What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week | Blogh

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

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Here's what's going down in Pittsburgh:

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1. (T)ERROR, a documentary about an counterterrorism investigation in Pittsburgh aired Monday night on PBS' Independent Lens.  In (T)ERROR, Saeed “Shariff” Torres becomes an FBI informant and is tasked to ferret out, befriend and aid with the conviction of a "person of interest" in Pittsburgh. The film quickly reveals the inherent risks of using paid informants. It can still be viewed on the Independent Lens website.

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PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
2. Uber detailed some of its plans, during a Tuesday night meeting, to lease and develop parts of the Almono site — the former LTV coke-works site — which sits along the Monongahela River in Hazelwood. The site would be used for testing self-driving cars for 3 to 5 years. The project was generally well received by the meeting crowd, but some residents expressed doubt about how the development would benefit the community.

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PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • Photo by Ashley Murray
3. Computer Reach, a nonprofit that refurbishes computers for under-served communities, is donating 250 computers to Colombia en Pittsburgh to be distributed to low-income Latino families this Sat., Feb. 27, at the St. Regis Parish in Oakland. City Paper reported the story in English, but Spanish audio is available here: Escuchar articulo en Espanol.

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4. Pittsburgh Opera's
27, about Gertrude Stein’s famed Paris artists’ salon, is wrapping up this weekend. The final showings are 7:30 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. Sun., Feb. 28. City Paper arts editor Bill O'Driscoll writes in his review, "With just five performers accompanied by two pianists, the feel of this 100-minute show is intimate."

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5. Activist groups released a report this week, finding that a disproportionate number of low-income minority Pennsylvanians live within one-mile evacuation zones, or "blast zones," of oil-train routes. In the case of Pittsburgh, the report's authors found that 70 percent of Pittsburgh's "vulnerable" low-income minority communities — or, "environmental justice" communities — live within a blast zone. According to the report, blast zones in Pittsburgh make up 18 percent of the land mass.

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PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
6. The Pittsburgh Public Market will shut its doors after this weekend. General manager Rich Westerfield told City Paper last month that the building's landlord would not renew the market's lease but that management was looking for a new space. But last week he told WESA-FM that the market in its current form will not exist again in the future. On tap for its last weekend: a forum about shopping locally, live music, a food truck roundup, and the Pittsburgh Fermentation Festival.

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7. TEDxPittsburgh
is seeking speaker nominations for its next event. TEDx is a locally organized spinoff of the nonprofit TED, which stands for "Techonology, Education, Design" and holds two annual international conferences that feature various speakers. This year's TEDxPittsburgh's theme is "Activate," and a press release says the organization is seeking speakers "who have taken a spark of inspiration and ignited others to change." The deadline is Monday.

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On our podcast:

PHOTOS BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • Photos by Ashley Murray
In this week’s podcast episode, host Alex Gordon talks shop with City Paper’s senior staff in a no-so-conventional place. Producer Ashley Murray rides along with a Pittsburgh Uber driver to find out why he and others are disappointed with the company. (For more on that, check out our in-depth look at Uber in Pittsburgh.) And, columnist and food adventurist Celine Roberts walks along the South Side Soup Contest route. Find out which soup was her favorite.


On our cover: 

PHOTO COURTESY OF PAT LEWIS
  • Photo courtesy of Pat Lewis
Pat Lewis is a freelance cartoonist and illustrator from the North Side who has worked on Pittsburgh City Paper cover illustrations for the past five years.  This week he created the cover and artwork for our news feature about Uber's two-year anniversary in Pittsburgh and drivers' frustrations with the multibillion-dollar company. In our Q&A, Lewis talks about his most recent City Paper cover and what it's like to be an artist in Pittsburgh.


On our political blogs:

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On our PolitiCrap blog this week, we report on nonprofit professional Aerion Abney's withdraw from the Pennsylvania House race for the 19th Legislative District — a seat which Democratic Rep. Jake Wheatley has held since 2003. Rep. Wheatley is left with one challenger, social worker Jessica Wolfe, who this week bought Wheatley's old campaign website domain names and is using them to post not-so-flattering stories about the incumbent. Two of the websites now redirect to Wolfe's campaign website and another redirects to a May 2012 KDKA-TV article about a domestic violence incident involving Wheatley and his then-fiancee.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary race, former U.S. Congressman and Navy Admiral Joe Sestak visited the University of Pittsburgh to discuss how the melting polar ice caps in the Arctic present a potential new battleground in the race for nations to reach natural resources.


From the pages of our print edition:

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Democratic U.S. Senate candidates vying for a primary win and a chance to take Republican Sen. Pat Toomey's seat explain their stances on fracking in this week's installment of our Senate-race coverage. Here's where the candidates stand:

Former U.S. Congressman and Navy Admiral Joe Sestak: Says he supports a moratorium until: Protections for the environment and people’s public health are established; oversight agencies are properly staffed; and a severance tax of 4.5 percent to 5 percent is put in place.

Former state DEP secretary Katie McGinty: 
Backs a severance tax, citing the proposal she worked on as chief of staff for Gov. Tom Wolf, which called for a 5 percent tax and an additional 4.7 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas. She says the money raised from the taxes should go toward funding public education. She is not calling for a fracking moratorium.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman:
Calling for a severance tax of 5 to 7 percent. He believes the revenue generated by this tax should go toward funding public education. The Mon Valley mayor says he also wants to see an increase in the number of state enforcement officers.

Allegheny County small-businessman Joe Vodvarka: Did not specify whether he is in favor of a severance tax, a moratorium or increased enforcement. However, he did mention a “concern for our watershed” should be kept in mind.

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