Karbala – a screening of a Polish film at the CMU International Film Festival

The 2015 Polish language film, Karbala, is about the 2004 Battle of City Hall in Karbala, Iraq, in which 32 Polish and 16 Bulgarian soldiers defended the place against attack for 4 days during the Gulf War. The American premier for the film will take place in Pittsburgh as part of the Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival

March 20th, 3pm, 2016, at CMU’s McConomy Auditorium (5032 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213).

The Polish Consulate in New York will participate in the event.

For more information about the festival, please visit:  http://www.cmu.edu/ faces/.​​ If you would like to co-present the event with CMU please visit http://www. cmu.edu/faces/sponsors.html  and/or contact the director, Jolanta Lion at jola@cmu.edu.


We’d like YOU to be part of the 2016 Polish Hill Arts Festival!

The Polish Hill Arts Fest is one of the city’s liveliest summer events. The Fest attracts people of all ages from across the city and includes a broad range of vendors from fine craftspeople to young, local artists. Live music, unique performances and fun activities for the kiddos. Plus, we always have amazing local food vendors. This year, for the first time, the Arts Fest is 100% volunteer-run. And (as always) we look to you to help us make it happen.

July 17th, noon to 9pm (this’ll be awesome, just wait).

If you would like to participate in the the fun, as an artist, a performer, or a food vendor, please reveal your interest through one of the following links (applications are due by May 1st!):

Artist Vendor Application
Performer Application 

Bird House Decorating Contest


The PHCA Monument Committee is sponsoring our 2nd bird house decorating contest. The last one was in 2012 and it is time to add new bird houses to the Monument tree. ALL BIRD HOUSES WILL BE KEPT BY THE PHCA AND HUNG ON THE TREE. We invite you to participate in this fun event.

The entry rules are simple:

  • The bird house is to be no larger than 12″ x 12″ with a hook attached for hanging it on the tree.
  • The “unfinished” bird house can be either built or bought.
  • You decorate the bird house.
  • You can enter as often as you like.
  • A label with your name, address, phone number and email address is to be affixed to the bottom of the birdhouse, which will later be removed.
  • All bird houses must be delivered to the PHCA office by April 15, 2016.
  • Someone will be in the PHCA office on April 13 from 6:00-7:00 p.m., and on April 15 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. to accept your birdhouse(s) delivery.

The prize for first place is a Polish Hill t-shirt; and the prize for second place is a membership to the PHCA.

Bird houses will be judged by the PHCA Monument Committee and the winners will be announced at the Membership meeting on May 3rd and on Blogski and Facebook.


Fish Fry!!!

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (Rosary Hall)

3058 Brereton St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 – in Polish Hill

Fish Fry

Eat In or Take Out on:

Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10

And every Friday (Feb. 12, 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18) during Lent except Good Friday

3:00-6:00 p.m. (as long as dinners are available)

$8.00 dinner includes: fish sandwich, french fries and cole slaw

$2.50 side dish varies each week.

Tips for smart seed shopping

Though spring seems ages away, certainly some of us are thinking ahead about spring planting for summer bounty. These tips from Phipps might be useful!

Go here for the full Phipps story (paraphrased below)…

With another great year of gardening about to begin,  Phipps wants to remind their fellow green thumbs that by purchasing seeds that are organic and non-GMO, you will support purveyors whose products and practices have a more positive impact on human and environmental health. When searching for seeds, a great place to start is the Council for Responsible Genetics’ Safe Seed Resource List, a directory that includes local, national and international GMO-free vendors.

For more information, they asked Phipps Display Horticulturist Mike Bechtel, who maintains the Rooftop Edible Garden, to share his insight on how to search through seed catalogs: “I start by looking at every vegetable in the catalog, then making a list of everything I want to try growing. The list starts off long until I assess how much space I actually have, and then I start paring down to the essentials. I grow all organic vegetables, and searching for certified organic seed is sometimes difficult when you want something specific. Two of my favorite seed purveyors are Seed Savers Exchange and Heirloom Seeds which is in West Finley, Pa. Many seed companies indicate which seeds have been produced organically.”

Other seed companies recommended by Phipps staff include John Scheepers, High Mowing Seeds, Fedco, andThe Natural Gardening Company. If your goal is to avoid seeds directly linked to conglomerate seed companies, check out the Safe Seed Pledge, a voluntary pledge companies can take to commit to selling non-GMO seeds.

On Sat., Feb. 27, Phipps and Grow Pittsburgh will host their Fourth Annual Seed and Plant Swap at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland. This free, open-to-the-public event will include opportunities to obtain open-pollinated, non-GMO, non-hybrid seeds; a hands-on activity for children; a seed starting workshop; and more. Follow the link below for details, and have a happy gardening season!

Free “hands-on” CPR course

Pittsburgh EMS in conjunction with UPMC, is beginning a city-wide Citizen CPR training program in 2016. Residents and community leaders, like the members of the Polish Hill Association, who reside in Police Zone 2 are the first to learn this life-saving technique.

Called Bystander CPR or “hands only” CPR, it allows time for anyone to initiate resuscitation protocols and improve the ultimate outcomes of patients suffering from medical emergencies, specifically cardiac arrest. The goal in 2016 is to train at least 2,500 Pittsburgh residents in this and the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) protocols.

free 30 minute non-certificate course will be hosted by the Zone 2 Public Safety Council  at its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, January 28beginning at 6:00 p.m at the Bedford Hope Center, 2305 Bedford Ave.

For more information, contact Liz Style: elizabeth.style@pitsburghpa.gov or 412- 255-8977 .


Liz Style, Coordinator: SaferTogether, collaborative strategies for community safety

City of Pittsburgh, Department of Public Safety

City County Building
414 Grant Street, Suite 400
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

412-432-8505 cell

412-255-8977 office

Public Safety Announcement – from Zone 2

At January’s community meeting, several residents raised concerns about public safety incidents in the neighborhood. Commander Kudrav and Lieutenant Vinansky from Zone 2 attended the meeting and were able to address a number of issues.  We thank the Commander for following up with the statement below:

Dear Polish Hill Residents,
On Sunday, Dec. 3, 2016 around 5 p.m., Zone 2 officers responded to a
call on Harmar Street for a domestic disturbance incident.  The
responding officer’s preliminary investigation brought forth an
indication that the suspect may return to the location later in the
day.  The officers appropriately prepared to apprehend the suspect.
When more officers are available for a higher risk task, we take
advantage of the opportunity with the goal to ensure the stability and
safety of the community and officers. I offer the following
information as a reference to provide context to why so many officers
responded and the importance of officer safety practices in any law
enforcement profession:

The FBI reports 96 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty
in the United States in 2014. 51 of those officers were outright
killed by suspects the officers encountered just doing their everyday

Now on the other hand, each officer is held to a high standard of
professionalism in all of their actions and performance. It is
important that I am informed of poor interactions our officers have
with any community members. As an organization, we are learning that our community members can be equally effected by the processes of law enforcement in their neighborhoods as the end results. I am looking into concerns that were shared with me in this regard. I will inform your group leaders of my findings as appropriate.

Additionally, I alerted all shift supervisors of the armed robbery
reported by a group member. Zone 2 shift supervisors will assign
targeted patrols to Polish Hill. This was a serious crime of violence
that was not fully communicated to Zone 2 for a timely response. For
this I apologize. I notified Zone 2 plainclothes detectives of the
reported armed robbery and one of our detectives is working the case.
He has tried several times to get in contact with the victim. The
detective has also responded to the location to gather more evidence.

Looking toward the future, I will inquire as to what instruction is
available for community groups to better understanding what happens
when someone calls 9-1-1. Also, I am inquiring about the possibility
of community personal safety training.

Anna Kudrav, Commander
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
Zone 2 Station
2000 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
FBINA #255

Light Up Night, Monday at 6:30pm

This Monday, Nov. 30 at 6:30pm, join friends and neighbors for Polish Hill’s Light Up Night at the monument at the corner of Brereton and Dobson.

Father Joe from the neighborhood’s own Immaculate Heart of Mary Church will bless the tree. And we’ll be joined by a guitar player for some carol singing. Light refreshments will also be provided.

Thanks (in alphabetical order) to Terry Doloughty, Janice Heagy, Deb Jozwiak, Mark Knobil, Myrna Newman, and Brian Seklecki for their help in organizing everything.

PHCA Office OPEN on Fridays 12:30-4:30pm

Dear Neighbors,

While the PHCA is in transition, please be assured that we are continuing to advocate for all Polish Hill residents.  For instance, several board members have volunteered their time in order to keep the office open on Fridays from 12:30-4:30PM.  They are available to answer any questions or discuss issues.  You can also meet with a constituent services staff member from State Representative Ravenstahl’s office during that time.

We thank you for your patience as the board of directors works towards finding funding for a staff presence in the office. In the meantime, please know that we are actively continuing efforts to keep communicating with and advocating for our residents. More information is available at our next community meeting at the West Penn Rec Center on Tuesday, Oct 6th at 6:30 pm.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please email phca@phcapgh.org, or leave a voicemail for us at 412-681-1950.

The board realizes that some type of staff presence is a crucial part of what the PHCA offers to the neighborhood, and we are exploring ways to achieve staffing in the office.  Rest assured that programs that have already been developed (Pivotal Streets, Green and Open Space Improvements, etc.) will continue to happen thanks to the efforts of the PHCA board and residents like you. Thank you for your understanding and participation during this time. We look forward to hearing from you, and being able to continue to work with you—our neighbors.

PHCA Board of Directors

Special announcement: Funding cuts bring changes as the PHCA office closes



To our residents, members, and stakeholders,

In anticipation of a loss of federal funding that will reduce our total budget by approximately one-third, it has been determined that the Polish Hill Civic Association (PHCA) organization will no longer be able to sustain its sole full-time staff position.  As a result, the PHCA office will close its doors as of August 15.

Beginning September 2015, the Polish Hill Civic Association is no longer eligible to receive Advisory Commission on Community-Based Organizations (ACCBO) funding.  To be Community-Development eligible (CD eligible), at least 51% of residents must be low income, as reported in the Winter-Spring 2015 issue of our newsletter and at some of our community meetings.

In September 2014, the PHCA was notified that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is now using the data set from the American Community Survey to determine CD eligibility.  This survey, which gathered data from a select group of Polish Hill residents, indicated that 41.73% of residents are now low income.

Losing our CD eligibility will mean an elimination of all ACCBO funding and more difficulty securing Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).  This will result in a reduction of what the PHCA receives in government grants by at least $30,000, but more likely around $40,000 — more than 30% of our total funding.  The majority of those dollars cover the PHCA’s operating expenses, including staff salary, some consultant and accounting fees, utilities, office supplies and more.  Given the financial reality, the PHCA board determined that we could no longer sustain a full-time community-oriented staff position.  This also means that we will need to reduce or eliminate the services that the staff person provided, such as the quarterly newsletter, website and blog, outreach and assistance to residents, community events, professional consultation about development in the neighborhood, and much more.

What’s next?
The board realizes that some type of staff presence is a crucial part of what the PHCA offers to the neighborhood, and we are exploring ways to achieve some part-time staffing.  The most likely way to do this would be by partnering with other community-based organizations near us.  The board is exploring several opportunities to partner with other groups to create a shared staff position that would be focused on fundraising and grant writing.

Fundraising Ahead, We Need Your Help
In September 2014, after being informed that a substantial amount of our federal funding would end in August 2015, the board realized that the most urgent task for the organization in 2015 would be to create a transition plan and to seek alternate sources of funding.  After determining the organization’s greatest needs and the neighborhood’s highest priorities, the discussion of how to do raise the dollars to fund those needs and priorities began in earnest at the July 15 board meeting.

At that meeting, the PHCA board began developing a plan to reach out to friends, residents, and stakeholders of the neighborhood who care about the community health of Polish Hill.
We ask everyone to pitch in whatever support they can to enable the PHCA to remain active in improving the lives of all the neighborhood’s residents.  Please contact our office at 412.681.1950, or email phca@phcapgh.org.

Please keep an eye out for several initiatives that will be coming out of the Fundraising Committee in the weeks ahead, which will likely include crowd funding, individual contacts, matching donations, and many other strategies.  We would love to have your help in meeting our fundraising goal.  Please let us know if you are able to help us on our path forward, or if you have any questions.

John Rhoades
President, Board of Directors
Polish Hill Civic Association

The PHCA office:  a neighborhood presence for 46 years

The Polish Hill Civic Association has been a presence since the organization was established in September 1969.   Initially the office was in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.  Shortly afterwards, through the assistance of Rev. John Jendzura of IHM, the organization was able to acquire the building at 3060 Brereton Street.

In the following decades, the organization managed to keep its office open, usually just for a day or two a week with a volunteer staff.  In the 1980s, federal funding was secured to pay a part-time staff person.  Aside from a brief period in the early 2000s, the organization kept moving forward with a combination of part-time staff and volunteers until 2009, when office hours expanded to five or six days a week and fulltime staffing.

Polish Hill residents can be very proud that this tiny community group, operating on little or no money, was able to keep an office open for almost fifty years.  A debt of gratitude is owed to all the people over the years, who fought to keep the organization alive and growing.  Thanks to all of them, Polish Hill is the growing and thriving community that it is today.

A Personal Note from the Board
Leslie Clague has been a quintessential part of the Polish Hill Civic Association since 2008.  Working first as a volunteer and then hired as office staff, she has served as the editor, writer, photographer and archivist of the Polish Hill Voice, shaping the voice of the organization in a huge way.  She coordinated the Polish Hill Arts Festival for eight years, raising funds for the event and coordinating dozens of performers, vendors, city offices and volunteers to deliver the community a remarkable experience unlike any other in the city. 
She helped organize community meetings, provided office services and assistance to neighborhood residents, managed building facility issues, and so much more.  She has served as the consistent face of the organization, being the trusted bridge between the “old-timers” and the “new folks.”   In other words, she has served as an indispensable part of the organization and the PHCA and the neighborhood will struggle to find a way forward without her. 

Tuesday September 1, 6:30 p.m.     Community Meeting
At this meeting, find out about the future of the PHCA and what’s being done to move the organization forward. Meeting will be held on the lower level of the West Penn Recreation Center, 450 30th Street.  All are welcome.