Weird Pittsburgh: Cat cafés, joyrides, acts of God and zumba-less senior citizens | Weird Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Weird Pittsburgh: Cat cafés, joyrides, acts of God and zumba-less senior citizens

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Sometimes it seems cats are the only thing universally liked on the internet. However, a former New York City couple opening a “cat café” in Pittsburgh has become the subject of spite and vitriol online. According to the website NEXTpittsburgh, Sue and Erik Hendrickson plan to open Colony Café in Shadyside. Like similar cafés across the world, the spot will allow visitors to have a coffee or alcoholic beverage and interact with felines. At Colony Café, the cats will be provided by the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and up for adoption. Some local cat-lovers are taking issue with the Hendricksons’ timing: Two current Pittsburghers crowd-sourced this summer with their own hopes of opening the city’s first cat café. Olivia Ciotoli and Indigo Baloch, both in their 20s, raised $20,000 on Kickstarter for their Black Cat Market (which would host adoptable cats from Animal Friends). The two make for underdogs when compared to Sue and Erik Hendrickson, former corporate-communications professionals who relocated to Pittsburgh to pursue their business. Commenters on NEXTpittsburgh called the Hendricksons a “bourgie fucking rich couple” and “yuppie turds.” Another wrote: “MAYBE YINZ SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN NYC AND STARTED A STUPID BUTT CAFE, IT WOULD HAVE MADE A LOT MORE SENSE.” The Facebook page of Colony Café has gotten several one-star reviews, since balanced out by five-star ratings by the Hendricksons’ friends and supporters. Of course none of the reviewers have patronized the business, as it has not yet opened.

In denying a claim for flood damage, an insurance company found itself in the awkward position of telling a church its wrecking was an “act of God.” Though it seemed safe from floods atop a hill, the Connellsville Church of God was engulfed in a recent storm. Flooding collapsed a wall and sent water rushing in, causing extensive damage. The nondenominational church has a policy with Church Mutual Insurance, which specializes in covering religious institutions. Rev. Nelson Confer told WTAE the company, arguing the damage was an “act of God,” is refusing to pay the claim. The term is insurance jargon for a natural event that could not have been foreseen or prevented, and therefore couldn’t have been factored into a risk assessment, though it sounds particularly odd and theologically judgmental when applied to a house of worship. The church is depending on volunteers and its own resources for repairs.

Zumba, yoga and water aerobics are no longer on offer at many of Westmoreland County’s 13 senior centers due to a federal-government mandate. Come October, the U.S. Administration for Community Living will fund only “evidence-based” programs, specifically shown in peer-reviewed journals to improve health, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Although it would seem obvious that any kind of regular moderate exercise has health benefits, this means Westmoreland County’s Area Agency on Aging, which is largely subsidized by the feds, can no longer offer popular fitness classes like Zumba and SilverSneakers, which haven’t made it into the annals of scientific research. Some senior centers might start charging for these classes or use scant state money for a class or two. The government will still fund two classes: Healthy Steps for Older Adults and Chronic Disease Self-Management. An Area Agency on Aging official said that neither class is very popular.

Zelienople police received reports of activity at a construction site late at night. As two accomplices ran, officers found an “intoxicated” Alex R. Meza behind the wheel of a bulldozer, according to an arrest report. Meza, 25, allegedly admitted to taking the machine on a “joyride,” reports the Cranberry Eagle. (The article did not specify how he entered or started the vehicle.) Contractors later said they found a concrete basin knocked over, and damage to road signs and copper water lines, putting the cost of the alleged drunken debauchery at $5,446.

The Dutch Pantry Family Restaurant, near Dubois, is seeking the return of a mounted bear head that hung above the entrance to the restrooms. Someone likely stole it during business hours while the staff’s attention was elsewhere. Owner Tom Larson told the Courier Express newspaper that anyone in possession of the head can return it with “no questions asked.”

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with burglarizing a woman’s home in New Oxford, Adams County, while she was on vacation. PennLive.com reports that the teen allegedly made off with money, jewelry and “adult toys.”


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