Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Garage evaluation results yield ‘areas of concern’

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: December 8, 2010
By Kalea Hall and Katie Janicik 

After being evaluated by A & A Consultants Inc. in 2009, a number of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority's garages earned a rating of less than fair, meaning major repairs are needed.
Due to the fact that they drive to school, many student commuters are voicing their concerns about the garages and the fact that their conditions are not quite up to par.
"Some of the other garages they look a little rundown, and I always feel a little hesitate to even walk inside them. I think it's because they are not as well-lit as the one on Boulevard of the Allies," said Yip, senior secondary education major.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Student commuters find parking crackdown, prices ‘inconvenient’

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: November 30, 2010
By Kalea Hall and Katie Janicik 
Marissa Deasy says she "usually" has negative parking experiences.
As a commuter from Oakland, Leah Fox appreciates the shuttle services provided by Point Park University despite having negative experiences commuting.
Meagan Stroud, United Student Government press secretary (USG), said "USG is more than willing to do everything" they can to assist commuters.
"It's really inconvenient to be a commuter, but I do empathize [with the school] because what are they supposed to do? They can't just build a parking lot," said Fox, a junior Conservatory of Performing Arts major.
In an era when Pittsburgh is using parking as both a means of funding and as a form of punishment, there are numerous ways in which Point Park students can find a place to park without breaking their tight budgets.

Point Park backs website to prevent transportation crisis

Published in: The Globe

Originally published: November 30, 2010

By Kalea Hall

Lucinda Beattie, vice president of transportation for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), believes Pennsylvania voters need to let legislators know the transportation crisis is a "priority issue."
Mariann Geyer, vice president for external affairs, said the transportation crisis will have a "chilling effect" on all of Point Park's students.
Michael Potoczny, United Student Government president, said his goal is to keep "transportation to the school affordable."
As of Oct. 2010,  3,092 commuters attending Point Park University and representatives for the school have joined the PDP in making the transportation crisis a priority issue for legislators. On Nov. 24, the Port Authority Board of Directors voted in favor of administering service cuts in March 2011 and fare increases on Jan. 1, 2011.  With their new website,, the PDP has created a way for legislators to hear the voice of the Pittsburgh community, including Point Park University, speak about the transportation issue.
 "Unless the legislature acts to fill the shortfall in PennDOT's (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) budget for this year, we will have those service cuts and this becomes an issue of voters letting their legislators know that this [issue] is a priority," Beattie said in a phone interview.

Pension crisis negotiations continue as council members demand ‘clarification’

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: November 9, 2010
By Kalea Hall and Katie Janicik 
Pittsburgh City Council and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have yet to agree on a solution to the city pension deficit crisis. 
A bill was rewritten and voted to be amended and put on hold by City Council during the Nov. 9 meeting.        
The new bill allows Ravenstahl and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to negotiate a transfer of the city's parking assets to the Parking Authority. The Parking Authority would then pay for them.
"I don't believe you can just sit down and change a plan and then decide you're not going to negotiate it," said Darlene Harris, Council President and District One Representative.

City Council Members Vote Council-Controller’s Plan

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: October 26, 2010
By Kalea Hall and Katie Janicik 
Pittsburgh City Council members voted to accept the council-controller plan at the City Council meeting on Tuesday allowing the city to avoid a state takeover.
The council-controller plan will provide a solution to the pension crisis by selling the city's parking facilities to the Pittsburgh Parking Authority. Some members feel it will not work but know a compromise is needed to come to a decision by their deadline of Nov. 1.
"[Council]President [Darlene]Harris said ‘Don't ever vote for privatization,'" Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, District 2 representative, said at the meeting.  "Maybe there is a compromise somewhere."

Pension still causes tension

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: October 19, 2010
By Kalea Hall and Katie Janicik 
Even with a collection of Pittsburgh firefighters at the council meeting on Oct. 19., fighting for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's parking lease plan to be reconsidered, City Council effectively nixed the plan.
With an underfunded pension plan, councilmen are currently looking at the council controller plan or a state takeover, now that the mayor's plan has been killed.
"We need to reinvest in lots of things in this city, but we are not selling them. We should not be selling our soul and selling our city and selling our assets for 50 years. Now is not the time for threats. Now is the time to consider alternatives," Councilman Patrick Dowd, representative for District 7, said at the meeting.

City cracks down in South Side

Published in: The Globe 
Originally published: October 19, 2010
By Kalea Hall 
Emily Levier thinks the new enforcement of parking in the South Side is ridiculous.
Tony Moux agrees with Levier and believes money is the reason why the crackdown is happening now.
Lt. Shirley Sloan, commander of Zone 3(South Side), believes the enforcement is positive because it shows consideration of the people that live there.
On the weekend of Oct. 8, Pittsburgh Police made the official crackdown on parking in the South Side by issuing a total of 243 parking citations, towing 84 cars for parking illegally and giving one moving violation. This past weekend, 165 parking citations were issued, 30 cars were towed and three moving citations were given.
"For the rest of the remaining weekends for the month of October, it will continue," Sloan said in a phone interview. "Along with assistance of plain clothes squads that will also be addressing some of the issues that we have in complaints because of the previous crimes reported…There has been a few robberies, the urination that goes on, the disorderly conduct and the fights."

Grant to allow purchase of new Port Authority buses

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: October 12, 2010
By Kalea Hall 

Jim Ritchie, Director of Public Relations for Pittsburgh Port Authority, said the transit company will "benefit greatly" from the grant they received on Oct. 4.
As a result, Port Authority will be able to purchase new buses so the older ones can be removed from its fleet, lessening the chance that Point Park University students will experience delays.
"It is a competitive grant; it is not something that we normally get," Ritchie said in a phone interview.

Lessons from across the pond

Published in: The Globe 
Originally published: October 12, 2010
By Kalea Hall 
The first time Amanda McGuire stepped out of her comfort zone of rural Greenville, Pa., was when she auditioned as an actress at Point Park University.
Two years later, the confidence she gained from her education and experiences gave her the initiative to go forth with her studies in England.
Now, the young woman so unsure of herself when she left her rural home has returned to Point Park as the student activities program coordinator and alcohol and drug educator.
"I fell in love with Pittsburgh, and from my training at Point Park, I fell in love with the program because of the teachers," McGuire said. "I am just happy to be an alum."

Education students ‘think pink,’ walk for breast cancer

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: October 13, 2010
By Kalea Hall 
The informational walk to raise awareness about breast cancer was created by Dr. Darlene Marnich for a very special reason.
"Given that in March of 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, this one was kind of near and dear to my heart," Marnich said, professor and chair of the education department and creator of the fundrasier.
Next week, three sections of University Experience education students will join Marnich in bringing the pink to Point Park in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
From Monday, Oct. 18 to Thursday, Oct. 21 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the classes will be selling pink t-shirts, keychains, wristbands, car magnets, rubber duckies, tote bags and raffle tickets for prize baskets outside the Point Cafe the Academic Hall lobby. Then, on Wednesday, Oct. 20, the classes will be hosting an informal breast cancer walk at 1 p.m. beginning in Alumni Park, and will go along Smithfield Street bridge and ending in Station Square.
"It is an informal walk to help raise awareness about breast cancer, we hope it's also an informational walk that day," Marnich said.

Alternative parking initiative emerges

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: October 5, 2010
By Kalea Hall and Katie Janicik 
Student commuters now have a choice of siding with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl of Pittsburgh's parking plan or the new plan issued last Wednesday by City Controller Michael Lamb.
Some students feel that no matter what plan is chosen, Point Park University needs to step in.
"As of now, I think that the price of parking is ridiculous," said David Guerrero, a junior biotechnology major, in an e-mail interview. "Now, more than ever, I wish Point Park would just buy a parking garage"

Parking system ownership shift to ‘harm’ students, businesses

Published in: The Globe 
Originally published: September 28, 2010
By Kalea Hall 

Leah Shreckengast believes Pittsburgh should be more "sensitive" to students and their parking needs.
 Boulevard Del owner Jim Julian is concerned that his business will be negatively impacted by the city's latest bailout plan.
Students and business-owners alike are expressing their concerns with the city's plan to lease the parking garages and meters for $452 million.
"I don't think it will do anything but […] harm to all businesses from the big guys at Macy's, to the little guys like us," Julian said.

Point Park Students stick with their political party

Published in: The Globe 
Originally published: September 21, 2010 
By Kalea Hall
Andrew Witchey said his family background is why he has been a Republican since he was able to understand politics.
Kati Radman, a Democrat, sides differently because of her less conservative views.
These Point Park students are just a couple that are sticking, not switching, with their traditional affiliations, unlike other college students around the nation.
During the 2008 elections, young voters had a major hand in swaying the elections toward the Democratic candidate, according to Pew Research Center. However, by the end of 2009 many young voters changed their political stance.
In 2008, 62 percent of young voters were affiliated with the Democratic Party and in 2009 the amount of affiliates shrunk to 54 percent, according to Pew Research Center.
Witchey, a senior cinema and digital arts major, said he follows the Republican mindset since he comes from a family where his father and sister both own their own businesses.
"It's just the kind of mindset that you work hard to make your living and it's your living to keep," Witchey said, as to the main reason that he is a Republican.

Candle light vigil held to remember 9/11 attacks

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: September 14, 2010
By Kalea Hall 
On Friday, Sept. 10, roughly 30 Point Park students and faculty members gathered together in Alumni Park to remember, reflect and pay their respects for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
 Amanda McGuire, Student Activities Program Coordinator, initiated the event with a moment of silence for those who lost and gave their lives on Sept. 11. McGuire set the event up as a way for students to have the opportunity to pay honor to those who lost their lives, she said. 
"We have students from all over the place and we wanted to make sure that they had the opportunity to realize that we don't forget, nobody has forgotten, and it is still important to us to sit down and reflect on that day," she explained.

Market Square renovations designed for ‘desirable use’

Published in: The Globe
Originally published: September 14, 2010
By Kalea Hall 
Senior elementary education major Sarah Homyk likes the newly renovated Market Square, and said it "seems more friendly."
Adam Steinsdoerfer, a junior cinema and digital arts major, disagrees with Homyk. He feels the new Market Square is very bland. He pointed out that the square's landscaping was much better before the renovation.
David Montanez, owner of Las Velas, said his 430 Market Street business has improved since the opening of the renovated square and he is hoping it will continue to get better.
"If you come in the morning and just sit in one of those tables in the center, there's a lot of people passing through all the time. It became a place for people instead of a place for cars," says Geof Comings, Economic Development Manager for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PPD).
These are the responses after the completion of the over a year long, nearly $5 million remake of Market Square. The new Market Square has allowed vendors to receive more business, and also promotes a friendlier environment for Pittsburgh residents to enjoy.