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Homewood 2014: A bumpy start

Posted by Elwin Green on January 30, 2014 at 7:00 PM

For lovers of Homewood, the year 2014 has gotten off to a dramatic, intriguing, challenging start.


On January 6, Homewood artist and poet Vanessa German thrilled attendees at Mayor Bill Peduto's inauguration with a spoken word piece that brought the audience at Heinz Hall to their feet, and that made me, watching it with my wife on TV, want and wish to be the kind of neighbor, the kind of Pittsburgher, that she describes.  


Ms. German followed that up with the opening of an exhibit, "Citizen Artist," at the Conceept Art Gallery in Regent Square on January 9. The exhibit will run through February 8.


On January 10, I joined Kevin Amos, of Morningstar Productions, and Andrew W. Thornhill, of Thornhill & Studio in presenting "29 Tablets," a symposium to discuss the possibility of establishing a facility in Homewood for the assembly of tablet computers. The event, held on the second floor of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Homewood branch, drew a diverse group that included residents, government officials - State Rep. Ed Gainey and Mayor Bill Peduto - media and other interested parties.


As one of the people behind the event (I also served as moderator), I was glad to see that the New Pittsburgh Courier, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Tribune-Review all provided the coverage - partly because it's good to have mainstream media coverage of productive activity in Homewood, but mainly because their coverage would lack my bias. This is what they wrote (both the Post-Gazette and the Tribune-Review mentioned the symposium in roundup stories about Mayor Peduto's first week in office):

 

 

 

WESA FM also interviewed Andrew and me for the broadcast of "Essential Pittsburgh" that aired just an hour before the event. (Thanks to Terry Glueck of Innovation Works for connecting us!) 


On January 11, Vanessa German led a "Citizen Artist Parade" from her Hamilton Avenue home to Concept Art Gallery .


On January 14, Deb Gross, Councilwoman for PIttsburgh 7th District, proposed legislation for the creation of a land bank that could acquire and resell tax-delinquent properties in the City. If passed, this legislation could have a significant impact on Homewood, where more than half of the real estate parcels are tax-delinquent. In an article in the New Pittsburgh Courier, Homewood's Councilman, the Rev. Ricky V. Burgess - who offered his own land bank legislation in 2012 that was not passed - expressed concern that Gross' proposal may result in the fulfillment of many Homewoodians' long-held "fear that someone could steal their land." 


On January 16, the Citizens Police Review Board held a hearing on the arrest of Dennis Henderson, the schoolteacher who was arrested last June shortly after leaving a meeting being held at Community Empowerment Association. I was a witness, and will share my observations in a separate post. Meanwhile, here's the Post-Gazette's report. 


While the hearing was in progress, Homewood became the site of the first homicide of 2014, when 28-year-old Frederick Douglas, of Homewood, was gunned down on Kedron Street. 


Finally, there's the continuing saga of Jordan Miles, the viola-playing high school student who was arrested and beaten by Pittsburgh police officers four years ago while walking home in Homewood. On January 27, Miles' case took a new turn when attorneys Bryan Campbell and Robert Leight filed a motion to have new evidence admitted in a civil trial to be held in March. The motion, filed on behalf of officers Michael Saldutte and David Sistak, requests the admission of ammunition and a gun magazine that were found in the yard where the officers tackled Mr. Miles, then 18.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Categories: Citizenship and Governance, Real Estate, Economics and Wealthbuilding

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2 Comments

Reply Denise Johnson
11:05 AM on January 31, 2014 
vanessa german gave a presentation yesterday at Concept Gallery. I went but I was late due to a meeting of the UCCP book clubs at the Homewood Library. I got to the Gallery in time to catch the last part of her presentation (a reprise of the aforementioned Inauguration piece). The place was JAM-PACKED; it was a rainbow nation of people mesmerized by her performance, again garnering a standing O. I trotted upstairs to peep her work and, as usual, it's profound, provocative, and full of awe as you start thinking about the process of creating these amazing pieces from discarded, everyday items. If you casually think "Oh I can do that" you would be deluding yourself. Appearance can be deceiving and that is the beauty of vanessa's work; you're see one thing while looking at another. It's all open to interpretation... what's yours?
Reply Smithd9
12:39 PM on May 9, 2014 
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In October 2005, after a bullet came through his living room window, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Elwin Green began writing "My Homewood," the first blog on the P-G's website. For 4 1/2 years, "My Homewood" shared stories of tragedy and beauty, of perplexity and hope - stories that live again in "The Homewood Chronicles."

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