I know it has been a few weeks, since my last bakery square picture. If you look on the right it looks like the have most of the parking structure built. This is a view of the building looking down Penn Ave towards downtown.
You may still vaguely remember the Propel Pittsburgh Commission, Mayor Ravenstahl’s plan to get together a bunch of smart young people to find ways to keep other young people in Pittsburgh. So far, it’s been a little less than stellar; we’ve been around for a year, and we’ve yet to even make a single formal recommendation, let alone start trying to do something. At our meeting this week, we were told in no uncertain terms that His Honor The Mayor is aware of this, and he is not pleased. Longtime readers know that I’m more of a Peduto-head, but nevertheless, Mayor Luke deserves credit for at least keeping an eye on his creation and trying to make it produce something useful. He’s even gone a bit further and given us a new staff person who has orders to whip us back into shape.
The fundamental problem, though, is one that seems to plague many public boards and commissions: people just plain don’t show up. We know there have been several resignations, although the complete list isn’t available. Beyond those, there’s another five to ten people who haven’t been seen since the first meeting. There was pretty steep competition to get onto this commission in the first place, and we see a bunch of empty chairs that are itching to be filled. The reason for this non-attendance is unclear, but as far as we can guess, it’s about schedule. We meet Downtown in the early evening, because the city officials who support us want to go home just as much as we do. Problem is, most young people don’t have total control over our work schedules, and if Propel is at the wrong time, then one more Commissioner is SOL.
Of course, such young tech-savvy personages as MetBlog readers might ask: can’t you people just do business over email, have conference calls, and otherwise use technology to quit spewing so much carbon? We could… except for this eensy thing called the Open Records Law. Turns out that as long as we’re a formal Commission, we have to comply with Open Records. That means all meetings scheduled in advance, open to the public, minutes kept, etc. Hard to shoehorn a listserv into that framework. As the years march on, more and more of the world’s governance is going to use electronic mechanisms, and this sort of thing is going to be a royal pain in the butt. Probably a good thing for some enterprising young state legislator to be considering…
In the meantime, despite all these slings and arrows, we actually have gotten some work done, particularly about immigration. More on that in a future post.
Handmade Arcade Deadline is August 17, 2008 – Calling all crafters! Pittsburgh’s premier handmade craft market application deadline is almost here. The craft culture has been on the rise around the US for the past few years and these markets have become big events around the country. For more info on the DIY movement check out Faith Levine’s website – she is working on a documentary called Handmade Nation (and was in Pittsburgh for this Symposium in the spring). Pittsburgh blogger and metblogger Liz Perry posted about the New York Times article on Handmade 2.0 last year.
Craft Blog even has a post about Handmade Arcade – Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh, PA – Now Accepting Vendor Applications
Some facts about the environment and health in past 12 months
Originally uploaded by pittsburghmetblogpics
I am at the Rachel Carson Homestead listening to Mark, one of the members of the YERT team give a presention about their trip. YERT stands for Your Environmental Road Trip. The team has spent the past 52 weeks traveling to all 50 states to talk to people about the environment.
Youn can see many of these videos and learn more about their trip at YERT.com
Here are some facts from the beginning of their presentation (they are still presenting as I am typing this)
– gas prices ranged from $2.70 to $4.10
– plastic bags were starting to be banned
– lead in toys became a big issue
– bottled water is also going out of fashion and we have learned that even some of the reusable plastic bottles are not good for your health.
Apparently they also have all of the trash from their trip and it is on display here. I will try to find that display and post a picture.
I’ve been working to cut back on my driving, which has meant that when I do drive, I’ve been paying more attention to the scenery. Lately, whenever pointed in the direction of Dahntahn, I can’t help but notice a certain towering monolith gazing in my direction and reminding me of my semi-employer’s success at global domination. Thinking about the “rebranding” of the old USX Tower made me realize that in a way, it’s pretty appropriate. Next time you’re down in South Oakland or the South Side Works, take a look at what’s sitting there on the old brownfields where we once had steel mills. When I was working down there, my daily drive took me past the Pittsburgh Technology Center, the UPMC Sports Medicine complex, and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Even the former South Side Hospital is now mostly taken up by orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation. UPMC’s spent the past decade building a new biotech/medical economy on the same sites where Pittsburgh’s last economic engine stood. Is it any wonder that they’ve decided to proclaim their fame with that same industry’s skyscraper?
Of course, it does raise the question of how long we have before all the hospitals get outsourced to India the same way the mills were…
This list of festivals arrived in my inbox today as part of an email promotion for AirTran Airlines. I just wanted to share these because I think it is interesting to see the types of festivals that other cities are holding. Maybe there are some Pittsburgh connections to these festivals or some Pittsburgh regulars that attend. The art car festival caught my eye because the Post-Gazette had an article, which I was able to find!!!, about Art Cars in Pittsburgh. I am kind of fascinated by these cars – the only art like car I see on a regular basis now is the truck for the coffee/cigar shop Leaf and Bean.8 Crazy Adventures For You! Go! There’s nothing stopping you from enjoying these 8 wacky and wonderful events.
Atlanta – September 8
Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Jasper, GA with events including a greased pig chase, greased pole climbing and a cake walk.
Baltimore – September 6
Run with the pigs at the 2008 Pigtown Festival on historic Washington Boulevard.
Buffalo – August 30-31
Head to the National Buffalo Wing Festival to see if you can beat last year’s eating contest winner at 173 wings in 12 minutes.
Houston – September 21-22
Get your spice on at the Houston Hot Sauce Festival featuring hot and spicy fiery food products and an amateur salsa dancing competition.
Indianapolis – August 29-September 1
Enjoy Italian mini-golf, salami roulette and spaghetti eating contests at the Little Italy Festival in Clinton, IN.
Philadelphia – September 6-7
Venture to Kennett Square, PA for the Mushroom Festival and enjoy the Mushroom Soup Cook-off.
Raleigh – September 20
BugFest is a fun way to learn about – and taste – every creepy-crawly critter you can come up with.
San Francisco – September 25-28
See cars roll down the street disguised as high heels, dragons, castles and everything in between at the ArtCar Fest.
Image via Wikipedia