Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #17: five makes nine

Pittsburgh news for people who might not read the news every day, but would still like to know what's going on.

Supporters of Barb Warwick at a campaign kickoff rally in May, 2022. Now, she represents District 5 in City Council. Photo by Brian Conway.

Workers voice steel’s history: Bruce Spiegel’s new documentary, “City of Steel,” traces the rise and decline of Pittsburgh’s steel industry through the voices of the workers who made it happen. The documentary is available to stream for free on City of Steel website. Bill O’Driscoll reports for WESA.

Oz can’t find a job: Former PA senate candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, is having trouble finding work. Sources say Oz had positive meetings with Fox News and Newsmax, but he’s “too toxic” for a mainstream TV show. “He wants a daily gig. But it is not going to happen.” RadarOnline has the story.

Pitt faculty protest: Some 75 staff members rallied outside Provost Ann Cudd’s office to protest “stagnant job security talks” ahead of a December 14 bargaining session. Pitt’s chief academic officer did not meet the protesters, but listened to their demands through an intercom. Bill Schackner reports for the Trib, as does Jack Troy for Pitt News.

Freedom Corner renovations: Located at the corner of Centre Avenue and Crawford Street in the Hill District, Freedom Corner has long been a meeting point for Pittsburgh’s Black community and allies to meet for social justice marches and other rallies. A July car crash caused cracks and damage to the nameplate. Now, $150,000 has been budgeted for repairs, scheduled to be completed by next summer. Jon Moss reports for the Union Progress.

Wildflowers at risk: A new study from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History determines that increased temperatures from climate change and a shift in light access are putting North American wildflowers at risk, moreso than those in Europe and northeast Asia. Jillian Forstadt reports for WESA.

Housing Pittsburgh’s unhoused: Barriers both big and small prevents Pittsburgh’s growing homeless community from finding stable longterm housing. Jordana Rosenfeld has the humanizing tale for the City Paper.

302s on the rise: In a follow-up to the rise in involuntary psychiatric commitments, a new article explores the role that police play in such “302” petitions where a person deemed a danger to themselves or others is confined against their will. Last year, “police filed 63% more 302 petitions than in 2015 — at least twice the growth logged by other petitioner groups.” Amelia Winger reports for PublicSource.

Downtown renovation stagnates: Four years and $40 million dollars later, 420 Boulevard of the Allies is still far from completion. Purchased by the Peduto administration, the former Arts Institute location was designed to be a “one-stop shop for all manner of city services.” For now, the Urban Redevelopment Authority is one of the only agencies to relocate to the new location. Construction will not be completed by next summer “at the earliest.” Andy Sheehan reports for KDKA.

Maple House sues producers: Local billionaire Thomas Tull’s Maple House Music Festival is suing Ohio-based Elevation Festivals for allegedly not telling Maple House about increased production costs until after the event, and keeping profits for itself. Law360 has the story (paywall). Or, read the complaint here.

Striking journalists urge solidarity: After another round of bad-faith negotiating by the Blocks, members of the Newspaper Guild report that over 120 groups and individuals have signed onto a solidarity pledge, including local politicians, labor organizations and more. The pledge includes three components: To not speak with the Post-Gazette until striking workers’ demands are met; to subscribe to the Pittsburgh Union Progress; and to cancel their subscriptions to the Post-Gazette until workers’ demands are met. View the solidarity pledge here.

District 5 makes nine: Newly elected councilmember Barb Warwick was sworn in to City Council Monday morning, filling the vacancy left when councilmember Corey O’Connor accepted an appointment to Allegheny County controller. Warwick, who rose to prominence during her advocacy against the Mon-Oak Connector shuttle, said “We do need to build the Hazelwood Green, but we need to do it in a way that includes the surrounding communities.” Read it in the Independent.

Fogel’s family speaks: The family of Marc Fogel (the Oakmont teacher whose plight we covered in LWPNT #9) is hopeful that he’s the next prisoner to be released by Russia. His incarceration due to cannabis is remarkably similar to that of WNBA player Brittney Griner. Julia Zenkevich reports for WESA.

Note: In solidarity with striking Newspaper Guild workers, the Pittsburgh Independent will not share news articles from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Follow the striking workers’ news coverage at the Pittsburgh Union Progress.

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He is a 2x 2023 Western PA Press Club Golden Quill award winner, in feature and business reporting. And a 3x finalist in the investigative reporting category.

He is a 2018 first prize winner in environmental reporting from the Keystone Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for reporting on lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water.

In 2022 and 2021, he was awarded a grant from The Gumshoe Group to support his investigative reporting.