Calling on the Polish Hill snow and ice clearing team!

It’s still snowing at the moment, and it’s very pretty, but we’re already thinking about what comes next:  clearing the snow and preventing ice from forming.  Our stair stewards have already begun their work.  For other neglected stretches of sidewalk or steps, we’re calling on any other residents who feel like helping out.  If you have a shovel, some energy, and maybe an extra bag of salt, your help is needed.  First, look around your street.  Are there sidewalks in front of empty buildings, or a bus stop?  Are there elderly or disabled residents who might not be able to clear their sidewalks?

If your street looks well-cleared, put that shovel over your shoulder and take a walk around the neighborhood.  It’s not just shoveling that’s needed.  The temperatures have been below freezing for so many days that already icy conditions become more dangerous for being hidden underneath a new layer of snow.

We’ve already heard from one resident on Phelan who reports a massive ice slick (water from underground streams flow over the street year-round) that is endangering pedestrians and cars alike.  There’s a salt box near the top of Phelan, left by the City to help residents battle the icing problems that have bedeviled this byway for decades.  As the icy patches are on a road, we’ve 311’d it, and the City salt trucks should show up.  But Phelan is a less-used side street, so help might not be for a little while.  If you live near Phelan, or just feel like helping out, let’s get some salt or other traction on the icy patches.

(A group of volunteers head out to shovel after the big snowstorm of February 2010.  PHCA photo)

Call for volunteers: help distribute the Polish Hill Voice

The neighborhood newsletter, the Polish Hill Voice, is mailed to PHCA members and is also available at some local businesses and at the church.  But many residents still don’t see the newsletter, and many who aren’t online don’t see Blogski or receive the e-blast — other places where we provide updates on neighborhood happenings and PHCA projects.   We would like to help keep more residents informed about neighborhood news and developments.  To that end, the PHCA is now working to get funding to print and mail copies of the Voice to every household in Polish Hill.

Until that funding is in place, we’re calling for volunteers to help us distribute the November issue of the newsletter.  This is something that volunteers can do at their own, and a number of people have stepped forward to help out.  But there are still a number of streets left for distribution.  If you have an hour or two to spare sometime in the next several days, and would be willing to help out, please contact us.  Call 412.681.1950 or email

Here is the current (November) issue of the Polish Hill Voice, and here is the page with more back issues.

Johnny Angel and the Halos to help John Paul Plaza celebrate 30-year anniversary

A “One of Its Kind” celebration will be held on October 21 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of John Paul Plaza, the senior 70-unit high rise at 1005 Herron Avenue in Polish Hill.  John Paul Plaza, named after Pope John Paul ll, was built in 1982 under the direction of Rev. John M. Jendzura, C.S.Sp, former Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, and Sister M. Coleman Conroy, OSF, and Sister Veronica, OSF.

Presently, the Plaza is under Housing Management Services, and Sister Eileen Magill is the Executive Director.  The property manager at John Paul Plaza is Sister Lorita Kristufek, a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis from Mt. Assisi Convent in Bellevue (North Hills) PA.

To mark the 30th anniversary of John Paul Plaza, a special Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated on October 21 by Rev. Joseph Swierczynski at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.  The festivities will continue at the Plaza; to highlight the occasion, Johnny Angel and the Halos will perform a concert at 3:00 p.m..  Tickets for the general public are $10 per person at the door.  There will be no pre-sale tickets.   For more information, call John Paul Plaza at 412.683.5850.

Fixing up before fall — safely, we hope

An unusual number of Polish Hill buildings seem to be sporting scaffolding or ladders lately.  This is a good time to work on building exteriors; the hottest days are past and there is still a month or more before the weather starts to get chilly.  The church is getting some attention — although we don’t envy that guy dangling off the side.

This building at 3117 Dobson is getting some touch-up on the third floor windows.  Long ago, the first floor was a butcher, but it’s all residential now.

This building, at 3206 Dobson Street certainly needed some work, but that scaffolding looks a bit precarious.  Unsecured scaffolding placed on top of stacked cinder blocks on an uneven sidewalk?  Somehow, we don’t think that’s up to OSHA standards.  A number of residents have commented on this situation, and it has been turned in to 311.

The Polish Hill community meeting is this evening!

The PHCA office is open after a two-week vacation, and we are busy getting ready for the community meeting this evening.  We hope you will join us for refreshments, socializing, and community updates.  All are welcome — you don’t have to be member, or even a resident, to attend.

The meeting is held on the lower level of the West Penn Recreation Center, 450 30th Street, at 6:15 p.m.


Multi-family flea market on Bethoven Street, Saturday July 21

Our office got a flier about a multi-family “flea market” on Bethoven Street tomorrow, Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  We don’t know much more about it, but “flea market” always sounds pretty good to us.  They promise “lots of great stuff”.

Readers who don’t live in the neighborhood might not know where Bethoven Street is:  it’s parallel to Melwood Avenue, but uphill — two blocks up closer to Bigelow.

(lacking a really good photo of Bethoven, we present instead a painting of the street, by Ron Donoughe.)

UPDATE: Neighborhood preparedness meeting rescheduled for Wednesday July 25

The PHCA didn’t organize this meeting, but we believe this topic is well worth discussing.  “What if the power goes out for a week or more?” ask Etta and Lizzie, the two Polish Hill residents who brainstormed this meeting; “Join us for creative problem solving.  The intention of this meeting is to get to know one another and support one another in time of need”.  The meeting takes place at the mister fountain in West Penn Park (at the corner of Brereton and 30th streets).  The event is also a potluck; bring a chair and your own cup and silverware, and, if you like, something to eat or drink.  For more information, contact

UPDATE, JULY 18:  Lizzie just sent out an email and said  “due to the fabulous storm we had today and a possible repeat of that in the near future, we are moving the preparedness meeting to next Wednesday, July 25th. Still 6:30-8:30, still at the park by the mister.  And still bring food, please!”

Lost cat, Herron Avenue

This is Booger, who lives on Herron Avenue with Kenny Galadyna.  Booger has  been missing since Saturday, June 16th.  Booger is male, with grey and blackish stripes, white paws, and green eyes.  He is 3 years old and is declawed and neutered.  If you have seen him, contact the PHCA and we’ll pass along any information.


Third update on the orphaned kittens: homes for all!

In May we posted about a litter of orphaned kittens that was found behind a restaurant, and then wrote about Elizabeth Bashur, who stepped up to foster the kittens and find homes for them.  The reaction was amazing.  Some generous folks helped chip in so Elizabeth could pay for vet care and kitten formula.  Many others stopped by Little House, Big Art to visit the kittens.

We’re happy to report that Elizabeth was able to find homes for all nine kittens.  Four of the kittens (pictured here with their new people) will stay in or near Polish Hill.  Elizabeth kept one (she couldn’t resist his polka-dot tummy), and now she’s on the road with the other kittens, delivering them to their new homes.

Thanks to everyone who donated, visited, helped feed, wash, and pet the kittens.  And many thanks to Elizabeth, who gave up a big chunk of her life for two months to make sure that they got a chance to have a good life.

(Photos by Elizabeth Bashur)

PHCA office on limited hours May 20 – 26

During the week of May 20 – 26, the PHCA office will be on limited hours:

Sunday and Monday — always closed
Tuesday – Wednesday     limited evening hours only
Thursday    closed
Friday     open 10-6
Saturday   open 1 – 6

These hours may change without notice, so if you’re planning on stopping by, call 412.681.1950 first.