU PICK OUT SQUIRREL HILL ON THE MAP? It’s easy—it’s the high ground in the middle of this digital contour map created by GIS specialist and SHHS member Lauren Winkler. The hill was formed during the Ice Age by runoff from mile-high ice sheets that ended 60 miles north of Pittsburgh. Meltwater flowed south and swirled around the island that ultimately became Squirrel Hill, carving deep valleys all around it. Before Pittsburgh annexed it in 1868, the whole hill was called Squirrel Hill. Today, the neighborhoods of Squirrel Hill North and South take up almost all of the northern and eastern parts of the hill except for a bit of Point Breeze in the topmost right corner. The Saline Street ravine, clearly visible on the map, bisects the lower half of the hill. Southwest of the ravine are Greenfield, Hazelwood, and Glen Hazel. When you examine maps of Squirrel Hill from the 1800s, you see many creeks on the hill. Looking at the presentday contour map, you can assume that a creek once Computer-generated contour map of Squirrel Hill, created by Lauren Winkler, GIS specialist.
Spring 2022 | 43
SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY
flowed wherever you see a ravine. What happened to the creeks? It turns out that Squirrel Hill underwent a massive “manicuring” in the early 1900s, especially in its northern half, when the coming of electric trolleys in 1893 sparked rapid residential development. Slopes were leveled and ravines filled in. The gently rolling landscape of today’s Squirrel Hill is artificial, smoothed out to put in as many houses and apartment buildings as could fit. The creeks were culverted (channeled underground), partly because they were polluted and deemed unhealthy. They now flow through sewers—mostly combined storm and sewage systems, where heavy storm runoff overloads them and causes wastewater to overflow into creeks. Much of the main sewer system is now over a hundred years old, but recently some repairs were made along the Forbes Avenue business corridor to address the concerns of merchants who have long complained about water and mud filling their basements during heavy storms. A look at the three watersheds within Squirrel Hill’s boundaries shows just how much the landscape has been engineered to control the flow of water and how much maintenance the systems require.
The gentle rolling
UPCOMING 2022 PROGRAMS
SQUIRREL HILL HISTORICAL SOCIETY 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. Programs have been held on Zoom but will be live at the Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave., as soon as the Covid situation permits. Go to www.squirrelhillhistory. org to for updates and announcements of upcoming lectures and events. Please consider joining the SHHS. Membership is only $15 per year ($25 for families). There is no charge for attending the meetings.
TUESDAY, APRIL 12 The Characters of Allderdice ROZ SHERMAN, SHHS member and retired Allderdice teacher, will give a lively presentation about the characters she encountered at legendary Taylor Allderdice High School.
TUESDAY, MAY 10 Neighborhoods of the Alle-Kiski Valley GEORGE GUIDO, author of Neighborhoods of the Alle-Kiski Valley: 30 Communities Full of Unique History, will talk about the rich history of 30 Alle-Kiski Valley neighborhoods, some dating back to the time when the rivers were the main mode of transportation.
landscape of today’s
TUESDAY, JUNE 14 Report on the Restoration Effort of the Neill Log House
TONY INDOVINA, president of the Friends of Neill Log House, and others will report on the history and progress being made on restoring Pittsburgh’s oldest domestic structure to preserve it for future generations.
Squirrel Hill is FOUR MILE RUN
The Four Mile Run watershed takes up most of the northern part of Squirrel Hill. (A “run” is a creek.) Old maps show a creek running westward parallel to what is now Forbes Avenue from Shady Avenue towards Carnegie Mellon University, then down to Panther Hollow, then to Junction Hollow (the valley between CMU and Carnegie Museum), and from there to the Monongahela River. The whole watershed is culverted except for some creeks in Schenley Park. At CMU, a large ravine was filled in where
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TUESDAY, JULY 12 The Family Clubs of Squirrel Hill ERIC LIDJI, director of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center, will share his research on the family clubs that were a defining and unique feature of the Ashkenazi Jewish experience in the United States in the 20th century.
SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY
the grassy expanse of “the Cut” now extends from Forbes Avenue to Hunt Library. Another branch of Four Mile Run flowed south on Murray Avenue and down the Saline Street valley to Junction Hollow. Some mitigating efforts have been undertaken to slow stormwater to keep it from overwhelming the lower areas of the watershed, especially Lower Greenfield. CMU installed underground cisterns in its Mall a few years ago to help prevent storm runoff from surging into Junction Hollow from the campus. Some sewers in Squirrel Hill North were recently replaced by separate storm and wastewater sewers. A few of the mowed lawns in Schenley Park have been allowed to revert to native plants
Howe Springs today. Photo by Helen Wilson.
as part of the effort to slow storm runoff. Similarly, the beautifully restored Wightman Park now has a wetlands
and effort to solve Nine Mile Run’s ongoing pollution
area that helps prevent stormwater from flowing too
quickly into Four Mile Run. (For an update, see page 20.) The park is below street level because a creek was
dammed there in the 1800s to create a large commercial
The Negley Run watershed is not as well known as the
ice pond, where ice was harvested for iceboxes.
two other Squirrel Hill watersheds because it occupies only a small section of Squirrel Hill North. The creek
NINE MILE RUN
flows northward to the Allegheny River and is almost
Nine Mile Run and its tributary, Fern Hollow Creek, form
completely culverted, but you can still see remnants
most of the eastern boundary of Squirrel Hill. Fern Hollow
of its history in Squirrel Hill. If you’ve driven on Fifth
Creek flows through Frick Park from Squirrel Hill North
Avenue and wondered about the little “Greek temple”
into Nine Mile Run, which flows past Summerset into
near Highland Avenue, it was once a fountain fed by a
the Monongahela River in Duck Hollow. There is a long
creek that flowed down the hill into Negley Run. In the
history of environmental challenges in the watershed. A
late 1800s, when water treatment plants were not yet
massive sewer break on Luster Street in the 1950s sent
built in Pittsburgh and polluted wells made typhoid and
sewage cascading down to Nine Mile Run, creating a
cholera rampant, springs flowing from hilltops provided
mosquito-infested lake and causing health problems for
relatively pure drinking water. General Thomas M. Howe
local residents. A massive rehabilitation of Nine Mile Run
had such a spring on his estate, “Greystone,” high above
by the Army Corps of Engineers, City of Pittsburgh, and
Fifth Avenue. He allowed people free access to the
ALCOSAN was completed in 2006. It resulted in scenic
spring. The fountain was built on Fifth Avenue in 1896
vistas of wetlands and wildflowers, but the creek remains
and reconstructed in 1912 to provide easier access to the
heavily polluted by the combined sewers upstream that
fresh spring water. Negley Run is the underlying cause of
discharge into the watershed and were intended to
the stormwater problems on Washington Boulevard. An
overflow in heavy storms, still flooding the creek with
alliance of public and private organizations is developing
sewage. When you walk the picturesque Nine Mile Run
plans to restore part of the Negley Run watershed.
Trail below Summerset, you are walking on the top of the sewer. There are places on the trail where you can
For more information about Squirrel Hill’s geology, sewer
see—and smell—the outflow from culverts. The sewers
system, and watersheds, see the SHHS’s book, Squirrel
upstream are undergoing remediation, but it will take time
Hill: A Neighborhood History.
Spring 2022 | 45
SPRING EVENTS We’d love for you to join us at these upcoming community events.
SPRING COMMUNITY CLEANUP
WIGHTMAN PARK LITTER PATROL
SHUC’s Litter Patrol and YOU!
SHUC, Friends of Wightman Park, and YOU!
When: Sunday, April 24 @ 9 am - 12 pm
When: Sunday, May 1 @ 10 am - 12 pm
Where: Around Squirrel Hill; check in and collect supplies at Forbes and Murray
Where: Wightman Park, 5600 block of Solway Street
Because you want this neighborhood recreational space to stay spectacular
Register by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
Because you appreciate the combination of fresh air and community service Registration requested at tinyurl.com/ squirrelhillcleanup. If you can’t make this date, participate in Clean Sweep Week from April 22 - May 1
ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION Who:
Friends of Mellon Park, City of Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh, and YOU!
When: Saturday, April 30 @ 11 am - 2 pm Where: Mellon Park, southern half Why:
Because you love the company of trees and other tree-loving folks
No registration or tickets required
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SQUIRREL HILL FARMERS’ MARKET Who:
City of Pittsburgh, local vendors, and YOU!
When: Sundays, starting May 15 @ 9 am - 1 pm Where: Beacon/Bartlett parking lot off Murray Avenue Why:
Because you want to know where your food comes from
SQUIRREL HILL NIGHT MARKET Who:
No registration or tickets required
Uncover Squirrel Hill, food and craft vendors, entertainers, and YOU!
When: Saturday, June 25 @ 6 pm - 10 pm Where: Murray Avenue between Forbes and Beacon Why:
Because you deserve a fun night out
No registration or tickets required
MOTHER’S DAY WINE WALK Who:
Uncover Squirrel Hill, local businesses, and YOU!
When: Saturday, May 7 @ 4 pm - 8 pm Where: Business district on Forbes and Murray Why:
Because you agree that moms are special
Purchase tickets at uncoversquirrelhill.com
Spring 2022 | 47