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Enduring Lessons From The Pittsburgh And Flint Water Crises

Eight years ago, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan began, the effects of which linger today. The nation was shocked to see a city fail so spectacularly to meet its most basic responsibility to provide safe water to its citizens. Unfortunately, Flint is not alone. According to a 2020 Natural Resources Defense Council analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data, nearly 30 million people in the U.S. drink from unsafe water systems. The rate is significantly elevated in communities of color. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania water system was one of them. As in Flint and other cities, structural racism, chronic disinvestment, and economic austerity meant that Pittsburgh’s communities of color were most impacted by the failing water systems. Entering the 2000s, Pittsburgh’s water infrastructure was in dire need of repair and modernization.

Police Use Violence On Protesters Against Police Violence

A group of protesters gathered again Wednesday evening at the Point Breeze home of Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto to protest the snatching of a protest marshal off the street over the weekend by heavily armed police officers in an unmarked white van. This was the second consecutive night of protests. On Tuesday evening, an even larger crowd showed up at Peduto’s front door and spent the night until they were ordered by Police to leave at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. A different scene unfolded Wednesday evening though, as the group was met by Peduto sitting on his front porch, waiting to talk.

Residents Shout Down Oil And Gas Execs Over Fracking At US Steel Mill

Tensions ran hot Wednesday night during a community meeting about proposed fracking at the site of U.S. Steel's Edgar Thomson Steel mill in Braddock, 10 miles east of downtown Pittsburgh. Approximately 200 residents jammed into the rowdy meeting, held in a fire hall bedecked with electronic bingo boards and folding chairs. Dozens lined up at a microphone to tell representatives from U.S. Steel, Merrion Oil and Gas, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection exactly what they thought of the fracking plan.

Protesters Block Expressway After Officer Who Shot Antwon Rose Granted Bail

Protesters shut down a portion of the Tri-Boro Expressway outside Pittsburgh on Thursday after the officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Antwon Rose was released on bail. East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld shot Rose, who was unarmed, three times, including once in the back as the teen fled a traffic stop on June 19. Rosfeld, 30, was charged with criminal homicide and released on a $250,000 bail on Wednesday, despite opposition from prosecutors, according to The New York Times.  About 85 people blocked an area of the Tri-Boro Expressway, demanding Rosfeld’s bail be revoked, Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie Downs told HuffPost. “[The police] are allowing them to proceed right now, as they are peaceful in the area in they are in, as the police are able to divert traffic around them,” she said.

Officer In Antwon Rose Shooting Charged With Homicide

The suburban Pittsburgh police officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Antwon Rose was charged Wednesday with criminal homicide. East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld shot Rose, who was unarmed, three times, including once in the back, on June 19 as the teen fled a car that had been stopped by police, according to the criminal complaint filed against the officer. Rosfeld had been sworn into the police department just hours earlier. The officer surrendered Wednesday after the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office filed the charge against him, NBC News reported. He was released on bond, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. DA Stephen Zappala said at a news conference Wednesday that Rosfeld’s use of deadly force was unjustified because Rose was neither armed nor a fleeing felon.  “You can’t take somebody’s life under these circumstances,” Zappala said...

Breathless: Pittsburgh’s Asthma Epidemic And The Fight To Stop It

Asthma plagues children in Allegheny County—and air pollution is making it worse. How bad is it? With data lacking, a pediatrician and her colleagues set out to put a number on the problem. Testing more than 1,200 elementary school students, they found that 22 percent of kids in the region have asthma. At the state level, just 10 percent of kids have asthma. The national average? Eight percent. And there were consistently higher rates of asthma among kids living close to the region's big industrial polluters. We're going beyond the numbers. Meet the children who get pulled from school or football practice because they cannot catch their breath, and the concerned parents trying to give their kids a normal, healthy life.

Pittsburgh Police Prepare For Possible Riots If Trump Fires Mueller

Pittsburgh police have issued a memo to department detectives to prepare for possible protests should President Trump fire special counsel Robert Mueller.  The memo, issued by Victor Joseph, commander of the Pittsburgh bureau of police, instructed detectives to begin wearing a full uniform and carrying riot gear “until further notice”. “There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing,” the emails states. “The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice,” the memo read and was issued based on “information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District”. The police department appeared to be acting on information gathered from a group, Nobody is Above the Law, that has been preparing for demonstrations should the president move to fire Mueller.

East Pittsburgh Creates Path For Sustainable Economic & Green Community

By Pamela Boyce Simms for Grassroots Economic Organizing - The cast of characters assembled on vacant lots in Larimer, an East Pittsburgh neighborhood. A fiery community champion, the barons of the local political machine, real estate wizards behind the curtain, well-meaning outsider technical allies, residents (some savvy, others, unfortunate sheep), and a homegrown wolf on the prowl among them, were all there. The players who animate urban revitalization, renewal, or gentrification, by any name, are familiar.

Residents Fight Back Against Pittsburgh’s Privatized Water Authority

By Aaron Miguel Cantú in TruthOut - On June 24, dozens of Millvale residents have gathered in a community space to learn about a class-action lawsuit recently filed on their behalf against the PWSA, as well as the private water corporation Veolia Water North America, and the authority's collection agency, Jordan Tax Service. The group behind the lawsuit, Campaign to Reform PWSA, hopes to end what they see as the PWSA's coercive, slapdash attempts to shake down citizens for money. They also hope to alter the PWSA so that it is more transparent and responsive, because right now, they contend, the PWSA has become a smokescreen for France-based Veolia Environment, the largest private water company in the world.
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