Knotweed Knockout! (Saturday, October 22nd)

This month’s Knotweed Knockout event will overlap with the Pitt Make a Difference Day and we may have as many as 21 extra volunteers!
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On Saturday, neighborhood residents and volunteers affiliated with PHCA- Polish Hill Civic Association will undertake several tasks:

The plan: Break into Three Teams:

1) Street Cleanup crew: Volunteers will canvas the neighborhood on foot.
– 10-15 volunteers (Two teams)
– Collect debris & rubbish from public spaces!
– Recycle any recyclables
– Mark & 3-1-1 report any unsafe conditions using the “myBurgh” app on their mobile phone:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.qscend.report2gov.myburgh&hl=en

– Paint over any graffiti with gray cover

2) Monument Team:
– 7 volunteers
– Assist the Monument Committe in several maitenance task
– Handrail rust removal
– Touch up painting
– Plant any available bulbs/seeds we have donated.

3) Community Garden Team:
– 7 volunteers
– Clean out plots and clean any remaining produce
– Lanscaping cleanup of garden beds parallel to Harmar St
– Cold Frame gardening setup…

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NOTES:
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*) Rain or shine, we’re a go! Buckets of suns-creen for the gingers.
*) Wear heavy boots, high-vis clothing (Jackets provided)
*) Water/hydration will be provided — Bring a reuseable bottle !
*) Rally at the PHCA around 8:30 AM
*) Breakfast snacks & whitty-banter: coffee, croisant, danish, fruit etc.
*) Supplies handout from the PHCA (Bags, gloves, rain gear, etc.)
*) Designate teams (Rocks, paers, sizors – best out of three)
*) Safety Review / keep it classy
*) Off we go! (9:30 best guess )

Love Your Block: help fix up Maly Park on Saturday, May 16

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The PHCA was awarded a City of Pittsburgh Love Your Block grant to revitalize Maly Park, at the corner of Herron Avenue and Dobson Street. One of the requirements of the grant is that we need to bring out at least 20 volunteers. Please come out and help! Even if you can only work for an hour or two, that would be a big help.  We’ll be at Maly Park at 10:00 a.m.

Since we hope to have a large group of volunteers this day, we’ll take the opportunity to also do some maintenance at the parklet at Melwood and Finland Street as well.

If there are thunderstorms or lots of rain on May 16, we’ll postpone this volunteer day to May 30.  For more info, email valerie@phcapgh.org.

And while we’re on the topic of maintaining green space, here’s a reminder:  The morning of Saturday May 16 is also the City of Pittsburgh’s spring yard waste pickup.  Leave your bagged or bundled yard waste at the curb before 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  Here’s more information on what they will and won’t pick up.

Springtime brings green projects, volunteer opportunities

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With springtime comes the season for green projects, and the need for volunteers to help clean up the neighborhood and maintain green spaces.

On Friday April 24, we’ll be helping Tree Pittsburgh plant 100 restoration trees at the reforestation site on Brereton Street just below 30th Street (this is where the goats were brought in to clear vines last year). A group of corporate volunteers will be coming to help, but it would be great to have some help from residents too. Meet at the site at 10:00 a.m.

And Saturday April 25 is the neighborhood clean up, part of the city-wide Redd Up / Earth Day event. Meet at the PHCA office at 10:00 a.m. We’re also looking for people to lead volunteer teams to clean up different sites in the neighborhood.

Further ahead, on May 16 there will be a workday at Maly Park, at the corner of Dobson Street and Herron Avenue.  The PHCA won a grant from the City’s Love Your Block program to help fix up the park.  And on May 23, we’ll need help planting flowers in the beds at West Penn Park.

Starting in May, there will be weekly gardening sessions at the Edible Garden at West Penn, which raises produce which is donated to the Jubilee Pantry on Brereton Street.  There will also be a monthly workday at the Knotweed project site on Melwood Avenue.  For more information on green projects volunteer events, email valerie@phcapgh.org.

(Above:  flower planting at West Penn park, May 2014.  Photo by Valerie Testa.)

Now accepting vendor applications for the 2015 Polish Hill Arts Festival

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The eighth Polish Hill Arts Festival will take place on Sunday, July 19, and the application period is now open for people who wish to participate.  The festival includes artists and craft vendors, live music, food, and art and craft activities.  This is quirky, less traditional sort of arts festival.  It’s also an inclusive, family and kid-friendly event.

For vending: fill out the application and either email or send to us. Be sure to read and save page 2, the information sheet.

Application for artists and craftspeople

Application for food vendors

If your band or performance group would like to be considered:
Email leslie@phcapgh.org, and include links to your music (preferred), or mail a CD.

Artists or groups interested in presenting an activity or artwork should email leslie@phcapgh.org or send us a description of what you would like to do.

To volunteer or get more information: Call us at 412.681.1950 or email.

(Photo from the 2014 Polish Hill Arts Festival, by Leslie Clague)

 

Halloween plans — please join us!

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The PHCA has a couple of cool things planned for Halloween and we’re calling for residents to join us. Whether you are interested in helping with traffic calming efforts or just want a chance to show off a really great Halloween costume, we’ve got something for you.

On Thursday, October 30, we’ll be participating in the Bloomfield Halloween parade leading a group of Polish Hill residents and friends and a brass band including Lungs Face Feet and members of the May Day Marching Band.  This will be the third year we’ve participated in the parade and this year, we’d like to take an even bigger group to represent Polish Hill.  If you have kids who would like to be in a parade, you and your friends or family have an idea for a fun costume, a float, a drill team, or if you just want to come along and help hand out candy, we’d love to have you there.  It would be great to have Polish Hill really represent in the biggest and best nighttime parade in Pittsburgh!

And on Friday, October 31 the PHCA will be doing a traffic calming event from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. Volunteers will be handing out candy to safe drivers to remind them to slow down while passing through Polish Hill.  Volunteers will be stationed at Melwood and Finland and (if enough people volunteer) on Dobson street, either at Herron Avenue or at Hancock street.  We did this last year and got a really great response.  There will be a meeting for traffic calming volunteers at the PHCA office on Monday, Oct 20 at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on either the parade or the traffic calming, call us at 412.681.1950, or email leslie@phcapgh.org.

(Photo by Mark Knobil)

Volunteer now to help with the Three Rivers Film Festival

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This November, the Melwood Screening Room (just outside of Polish Hill at 477 Melwood Ave. in Oakland) is once again hosting the annual Three Rivers Film Festival (3RFF) along with the Harris Theater (Downtown), the Regent Square Theater (Regent Square), and Waterworks Cinemas (in the Aspinwall/Fox Chapel area).  The Festival, which is sponsored by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Dollar Bank will run November 7 – 22 and, as in past years, will screen an amazing variety of films – independent American cinema, sneak peeks, new documentaries, restored classics, a competitive shorts program, critically-acclaimed international films, and the new concept micro-cinemas. There will also be a wide assortment of related activities like visiting filmmakers, informal discussions, live music events, and micro-cinemas, as well as Opening Night and Closing Night parties.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers is now looking for volunteers to help with the festival.  If you’d like to be part of the Volunteer Committee or simply want to volunteer to help at the screenings in the theater of your choice, contact 3rffvolunteers@gmail.com.

For updates on the festival, keep your eyes on future editions of this publication, check the festival website (3rff.com) from time to time, and “like” the festival on Facebook (3RFF).

Above:  still from Duane Michals:  The Man Who Invented Himself (2013), screening on Tuesday, November 19.  

Volunteers come out to clean up and maintain green spaces on the east side of Polish Hill

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Ten hardy volunteers came out on Saturday to tend green spaces and pick up trash on the eastern side of the neighborhood.  An earlier date for this cleanup was cancelled due to weather.

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Weather was no problem on Saturday — it was brilliantly sunny and very warm.   First, volunteers weeded and cleaned up the parklet at Melwood Avenue and Finland Street.  They picked up trash  and cut vines that were choking trees on the hillside by the Melwood steps.

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The next stop was the Knotweed Knockout site, then Gold Way.  Volunteers also took the opportunity to clear some vegetation that blocked the sidewalk.

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Finally, picking up trash and clearing vegetation on the Apolo steps.

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Thanks to everyone who came out to help — it looks great!  The next cleanup and green space maintenance day will be on August 9.  For more information, email valerie@phcapgh.org.

Call for volunteers: help plant flowers at West Penn Park on May 27

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It’s that time of year again:  time to turn the hillside below West Penn Park into a vibrant display of annual color.  The Green Team needs help getting hundreds of these flowers in the ground.  This relaxed volunteer event is kid friendly, and it’s a great way to meet neighbors.  It’s also satisfying to watch the flowers you planted grow during the season.

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Volunteers should meet at 5:30 p.m. on the  corner of 30th and Brereton streets.  Gloves and tools will be provided.  For more information, email valerie@phcapgh.org.

(Above:  flower planting volunteers in 2012.  PHCA photo.)

Volunteer opportunity: learn the skills to help clear illegal dump sites

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Interested in a volunteering opportunity that gets you outside and provides a workout?   Allegheny Cleanways’ Dumpbusters program has cleared illegal dumpsites all over the city (including in Polish Hill), and they are always looking for more volunteers.  This is hard physical work, often on steep hillsides, and it requires some training and experience.

Urban EcoStewards, a partnership of several organizations, is offering a classroom workshop Saturday at REI, 412 S. 27th St., South Side, will be followed March 8 by a field practicum at a site still to be determined.  Trainees will learn how to assess a site, plan a strategy and organize a team to clear it.  This sort of preparation is necessary for the difficult work of removing large and often very heavy objects out of ravines.  Both the workshop and the field practice are free, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  To register, visit www.pittsburghparks.org/uestrainings.

For more information about the program and the problem of illegal dumping in Pittsburgh, read this article by Diana Nelson-Jones in the Post-Gazette.

Stair stewards needed!

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The Polish Hill Stair Stewards program was created to keep our City steps clear of ice and snow.  The agreement with the City is that if we can find a neighborhood volunteer to assume stewardship of a set of city steps, City crews will provide a salt box at the site and keep it filled.  Currently, four sets of City steps in Polish Hill have stair stewards:  Fleetwood, Harding, Apollo, and at the monument.  But the two most-used sets of City steps, Dobson-Herron and Downing-Herron, don’t currently have stewards after their former caretakers moved away.

So we’re putting out the call.  If someone who lives near either of these steps wants to help make the neighborhood safer for pedestrians, and has the energy to climb and shovel, please get in touch.  Call 412.681.1950, or email us.

(Above:  the former stewards of the Dobson-Herron steps, Jen Kirk and Patrick Singleton, in 2011.  Jen and Patrick moved to Portland Oregon, and are much missed.  Photo by Mark Knobil)