Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #12: Pittsburgh union progress

Stranger Things star in Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh cops AWOL; microplastics everywhere

brian conway photo.

In solidarity with striking Pittsburgh Newspaper Guild members, the Pittsburgh Independent will no longer link to Post-Gazette news articles until the strike is resolved. In the meantime, maybe read The Rooster’s profile of the weirdo Block family that owns the PG, and definitely read the Pittsburgh Union Progress strike paper. (Also consider a donation to the Newsguild strike fund.)

City cops AWOL. A police presence was requested, but never materialized, at a recent Brighton Heights funeral at which two men opened fire, wounding six. “We regret that [city police] did not provide the presence asked of us on a difficult day,” acting Chief Thomas Stangrecki said in a statement. Mayor Ed Gainey, in a strongly worded press release, said that strong police-community relations are integral to peace in Pittsburgh: “We can’t expect to win the trust of our communities if we don’t respond to the call.”

Community mourns activist’s death.  Community organizer and activist Celeste Scott passed away suddenly this week, City Paper’s Jordana Rosenfeld reports . Tweeted Mayor Gainey: “Celeste was not only a tireless advocate for affordable housing – resulting in the creation of Pittsburgh’s Housing Opportunity Fund – but a celebrated community leader known for her kindness and generosity,” 

Presidents stump in Pittsburgh. Former President Obama will be in Oakland Saturday to rally for Democratic Senate candidate, John Fetterman. Also Saturday, former President Trump will appear at a rally in Latrobe for the Republican candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz. RELATED: Et tu, Oprah? Oprah Winfrey endorses Fetterman over Oz, the man whose career she helped launch.

Red carpet rollout. The stars were out at the August Wilson Center Wednesday to celebrate Dear Zoe, “the big-screen adaptation of Pittsburgh native Philip Beard’s 2005 novel that was shot throughout Western Pennsylvania in 2019,” reports Joshua Axelrod for the Union Progress. In attendance were lead actress, Sadie Sink, whose popularity surged after playing Max Mayfield in Stranger Things.

AIPAC attacks. After fruitlessly spending over $1 million against her in the primary, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is once again dumping money into PA’s 12th Congressional District race, opposing the progressive Democratic candidate, Summer Lee. The Intercept reports that Democratic consultants are cashing in on this $1.2 million spend. 

RELATED: Some 250 Jewish Pittsburghers signed an open letter opposing AIPAC’s ad buy – “Clearly, their definition of ‘extreme’ is completely opposite to that held by the majority of American Jews—who worry about the stark rise in antisemitism and white nationalism in our state and in our country.”

Microplastics everywhere.  Even Pennsylvania’s cleanest waterways can’t escape plastic pollution. WLVR’s Jay Bradley reports on a new PennEnvironment report that found microplastics in each of the 50 pristine waterways they tested. 

Pittsburgh stands with Puerto Rico. For WESA, Bill O’Driscoll previews this Friday’s Puerto Rican disaster relief benefit concert at Mr. Smalls. Performers include Hugo Cruz and Caminos, Gavas Beat, Puerto Rican drag queen Jezebel Sagardia and many more. 

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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.