January newsletter from the office of District 7 councilman Patrick Dowd

NEWS AND UPDATES

2012 County Property Reassessments

Pittsburgh residents have started receiving their 2012 property values from Allegheny County’s Office of Property Assessment.  Allegheny County is the governing body responsible for determining the values of every property and structure located within the City.

Meetings in District 7 to address appeals process

If you believe that your new assessment is inaccurate, there will be a window of time for you to file an appeal with Allegheny County. It is our goal to make the County’s appeal process as easy as possible for you. In an effort to do so, District 7 along with the City’s Finance Department will host two meetings on January 3, 2012 to explain the appeal process and to answer residents’ questions. The first will be held in Lawrenceville at the Stephen Foster Center, 286 Main Street, at 12noon, and the second in Morningside at the VFW, 1820 Morningside Avenue, at 6pm.

The notice being sent out by the County offered the following information on the appeal process:

“Property owners in the City of Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver have until January 13, 2012, to request an informal review by calling 412-350-4600 or going to http://apps.alleghenycounty.us/InformalReviews. Property owners, along with the school and municipality, also have the right to file a 2012 formal appeal with the Board of Property Assessment Appeals & Review until February 10, 2012. Appeal forms may be obtained by calling 412-350-4600 or by visiting www.alleghenycounty.us/opa/aforms.aspx.

Additional resources

City of Pittsburgh: Frequently Asked Questions – http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/appealassist/faqs

City of Pittsburgh 311 Non-Emergency Response line: 311 or 412-255-2621

Holiday Tree Composting

Christmas trees may be dropped off for composting from Jan. 3 to Jan. 31, Monday through Saturday from 8am until 2pm, at these locations:

— 2nd Division Public Works (East End) -North Dallas Avenue at Hamilton Avenue
— 3rd Division Public Works (Hazelwood) -Melanchton Avenue, off the 5200 block of 2nd Ave
— 5th Division Public Works (West End) -1330 Hassler Street, off of Hershel & Steuben (next to Herschel Park)
— Environmental Services Lot (Strip District) -3001 Railroad Street (next to the former CityTow Pound Location

The trees cannot have ornaments, lights, or stands and cannot be in plastic bags.  Please be aware that trees left at the curb will be collected but not composted.  For more information contact the Pittsburgh’s Recycling Division at (412)-255-2631.

AGAIN, PLEASE NOTE: Help District 7 Go Green!

We are currently preparing the 2011 Annual Report for distribution early in the new year. If you would like to receive only an electronic copy (not a mailed hard copy), please email Jennifer at jennifer.thoma@pittsburghpa.gov and provide your address so we can remove you from our “snail mail” list.

UPCOMING EVENTS AND MEETINGS

Council to Go

Join Councilman Patrick Dowd at Council to Go, his mobile district office, to voice your concerns, ideas, and questions about local government and services.

Polish Hill — Wednesday, January 11, 7pm-8pm – Polish Hill Civic Association Office, 3060 Brereton Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Bloomfield — Tuesday, January 24, 7pm-8pm – Location TBD – details will be posted on the event calendar at http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/district7/html/council_to_go.html

Highland Park — Thursday, January 26, 7pm-8pm – Enrico’s Tazza D’Oro, 1125 N. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Holiday Hours

Monday, January 2, New Year’s Holiday observed – District 7 Office Closed

Community Events

Tuesday, January 3 – Allegheny County Assessment Appeal Process Overview – Lawrenceville, Stephen Foster Center, 286 Main Street at 12pm and in Morningside at the Morningside VFW, 1820 Morningside Avenue at 6pm. Free.

Monday, January 9 – Adult Book Discussion Group – Lawrenceville, Carnegie Library, 279 Fisk Street at 6pm. Free. Group will be discussing Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine brooks.

Monday, January 16 – Honoring MLK, Jr. – East Liberty/Highland Park, Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre (5941 Penn Avenue) and Union Project (801 North Negley Avenue) from 12pm-7pm. Free.

Thursday, January 19 – 2012 Lawrenceville Historical Society Lecture Series – Dr. Stanley States, Director of Water Quality and Production at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority talks about the history of Pittsburgh’s water supply system. Lawrenceville, McVey Auditorium of Canterbury Place, 310 Fisk Street.

If you know of any community-oriented events in your District 7 neighborhood that we should publicize through our monthly newsletter and District 7 website, please email jennifer.thoma@pittsburghpa.gov by the 1st of each month.

DID YOU KNOW?

Allegheny County offers several exemptions that may reduce your county tax bill. You may qualify to save on your Allegheny County Taxes through what is known as the Homestead Tax Exemption (Act 50). The initial $15,000 in assessed value of each owner occupied residential property, and certain farmstead properties, within Allegheny County can be exempted from county property taxes.

This exclusion is not automatic however; you have to apply. Applications must be submitted by March 1 for the exclusion to be in effect for the current and for future tax years. Residents who have already filed for the Act 50 exclusion do not need to file again.

Also, Allegheny County offers a Senior Tax Relief Program (Act 77). Seniors age 60 or older who have lived in and owned their current Allegheny County residence for at least 10 years may be eligible for a flat 30% discount on their county real estate tax. To be eligible, the gross household income, including 50% of Social Security and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits, must be $30,000 or less.

Information on other Allegheny County tax abatement and exemption programs, including new construction (Act 202), clean and green (Act 156-PA), and homeowner improvements (Act 42), can be obtained through the Allegheny County Property Assessment Website.

The City of Pittsburgh also offers these types of programs but with slightly different guidelines. Please go to http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/finance/html/forms-real_estate.html.

Tip: If you aren’t sure whether you’ve already applied for the Act 50 and Act 77 tax exemptions, check under the “General Information” tab for your property on the Allegheny County real estate website. There will be a “YES” in the Homestead line on the left side of the Web page if you already have an application on file.

December newsletter from the office of Councilman Patrick Dowd

NEWS AND UPDATES

Local Senior Centers Help Our Seniors All Year Round

Monday through Friday, at 15 senior centers throughout the City, those ages 60+ can enjoy a nutritious and satisfying meal with Citiparks while socializing with neighbors, friends and volunteers. District 7 boasts four senior centers: two related to Citiparks and two sponsored by the Catholic Youth Association. They are located in Lawrenceville (two centers – one at 4600 Butler Street and another at the Stephen Foster Center), Morningside (6944 Presidents Way) and Polish Hill (West Penn Rec Center). More…

Recently Presented Proclamations

11/10/11 – Stanton Heights native Gene A. Pietragallo, Jr, lead actor in and co-producer of the independent film The Encore of Tony Duran was presented with a proclamation declaring “Tony Duran Day” in the City of Pittsburgh. The film was winner of “Best Feature Film” at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, winner of “Audience Favorite” at the Tallgrass Film Festival, and winner of the Jury Prize for “Best Feature Film” at the Las Vegas Film Festival. More…

11/21/11 – Initially funded by the City’s Weed & Seed program, Unity Art is a partnership between Lawrenceville United and local artist Donnie Freyer among various other community partners. The Unity Art program ran six weeks on Sunday evenings and instructed 55 students in the various aspects of beginning photography and framing, more…

If you are aware of a milestone, event or person in your community that deserves special recognition, please email us and we’ll try to accommodate your suggestion.

PLEASE NOTE: Help District 7 Go Green!

We are currently preparing the 2011 Annual Report for distribution early in the new year. If you would like to receive only an electronic copy (not a mailed hard copy), please email Jennifer at jennifer.thoma@pittsburghpa.gov and provide your address so we can remove you from our “snail mail” list.

UPCOMING EVENTS AND MEETINGS

Council to Go
Join Councilman Patrick Dowd at Council to Go, his mobile district office, to voice your concerns, ideas, and questions about local government and services.

Bloomfield — (RESCHEDULED from November) Tuesday, December 6, 7pm-8pm – Crazy Mocha, 4525 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Lawrenceville – Friday, December 16, 7:30am-9am – Perk Me Up, 4407 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA  15201

Holiday Hours
Monday, December 26, Christmas Holiday observed – District 7 Office Closed
Monday, January 2, New Year’s Holiday observed – District 7 Office Closed

Community Events

Thursday, December 8 – Holiday Networking Mixer – Highland Park, Union Project, 801 N. Negley Avenue, 5:30pm. Free. Sponsored by Classic Events!

Friday, December 9 – BGC Annual Family Holiday Party – Garfield, BGC Community Activity Center, 113 N. Pacific Avenue, 6pm-8pm. Free.

Saturday, December 10 – Holiday Pottery Tour – Highland Park, all-day, self-guided tour. Celebration at the Union Project Studio, 7pm-11pm. Free. For more information and a map, please go to www.HighlandParkPotteryTour.wordpress.com

Sunday, December 11 – Merry Morningside – Morningside, Rep. Dom Costa’s Office, 6808 Greenwood Street, Caroling at 5pm; party at 6pm. Free.

If you know of any community-oriented events in your District 7 neighborhood that we should publicize through our monthly newsletter and District 7 website, please email jennifer.thoma@pittsburghpa.gov by the 1st of each month.

DID YOU KNOW?

There is a wide range of non-profit organizations that work hard to turn what is often the loneliest time of the year for some in our community into a happy holiday. You can help them help the needy with your gifts of time, money or donations of goods and/or services. Here is just a brief list of those organizations that need your help not only this holiday season, but all year round.

Community Human Services Holiday Gift Drive
East End Cooperative Ministries Christmas Gift Program
Goodfellows Toy Fund
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
Holiday Menorah Mitzvah
Light of Life Ministries
Presents for Patients
Toys for Tots
Treasures for Children

December newsletter from the Mayor's office

Dear Neighbors,

As the days become shorter and the temperatures continue to drop, it is clear that winter is fast approaching.  There are many joys that come along with the winter season – the holidays and the excitement of the first snow – yet winter can also be one of the most difficult times for many Pittsburgh residents. It is a time when our City’s culture of neighbors-helping-neighbors is most important to assist residents to overcome its hardships and enjoy the best that winter in our City has to offer.

Snow removal can be one of the most challenging aspects of winter and snow covered sidewalks can be hazardous for everyone. With Snow Angels, I aim to make snow removal less daunting for our elderly and physically-disabled residents. Along with fostering stronger community relationships, and relieving the elderly of the stress that comes from a snow storm, the Snow Angels initiative will also make our sidewalks safer for those who continue to serve despite the winter weather – such as postal service workers, firemen and police officers.

With this in mind, I am proud to announce a new program, Snow Angels, which will match willing volunteers with neighbors-in-need to shovel and de-ice their walks this winter season.  The Snow Angels program will be launching this November. For applications to volunteer or receive assistance, please visit snowangels.pittsburghpa.gov.

Snow Angels is one of my signature servePGH programs, which promote citizen service to impact local challenges. For more information, email servepgh@city.pittsburgh.pa.us or call the 311 hotline and ask about the program. If you are calling from outside the City of Pittsburgh, please call 412-255-2621.

Thank you to the countless Snow Angels who already assist their neighbors with snow removal. I appreciate the precedent that you have set for local residents, and I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to join a Pittsburgh-wide effort to keep our sidewalks clear after winter storms and provide your neighbors with the reassurance that their community cares.

Together, we can make this winter an enjoyable season for everyone!

Sincerely,
Luke Ravenstahl
Mayor, City of Pittsburgh

 

November newsletter from the office of Councilman Patrick Dowd

NEWS AND UPDATES

Vote “YES” for Our Libraries on November 8
As many of you know first-hand, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is one of our community’s most valued and trusted assets. The Carnegie Library helps young people learn and develop literacy skills beyond the school day, seniors continue their life-long learning, job-seekers find resources when they are applying for work or learning new skills. More…

Special Yard Debris Collection
City Environmental Services crews will hold a special fall yard debris collection on Saturday, November 12.  Properly packaged bagged leaves, tree branches, bushes, and pumpkins will be picked up and recycled for compost. More…

PLEASE NOTE

We are pleased to announce that the City has chosen Google Apps for its new email, calendar and contact platform. The transition from our former system will entail changing our email addresses. Our new District 7 email addresses will follow this format:   firstname.lastname@pittsburghpa.gov

During this time of transition there may be a few bumps in the road. Please feel free to email both of our addresses if you are inclined. Our former address that will be forwarded follows this format: firstname.lastname@city.pittsburgh.pa.us

If you do not hear back from us within a few days of writing to our former email addresses or new ones, please do not hesitate to try again or phone us at 412.255.2140. We are eager to hear from you.

UPCOMING EVENTS AND MEETINGS

Council to Go
Join Councilman Patrick Dowd at Council to Go, his mobile district office, to voice your concerns, ideas, and questions about local government and services.

Polish Hill — Wednesday, November 9, 7pm-8pm – Polish Hill Civic Association, 3060 Brereton Street

The Bloomfield and Highland Park Council to Go’s will be canceled due to the holiday.

Holiday Hours

Friday, November 11, Veteran’s Day – District 7 Office Closed

Thursday, November 24, Thanksgiving Day, and Friday, November 25 — District 7 Office Closed

Community Events

Check out Garfield’s new Pittsburgh CONNECTS center at Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation’s Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center at 5321 Penn Avenue. Some of the free and interesting programs they will be offering in November include:

Wednesday, November 2, 10am, Project for Freedom’s Job Readiness Training for people with disabilities

Monday, November 7, 3:30pm-5pm, Researching Candidates and Issues Online

Thursday, November 10, 5pm-6pm, Excel Training Class

Tuesday, November 15, 12noon-1pm, Free Computer Repair

Saturday, November 19, 10am-12:30pm, NeighborWorks Foreclosure Prevention Workshop

Friday, November 4 – Reblurred – 5 Neighborhoods, 1 Event – From intersection of Penn and Highland Avenues to Penn Avenue and 38th Street.

Thursday, November 17, 7pm — Lawrenceville Historical Society Free Lecture – Lawrenceville, McVey Auditorium of Canterbury Place, 310 Fisk Street. Explore the lives of Frances Slocum of Wyoming Valley and Massie Harbison of Allegheny River Valley.

Wednesday, November 30, 6pm-8pm – Tree Lighting – Lawrenceville, 47th and Butler Streets

If you know of any free community-oriented events in your District 7 neighborhood that we should publicize through our monthly newsletter and District 7 website, please email Jennifer.thoma@city.pittsburgh.pa.us by the 1st of each month.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, helps low-income families pay their heating bills.  LIHEAP is a grant that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.

Applications for the 2011-2012 LIHEAP season will be available beginning Nov. 1, 2011.  There are three different ways you can apply for LIHEAP–online, on paper, or in person.

1. You can apply for the LIHEAP benefits online by using COMPASS. COMPASS is the name of the website where you can apply for LIHEAP and many other services that can help you make ends meet.
2. Download an application for LIHEAP benefits by clicking on the links below (links will be available beginning November 1) and return it to your Allegheny County Assistance Office, or

English – Energy Assistance Application Spanish – Energy Assistance Application

3. File an application at your local county assistance office:  Allegheny County Assistance Office Headquarters,
Piatt Place , 301 5th Avenue, Suite 470, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Phone: 412-565-2146 LIHEAP (Cash Assistance)
412-562-0330 LIHEAP (Crisis Assistance)
800-851-3838, FAX: 412-565-3660

For more information, please contact the Allegheny County Assistance Office or the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095, Monday through Friday (individuals with hearing impairments may call the TDD number at 1-800-451-5886).

Mayor's August Newsletter

Dear Neighbors,

As August rolls around, many children and families will begin thinking about the upcoming school year. This summer, I’m asking you to give some thought to how you can help support Pittsburgh youth.

I believe that Pittsburgh’s future is in the hands of its young people. That’s why I’ve committed to serving as a middle-school mentor during the 2011-12 school year – and I want you to join me.

There are lots of great ways to get involved. One opportunity is through the Be A 6th Grade Mentor Program– the largest mentoring project in the region’s history. Simply by sharing your time, you can make a tremendous difference. In a recent study of mentoring relationships, youth with mentors were shown to get better grades, be less likely to get involved with drugs and 86% more likely to go to college.

Along with serving as a mentor myself, I recently established the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative to help grow youth mentoring efforts in our City. The Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative provides City employees with the opportunity to serve as middle-school mentors in partnership with the Be A 6th Grade Mentor Program. It is my hope that other businesses and corporations will follow my lead and make mentoring opportunities available to their employees as well.

For more information about the Be A 6th Grade Mentor project, please call 412-456-6770 or click on the link.  To learn about the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative, please call 412- 255-4765 or click here. You can find additional mentoring opportunities here.

July newsletter from the office of District 7 Councilman Patrick Dowd

NEWS AND UPDATES

Farmers Market Opening Postponed

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the opening of the new Farmers Market in Lawrenceville has been postponed until July 9, 9:30am. It will continue on Saturday from 9:30am-1pm through October. It will be located in the Goodwill parking lot near 52nd and Berlin Streets.

Should you have further questions or would like to volunteer to be part of this great community development, please contact Jennifer at Jennifer.thoma@city.pittsburgh.pa.us or 412.255.2140.

Allegheny Cleanways and Mennonite Youth to Clean Up Heth’s Run

Heth’s Run, a long-neglected dumping ground in the East End of Pittsburgh, will be getting a makeover on July 5-8, 2011.  Allegheny Cleanways and the Office of Councilman Patrick Dowd, along with other service organizations in the region, are working with the Mennonite Church USA Convention organizers to plan community service opportunities for the approximately 3,500-5,000 people attending the conference from July 4-9.  Read more…

Dialogue and Resolution Center to Attend Meetings in District 7

Beginning in July, the Dialogue and Resolution Center of the Center for Victims of Violent Crime will be our guest at meetings throughout District 7. The Dialogue and Resolution Center is a proactive violence prevention initiative dedicated to resolving conflicts peacefully. The DRC is the “front line” resource for resolving community conflicts such as: conflicts between neighbors, landlords and tenants, businesses and consumers, youth and adults, employers and employees. Read more…

UPCOMING EVENTS AND MEETINGS

COUNCIL TO GO

Join Councilman Patrick Dowd at Council to Go, his mobile district office, to voice your concerns, ideas, and questions about local government and services.

Polish Hill — Wednesday, July 13, 7pm – 8pm — Lili Coffee*Shop, 3138 Dobson Street

Bloomfield – Tuesday, July 26, 6pm – 7pm – Crazy Mocha Coffee Company, 4525 Liberty Avenue

Highland Park — Thursday, July 28, 7pm – 8pm – Enrico’s Tazza D’Oro, 1125 N. Highland Avenue

COMMUNITY EVENTS

Saturday, July 2, 12pm-10pm – 67th Annual Independence Day Celebration – Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville

Sunday, July 9, 11am-4pm – Doo Dah Days – Stephen Foster Music and Heritage Festival – Allegheny Cemetery, Lawerenceville

Thursday, July 14, 10am-1pm – Roving Art Cart coming to West Penn Community Center, Polish Hill

Saturday, July 16, 4pm – 9pm – Live at Leslie – Leslie Park Pool, Lawrenceville — A FREE, arts-and activity-packed daycation geared to14-18 yr olds. (But parents and everyone can experience the activities!)

Sunday, July 17, 12pm-9pm – Polish Hill Arts Festival — 3060 Brereton St., Polish Hill

Monday, July 25, 10am-1pm – Roving Art Cart coming to Joe Natoli Field, Morningside

Fridays through August 26, 2011, 7:30-10pm – Free Movies in Arsenal Park @ Dusk

If you know of any free community-oriented events in your District 7 neighborhood that we should publicize through our monthly newsletter and District 7 website, please email Jennifer.thoma@city.pittsburgh.pa.us by the 1st of each month.

DID YOU KNOW?

Stanton Heights is located east of Downtown, Pittsburgh in the heart of Council District 7. This close-knit, family-oriented and pet-friendly neighborhood appeals to those looking for a quiet and relaxed way of life. This neighborhood, set at the top of Stanton Avenue, has the character of a suburb – with new homes, quiet streets, and little to no traffic. Many City police officers and fire fighters call Stanton Heights home.
Read more…

 

Polish Hill Voice February 2011 edition is available

The February 2011 Polish Hill Voice is ready for your enjoyment. Following is the President’s letter.

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President’s letter

We’re past the midpoint of winter, when each day has a bit more light and thoughts of spring will soon be filling our minds. As we deal with the snow, ice and low temperatures, we begin to mentally plot our gardens and think about cleaning up our green spaces. Until garden plans and dreams have their season, let’s celebrate the current one.

Why celebrate winter? Ask any of the children taking a few moments to run and fall in the snow, or sledding down my favorite hill at West Penn. It may be hard to understand their answers through all the laughter. If one of the kids seems a little bigger than the
others … or you notice “Terry” written on his sled with magic marker, let me finish building my snowman before you ask why. Actually, it would be better if you just join in and figure it out as we go. It’s not my fault if you don’t remember that snowballs spontaneously
occur … just because. The best part of any season is embracing the changes it brings, and experiencing them by getting out and living.

Over a hot chocolate at Lili Coffee*Shop, the adult side of my mind begins to ponder. The seasons and their changes give the opportunity to reflect on past and present … and especially the futures we can explore and build together. My mind’s eye begins to
draw flowcharts as I assess programs, set schedules, anticipate outcomes, and create flexible “Plan B” options. Then, I look out the window. As I see friends walking with their children and their dog, a little something from Robert Frost creeps into my head: “The woods are lovely dark and deep but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

The reminder is this: Let your inner child out for a bit of winter fun! Find the best place to ride your sled. Build your snowman and begin to wonder if he will enjoy the garden view you’re envisioning.

Terry Doloughty
President
Polish Hill Civic Association

Polish Hill Voice November 2010 edition is available

The November 2010 Polish Hill Voice is ready for your enjoyment. The newsletter is available for download Following is the President’s letter.
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President’s letter

We are embarking on a time of preparation and planning here on Polish Hill. As the scope and pace of our neighborhood changes, the community has the opportunity to adjust and renew its focus. Through grant writing, and asking local businesses for support, the Polish Hill Civic Association has raised the funds necessary for a strategic community plan. We will work through the planning process with assistance from the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development. Having open community meetings combined with information gathered in recent years, we will be able to identify the issues and concerns our residents define as priorities. Keeping community consensus in mind, we will work with a professional firm to create a plan for Polish Hill. This focused approach will help us make the best use of time and resources to achieve our goals. Since the majority of our efforts are volunteer-based, with support from dedicated part-time staff, efficiency will be key to our success.

Every day we are taking steps to improve the quality of life in Polish Hill. Recently we collected twelve large boxes of household chemicals: paint, thinner, insecticide, varnish and weed killer were all disposed properly at Allegheny County’s disposal event. We will continue to lead initiatives on environmentally safe practices. The best thing we can do for future residents is to leave our community a little better than we found it.

Along with the daily, ongoing work we do at the PHCA, there is still time for friends and neighbors to gather. Our recent successes, including the PHCA yard sale on August 28, PARK(ing) Day on September 17, and the Polish Hill Flea Market on September 25, are proof that community building has its place alongside the bricks and mortar. Our connections to each other, and the network we form, is the living, breathing part of Polish Hill. The magic happens when our residents gather together — young and old, native and newcomer.

Looking back as well as looking forward, I see what we have accomplished and what is left to do. I am in my second term as President of the PHCA, still making contact with residents every chance I get. New challenges constantly arise, presenting great opportunities to learn and apply new skills. Some people may not realize that being president of the PHCA is a volunteer role. Working for the neighborhood is my continuing education and career. I just keep my day job to pay the bills.

Terry Doloughty
PHCA president

Polish Hill Voice August 2010 edition is available

The August 2010 Polish Hill Voice is off the press and ready for your enjoyment. The newsletter is available for download. Following is the President’s message.
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President’s message

As I write this, summer is in full swing on Polish Hill. Gardens are growing, and vegetables, flowers, and herbs are being traded around the neighborhood. Get out and enjoy a good long walk around Polish Hill. Try a walk down a street that you haven’t explored yet. Our community offers hidden little treasures. Through a space in a fence you may glimpse a garden with picture-perfect flowers. Perhaps it’s time for your own yard to become a treasure, a place to relax from the labors of the day. This is a wonderful time to get some dirt under your fingernails and break a sweat.

Just like we did last winter, take a moment to help out your neighbors. While you’re pulling weeds or cleaning up, go a few feet farther. These extra bits of effort really add up. If you fight the weeds a little each day, they will not spread as far next year. I have to remind myself that community improvements are a process, and the process takes time.

We all get a better place to live because of the people doing good works in our community. But we do need to take the time to enjoy what we have worked so hard to build. We have fantastic views from our hillsides. Pick out a good spot and take an occasional evening to view a few sunsets this season. We could all use more sunsets.

As we walk and bike through the neighborhood, there is more of a chance to encounter friends and neighbors. Our four-legged friends take their owners for long walks these days and are the facilitators of many a conversation.

With the opening of The Urban Gypsy, Lili Coffee Shop. Mind Cure Records and Copacetic Comics, we now have new spaces where our residents have an opportunity to gather. These new businesses give residents more destinations and entertainment options right here in Polish Hill, and provide a few of our residents the chance to live and work within their own community. I hope to see this trend continue. To all of our Polish Hill businesses owners, new and existing, I would like to extend a “thank you” for being here.

Late summer is also a time to fix up our homes and apartments. I encourage residents and property owners to take advantage of the materials that are available at Construction Junction in Point Breeze. You can save money and find quality materials to repair, renovate or redecorate your space. If you have leftover building supplies or architectural salvage, like old fireplaces, radiators, stair posts, and the like, please donate them to Construction Junction. Your leftovers could be exactly what someone else needs to finish their project. Along with saving money and keeping materials out of a landfill, there is always a thrill to finding something just a bit different for your home.

So take some late summer advice from a Polish Hill resident: add a few enjoyable items to that project list. Take a walk, go out and do some gardening, spend some time with friends, and enjoy our community.

Terry Doloughty

The photo of Terry was taken by Julie Gonzalez, whose black and white portraits of Polish Hill residents are on display at Lili Coffee Shop. Julie hopes to eventually photograph every resident of Polish Hill!

If you’d like to be included in this project, get in touch with us at phcapgh@gmail.com and we’ll let you know when the next photo session is planned.

August newsletter from Councilman Patrick Dowd's office

News and Updates

On Thursday, July 29, 2010, from 7pm-8:30pm, the Office of City Councilman Patrick Dowd will host a panel discussion at the Teamster Temple, 4701 Butler Street, Lawrenceville, regarding Marcellus Shale drilling and its impact on the urban environment. Doors open at 6:30pm to offer an opportunity for community members to collect information at tables hosted by relevant organizations. More information

Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, with Councilman Dowd as a co-sponsor, has recently introduced an amendment to the current City statute regarding how the positions on the Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB) are filled.

The central purpose of the CPRB amendment is twofold: to clarify and define the difference between a vacancy on the board (whenever a board member suddenly leaves their position due to death, move out of the city, etc.) and expiration of a member’s term. It will also serve to provide a more detailed timeline and guidelines for the appointment/reappointment process of board members. More information

For special note, City Council will be on recess and not meeting from August 3rd through August 26th. The District 7 office will have limited phone and office hours. Please leave a message in the event that we cannot directly answer your call and we will return it promptly.

Upcoming Events

Council to Go

Friday, August 20: 7:30 to 9:00am, Councilman Dowd and staff will be in Lawrenceville at Perk Me Up. 4407 Butler Street.

Thursday, August 26: 6:30 to 8:00pm, Councilman Dowd and staff will be at Morningside’s Morning Glory Coffeehouse, 1806 Chislett Street.

Community Events

Thursday, July 29, 6:30pm: Marcellus Shale Panel Discussion, Teamster Temple, 4701 Butler Street, Lawrenceville.

Every Sunday in August beginning Sunday, August 1, 5-7pm: Reservoir of Jazz, Highland Avenue & Reservoir Drive, Highland Park. Sponsored by Highland Park Community Club.

Every Sunday in August beginning Sunday, August 1, 7-8pm: Summer Soul Line Dancing, Highland Avenue and Reservoir Drive, Highland Park. Sponsored by the City of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, August 3: 27th Annual National Night Out is an annual celebration held around the country to raise awareness around issues of community building and crime prevention. Please look for the following events in District 7:

Lawrenceville Cookout, Leslie Park, 5-8pm. Sponsored by Lawrenceville United.

Porch parties, various times and locations in Friendship. Contact Emily at missesamick@yahoo.com for more information or to volunteer. Sponsored by the Friendship Preservation Group.

Tuesday, August 3, 6-7pm: Electronic Signs and Billboards Community Meeting, first floor conference room, John P. Robin Civic Building, 200 Ross Street, Downtown Pittsburgh.

August 6th -15th: Bike Pittsburgh’s Bike Fest 2010, various times and locations.

Tuesday, August 10th, 7-8pm: Zone 5 Public Safety Meeting, Union Project, 801 N. Negley Avenue, Highland Park.