Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #10: the fight for eastern hemlocks

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

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Summer is long. The Pirates keep losing. Joe Biden was in West Mifflin for Labor Day. Here’s some Pittsburgh news you may have missed amid the dogs days of summer.

Henry Reese speaks out.  The City of Asylum director, injured in the assassination attempt on the novelist, Salman Rushdie, wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times. His words in support of persecuted writers echoed sentiments he conveyed to WESA, the Guardian and others: “Every city should offer refuge to writers and artists.” Rushdie survived the stabbing but suffered “life-changing injuries” in the attack.

Another death prompts ACJ review: PINJ reports that last month, hours after the fifth inmate death at Allegheny County Jail this year, the County Executive’s office announced a contract with National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) “to conduct a ‘historical review of fatalities’” at the county jail. The $700,000 contract, signed with CDI Architects, includes a process with community meetings and an explicit goal “to reduce the jail’s population by half or more.”

Fight for the Eastern Hemlock.  Pennsylvania’s state tree, which can live up to 500 years or more, is under attack from two invasive species that can kill one hemlock in just four years. Cook Forest remains the last, best place to see groves of mature Eastern Hemlock in the state.

Nutting guts Aspen newspaper. Fresh off his purchase of Wigle Whiskey, The Atlantic explores how Pirates billionaire owner, “Bottom-Line” Bob Nutting and others are “bleeding dry” the 141-year-old Aspen Times.

Voter rolls surge with women.  PA women are flocking to register to vote for some reason, overwhelmingly as Democrats, mirroring a trend seen nationwide.

Penguins keep juggling developers. Mark Belko reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins, again, are changing developers for the former Civic Arena site. It’s been over 15 years since the Igloo came down, and not much of anything has developed. Says the PG editorial board: “it’s downright scandalous, and it needs an independent investigation by the City Controller’s office.”

Public radio workers to unionize. Content creators with 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP declared their intent to unionize with SAG-AFTRA. The City Paper’s Jamie Wiggan reports that management “will not voluntarily recognize a union,” and that ownership “disputed SAG-AFTRA’s claim that a ‘supermajority’ of workers’ delivered a signed petition request to management before going public.”

Michael Lamb makes moves. In a press release, City Controller Michael Lamb declared that he will not seek re-election in 2023.  Sources indicate Lamb is gearing up for a run at Allegheny County Chief Executive, though no official announcement has been made.

Check your license plate.  Last but not least: a recent appellate court ruling means that having the Pennsylvania state website obscured on your license plate is pretext for a traffic stop. Read that again: even if your license plate number is completely visible, having the “PA.gov” portion of your license plate covered by a frame is cause for the police to pull you over.