Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pittsburgh Office of Municipal Investigations employee charged with assault - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

An investigator with Pittsburgh's Office of Municipal Investigations has been charged with simple assault stemming from a domestic violence incident at her home early Sunday.

Pittsburgh police said Kelly Henretty, 42, of Overbrook, caused scratches to a man's face when she pushed past him in an attempt to get inside their bedroom, where she had accused him of hiding another woman, according to a criminal complaint.

The man, Jeffery Larkin, told responding officers that he was having an argument with Ms. Henretty and he wanted her to leave. Police wrote in the complaint that they could see him bleeding from the mouth and he had scratches on his forehead.

Ms. Henretty, they noted, had no visible injuries.

"Due to Larkin's statements and injuries, Henretty was placed into custody for domestic violence," according to the complaint.

A police supervisor was advised of the arrest because Ms. Henretty noted that she is a city employee.

Ms. Henretty has been employed by the city since January 2002, according to a roster of city employees. She remains on the job, which includes investigating civilian complaints against city employees, including police officers and firefighters.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pirates aren't sure which end of race is up -

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates are supposedly in a pennant race, yet they seem more like Nik Wallenda walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

The Pirates are trying to act like contenders and win the second NL wild card playoff berth. If successful, the Pirates will qualify for the postseason for the first time in 20 years.

At the same time, the Pirates are behaving like a team that is rebuilding. Of course, that is exactly what they have been for the past 20 years.

It's an odd dynamic to say the least, kind of like slathering pennant butter on a tuna melt.

"It's kind of who we are," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Tuesday before the Pirates opened a pivotal three-game series with the Brewers at PNC Park. "We're always going to try to work young players into the mix."

Certainly, no one expects the Pirates to empty out their farm system and Bob Nutting's coffers to field a team full of veterans. This isn't 1992, when the Pirates were one of baseball's biggest spenders and model franchises in the game.

Prospects hold more value than ever in today's game, ever for the big-market clubs, and Nutting isn't going to start spending big money until a snowstorm cancels the Fourth of July fireworks display. Nutting is a bottom-line guy and will be to the day he dies.

However, it is disorienting to watch the way the Pirates are attacking their first meaningful September since 1997. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether they are they are more interested in reaching the postseason or holding an open tryout camp.

Tonight, the Pirates will trot rookie right-hander Kyle McPherson to the mound to start against the Brewers in the second game of the three-game series. McPherson has posted a fine 1.54 ERA in seven games and 11 2/3 innings of relief in his first taste of the major leagues but has started only three games above the Class AA level.

"I'm excited and a little surprised," McPherson said. "I didn't expect to start a game this meaningful."

McPherson, who is replacing the struggling James McDonald, becomes the second rookie in the rotation along with left-hander Jeff Locke. Infielder Brook Holt, who had never played above Class AA until August, has also seen plenty of action while second baseman Neil Walker deals with a sore lower back. Even Jeff "Automatic Out" Clement keeps getting a chance to pinch hit on a daily basis.

Playing so many young guys isn't the road most taken by contenders. It also contradicts Nutting's long-standing contention that the Pirates would spend money when they became contenders.

Nevertheless, this is the way the Pirates roster is constructed, so they will either make it across the falls or, much more likely, fall into the drink.

Museum's Natural History director, Sam Taylor, to leave - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

The director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History will leave his post at the end of the month after 41/2 years on the job but will be staying in Pittsburgh because, he said, "I have grown to love this community."

Sam McElroy Taylor led the museum through a "thoughtful reorganization that is redefining what it means to be a 21st-century natural history museum," said John Wetenhall, president and CEO of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Taylor realigned the museum into four interdisciplinary centers -- evolutionary biology, ecology and biodiversity, world cultures, and science learning. That reorganization "set the museum on an exciting course for future growth," Mr. Wetenhall said.

Mr. Taylor's resignation was unexpected, said museum spokeswoman Betsy Momich. She said a transition team should be in place in early October. Meanwhile, Mr. Wetenhall said, the museum is in good enough shape to take its time finding a replacement.

A marine biologist and science educator by training, Mr. Taylor assumed the director's job in April 2008 after a national search. Prior to that he had advised museums and other scientific organizations as director of Samuel Taylor Museum Consulting, and also had been chairman and curator of the education department at the California Academy of Sciences, director of exhibitions for the American Museum of Natural History, and biology director for the New York Hall of Science.

Mr. Taylor said he hasn't decided what he'll do next, but "a number of opportunities are developing," including consulting projects.

Asked if his departure wasn't rather abrupt, he said: "To the outside world it may look that way, but it really isn't. It's been considered and discussed for a while, and the time just seemed right."

In a statement, he said, "I have spent four and a half wonderful years at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and I am so proud of our museum's work reorganizing staff into professional centers and developing a plan that positions the museum for a vibrant and prosperous future.

"As the museum's work now turns from visioning to long-term implementation, I've decided this is the appropriate time for me to pursue opportunities with other science-based organizations that, like the Museum of Natural History, are re-visioning their futures."

Mr. Wetenhall agreed the timing made sense.

"We are completing our strategic planning process, so there's a natural pivot from planning a vision to implementing that vision. It's a natural time for this kind of transition." Mr. Wetenhall said.

Mr. Taylor said his biggest accomplishment as director was the reorganization that "put education and research more closely together." The centers, he said, "yielded some significant gifts and are off to a strong start," although more funding is needed.

"Our exhibit schedule and near-term plans are in very good shape so we have the luxury of time to evaluate our needs and define precisely the leadership we need," Mr. Wetenhall said.

Mr. Taylor stirred up some controversy in December 2010 by looking into whether the museum could benefit from gas extraction at Powdermill Nature Reserve, the 2,200-acre tract in Westmoreland County that serves as the museum's biological research station, and still maintain its environment. The drilling would have taken place on adjacent property and a line would have run horizontally underneath the site, but the plan did not go forward.

Asked what he thought the museum should look for in a replacement, Mr. Taylor said, "Someone who has a passion for science and communicating that to the public."

Man to change plea in Pitt YouTube threats - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

One of two Ohio men will plead guilty to charges related to YouTube threats against the University of Pittsburgh as it dealt with a series of unrelated bomb scares earlier this year.

Warner Mariani, the attorney for 26-year-old Brett Hudson, of Hillsboro, Ohio, says his client will plead guilty at a change of plea hearing before a federal judge in Pittsburgh on Oct. 17.

Investigators say Hudson and 24-year-old Alexander Waterland, of Loveland, Ohio claimed to be members of the hacking group Anonymous who had obtained confidential information they would release if the school's chancellor didn't apologize for not safeguarding its data.

Mr. Waterland has pleaded not guilty and his attorney didn't immediately return a call Tuesday.

Neither man is charged in connection with the bomb threats, which were plaguing the school just before the hacker threats surfaced.

You are here: Home News Faithburgh World Gratitude Day celebration in ... - Pittsburgh Post Gazette (blog)

Technically, World Gratitude Day isn’t a religious event. But its being held at a Unitarian-Universalist Church, which has such a broad theological portfolio that virtually anything can be seen as religious. And every major religious tradition -- and probably most of the minor ones -- consider gratitude a virtue.

Think of it as the flip side of Random Acts of Kindness.

The Celebration of Appreciation will be held Saturday Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. in the Undercroft Art Gallery of the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh , 605 Morewood Ave., Shadyside. It will include music, poetry and activities such as a thank you note-a-thon to express appreciation to others for their kindness. The music will include a performance by Life In Balance, which uses crystal bowls, synthesizers and world flutes to produce music intended to induce healing.
World Gratitude Day traces its roots to a 1965 Thanksgiving dinner at the East-West Center in Hawaii. It was promoted at the United Nations  by Sri Chimnoy, who led an interfaith meditation group in its meditation room. Karen Litzinger, whose Litzinger Career Consulting is hosting the Pittsburgh event, decided to bring a celebration to Pittsburgh after she wrote a thank you note to one of her former high school teachers. The teacher received the note when he was on the verge of retirement and had been questioning whether he had made an impact on any of his students.

“Gratitude is a big part of my personal and professional life. As a career counselor and business etiquette trainer, I am always encouraging people to write thank you notes,” she said.

The event is free, but people will be encouraged to donate tot he Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, which tutors 14,000 local adults annually in GED preparation, English as a Second Language, writing, math and computer skills.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Chef Brandon Baltzley to orchestrate Monday pop-up dinners around town - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Monday dinners are about to get interesting now that Brandon Baltzley has landed in Pittsburgh. For the next six months beginning Oct. 15, Mr. Baltzley will stage biweekly pop-up dinners via Crux restaurant, his mobile collaborative staged in cities such as Boston; Portland, Maine; Chicago and New York.

Mr. Baltzley has been the subject of adulation and ire in the culinary world, as Details Magazine chronicled in a profile on the metal-drummer-turned-chef. Breezing through stints at Chicago's Alinea and Schwa among others, the former percussionist of Kylesa lost those positions after he struggled with substance abuse. As of late, he is drug-free, committing instead to his memoir to be released next year and a farm/restaurant in Cherry, Ill., that will break ground in the spring.

Mr. Baltzley is no stranger to Pittsburgh, having partnered with restaurateur Kevin Sousa and the crew at Salt of the Earth in Garfield for a dinner last July. "I really like the people and the aesthetic of the place," Mr. Baltzley said Sunday.

With a six-month window before his book tour, Mr. Baltzley said folks such as Mr. Sousa and another local chef, Keith Fuller, have lured him here for the short term.

Mr. Fuller spoke enthusiastically about working with Mr. Baltzley, with whom he has etched a schedule of artsy dining events through the fall and winter.

"We have become really good friends over the past month," he said during a phone call, a break from filming a trailer for this event that will feature scenes from Downtown, Polish Hill and Root 174 in Regent Square.

The Oct. 15 "Dinner and a Movie" at Root 174 will showcase "Amelie" -- Mr. Fuller's favorite film -- during which 15 diners will be served 12 courses, each to correspond with a scene that inspires a dish.

"Egg, cherries, and raspberries" pairs with a moment that occurs a minute and 42 seconds into the movie, while "recipe for love pills, cigarettes" will be served nearly 45 minutes later. Reservations for the event are available through A film trailer for the event will be online midweek.

Future Crux collaborations will include chefs Justin Severino of Cure in Lawrenceville, Stephen Felder of Stagioni, now on the South Side, Dave Racicot of Notion, now of East Liberty, the crew from Bar Marco in the Strip District, and the ubiquitous H. Alexander Talbot, author of "Ideas in Food."

Steelers show they are still a formidable foe - Wheeling Intelligencer

PITTSBURGH - Troy Polamalu watched from the sidelines in sweats. So did James Harrison. The running game couldn't get going and the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't seem to stop the referees from reaching into their pockets for yellow flags.

And still, it didn't matter.

The Steelers don't lose home openers. And they don't lose consecutive games. And they almost never lose to the New York Jets.

Article Photos

linebacker LaMarr Woodley (56) and the rest of the
Steelers made things hard on Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets on Sunday.

AP Photo

So don't expect them to get too fired up over the 27-10 drubbing.

"We were coming home and we knew what we had to do," linebacker LaMarr Woodley said.

It's what the Steelers have always done under coach Mike Tomlin when they're up against it.

Faced with going 0-2 for the first time in a decade, Pittsburgh smothered the Jets in the second half while looking very much like a team ready to be in the mix for AFC supremacy yet again.

"During times of adversity you get an opportunity to display your football character," Tomlin said. "We've got a bunch of high character guys and veteran guys that know the drill and understand the urgency of moments such as these."

The Steelers (1-1) improved to 6-0 in home openers under Tomlin and still haven't lost back-to-back games since 2009, delivering on a day when two of the best defensive players in football sat out with injuries.

No matter. Ryan Mundy overcame a sloppy start to fill in quite nicely while Polamalu nursed a strained right calf and the linebackers didn't miss a beat even with Harrison sitting out a second straight game while coming back from right knee surgery.

"I think it just says that we understood the moment," safety Ryan Clark said.

Clark finished with a team-high eight tackles in his return after skipping a 31-19 loss to Denver due to a sickle cell trait that makes it dangerous for him to exert himself at high altitude. Mundy, making just the fifth start of his career, had five tackles and added a fumble recovery on a botched New York punt return in the third quarter.

"I just like to be flexible," Mundy said. "Whatever (Clark or Polamalu) feel comfortable doing and whatever position they want to play during a particular play, I just play off of them."

Pittsburgh limited the Jets to just 91 yards in the second half as the secondary manhandled New York's wide receivers and the front seven was able to consistently get in the face of quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Steelers recorded two sacks, though the biggest hit of the game may have been a violent collision between Sanchez and Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the second quarter. Sanchez was scrambling when Timmons drilled him just after Sanchez let go of the ball.

Timmons earned a 15-yard personal foul penalty for the severity of the hit, but it seemed to rattle Sanchez, who completed just 6 of 22 pass attempts the rest of the way.

"We tried to put a lot more pressure on Sanchez and it worked," Woodley said. "After that he started getting rid of the ball quicker and our secondary did a great job of covering."

Being well rested certainly didn't hurt.

Pittsburgh's defense had plenty of fresh legs in the second half thanks to a series of clock-sapping drives by the offense. Ben Roethlisberger continued to embrace the short passing game installed by new offensive coordinator Todd Haley to overcome a largely ineffective running game.

The Steelers held the ball for more than 36 minutes and converted 8 of 15 third downs as Roethlisberger spread the ball to 10 different receivers.

"I think that's just that we had our offensive rhythm," said tight end Heath Miller, who had a 1-yard touchdown catch late in the first half to give Pittsburgh the lead. "All the guys that we have on that side of the ball are capable of making plays and helping us win the game."

None more than Roethlisberger, who dodged New York's pass rush to throw for 275 yards and two scores while putting up an eye-popping passer rating of 125.1.

"He steps up, he steps out, he steps sideways," New York linebacker Garrett McIntyre said of Roethlisberger. "He doesn't just step up. It's amazing what he does back there. He's been doing it for a long time; give him credit."

Even if the quarterback did his best to deflect it, pointing to a running game that found some consistency on a game-clinching 10-minute touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer combined for 31 yards on eight carries during the 75-yard march.

"When the defensive linemen and linebackers hit the offensive line hard like that," Roethlisberger said, "our linemen were able to handle it and open up holes."

And the Steelers were able to turn around what threatened to be a disastrous start to the season. Now Pittsburgh heads to Oakland (0-2) looking for some momentum heading into a bye.

"It's always good to have a win," Timmons said. "We got a win now, that's a chip off our shoulder. Now it's time to stack our chips."