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All Pittsburghers are Poets: Poem of the Week

City of Asylum Banner (2019)

Happy National Poetry Month!

As we spend as much time at home as possible due to COVID-19, we invite you to tap into your own well of creativity. City of Asylum believes that All Pittsburghers are Poets, and now we want to hear from you! We are calling all residents of Allegheny County to send us a poem by April 30 for consideration in the new online series “All Pittsburghers are Poets: Poem of the Week” to be published in Sampsonia Way Magazine. Writers of accepted poems will receive $15 for their work in honor of City of Asylum’s 15th year.

All Pittsburghers Are Poets

Has it been a while since you wrote a poem? To encourage us all to put pen to paper, we have created a gallery of poetry writing prompts like the one below. You’ll find 8 prompts inspired by our Exiled Writers-in-Residence, 40 general prompts, and 25 prompts created with youth in mind.

Writing Prompt

Submit Your Poem

Help the Residents at the Allegheny Y During this Difficult Time!

Submitted by Cathy Serventi (Y Board Member)

Your help is needed to support the residents of the Allegheny YMCA in this difficult time. The biggest thing the Y needs help with is supplying meals to the 89 residents that call the Y their home.

How can you help?

  1. You can donate a Giant Eagle Gift card so the Y staff can purchase food and prepare meals for the residents. Please use this link ( to digitally purchase a Giant Eagle Gift Card and have it sent to Bill Pricener by adding his email address: as the recipient.
  2. You can mail a check to the Allegheny YMCA to help support their operations. Make checks payable to Allegheny YMCA, and mail to 600 W North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 *Any amount helps!*
  3. Share this post with your neighbors/throughout your Northside network to spread the word!

URA Announces Neighborhood Initiatives Fund Program Round 2

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced that the application process for Round 2 of its Neighborhood Initiatives Fund (NIF) Program opens today, Thursday, April 2; applications are due June 1.

The NIF Program makes it easier for City of Pittsburgh communities to access funding for neighborhood- scale projects. The amount of funding available to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) eligible communities for Round 2 is $680,000.

New this round – up to 25% of total grant funds may be used for operations or administrative costs for those organizations that have faced hardships due to COVID-19. Additionally, priority will be given to projects that respond to the COVID-19 crisis, address equity and maximize public benefit.

View the Press Release

One Northside Mini-Grant Adjustments Amid COVID-19

New Sun Rising Logo

The upcoming One Northside (ONS) Mini-Grant application deadline will remain March 31, 2020. Project applications submitted to New Sun Rising (NSR) by March 31 will receive a decision in April 2020.

In lieu of the 15 required signatures for applications, grantees must have 3 references email or call NSR (412) 407-9007 to give their full name, home or business address, and the name of the project they are supporting. References cannot be from the same Northside home or business address.

At this time, all grant deadlines have been extended to August 31, 2020.

The mini-grant program awards Northsider’s up to $1,000 to support small scale community projects that demonstrate pledged support of their neighbors, help strengthen connections, increase accessibility to resources, and/or activate significant places in their community.

NSR encourages prospective applicants to email with any questions or concerns about the mini-grant process in advance of preparing their application.

Timely Reminder: Voting by Mail

With all that is happening with the coronavirus and disruptions in daily life, it might not be bad time to review the Voting by Mail options available in Pennsylvania. You can apply online, by mail or in-person before April 21st and still participate in the Primary. Learn more at We’ve also added details to the AWCC Government Resources page under “Voting”.

Workshop for Young Writers Led by J. Albert Mann

City of Asylum Banner (2019)

Little Decisions Feed Big Ideas

with J. Albert Mann

Saturday, March 21st
3:00 pm

Calling all young writers!

Join City of Asylum’s first explorative workshop designed for young writers (13+) led by author J. Albert Mann. J. will read from her forthcoming middle grade novel, The DEGENERATES, discuss her creative process, and workshop your drafts in progress. This workshop is designed for writers and readers of all levels interested in being creative and gaining confidence in their writing.

Please bring a draft of a project and writing materials!

The Degenerates

This fiery historical novel follows four young women in the early 20th century who are locked up in the Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded — simply because their society has shunned the poor, the disabled, and the marginalized.

The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded is not a happy place. The young women who are already there certainly don’t think so. Not Maxine, who is doing everything she can to protect her younger sister Rose from an institution where vicious attendants and bullying older girls treat them as the morons, imbeciles, and idiots. Not Alice, either, who was left there when her brother rejected a sister with a club foot. And not London, who has just been dragged there from the best foster situation she’s ever had, thanks to one unexpected, life altering moment. Each girl is determined to change her fate, no matter what it takes. This novel is a moving exploration of feminism, disability, and the dangers of marginalizing those who are “different.”

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Letter from the President – March 2020

“Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of liberty.” ― Henry M. Robert, Robert’s Rules Of Order

In February 1876, Henry M. Robert, a Major in the US Army, published the Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies, with the objective of bringing procedural consistency to meetings. The pocket manual evolved to become Robert’s Rules of Order, which many organizations today use to guide how their meetings are run.

Alice Sturgis was an author and parliamentarian who is the name behind the Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, published in 1950. The cover quote of the 2001 edition states, “Anyone who has trouble with Robert’s Rules of Order will welcome the simplicity of this streamlined guide to parliamentary procedure.”

Whoever came up with that cover quote was playing fast and loose with the word “simplicity.” But perhaps that alleged simplicity influenced the initial members of the Allegheny West Civic Council to choose the Sturgis Rules of Order (now known formally as The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure) as the procedural guide for conducting Civic Council meetings.

I bring this up not as a sleep aid but because I recently heard from someone new to AWCC meetings that it was hard to follow the action with all the talk of motions and abstaining and tabling and new business and old business. It made me remember what it was like to be a new AWCC member and not know when it was okay to ask questions or speak up on a topic. So, I thought it was important to give a simple overview of how these meetings work and when there are opportunities to bring new topics to the table.

The Rules of Order provide a guide for making decisions as a group. All AWCC decisions are made through a motion, which is a formal recommendation put by a member for debate and consideration. Anyone is able to make a motion. When a motion is made, it needs to be seconded to move to debate. Once a motion has been seconded, everyone is invited to comment or ask questions prior to putting the motion to vote.

For many motions, this process moves pretty quickly and it can be challenging to jump in with a question or comment. However, that is exactly the right thing to do when the Chair asks if there is further discussion — if you have a question or comment don’t hesitate to raise your hand and speak up.

The meeting agenda is basically the same from meeting to meeting — guests are introduced and given a few minutes to make announcements and take questions. Previous meeting minutes are reviewed and accepted, and the Treasurer’s report is made and filed. Committee Chairs (Membership, Ways & Means, Property, Friends of AW, Housing & Planning, Bylaws) give their updates and then old and new business is discussed. New business can be added to the agenda prior to the meeting or introduced when the Chair calls for new business items. If you ever have a topic to add to a General Membership meeting agenda reach out to me at and I’ll add it. It’s always nice to get topics on the agenda before the meeting to make sure sufficient time is allocated for discussion.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that Henry Robert and Alice Sturgis might not have been great fun at neighborhood social events but both would have run a tight ship when it came to membership meetings. And they both probably would answer like me when asked to name their favorite motion — why, of course, the motion to adjourn.

Everyone is no doubt watching the news and following the stories of the coronavirus outbreak. As a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

At our March 10th AWCC General Membership meeting, we’ll encourage fist bumps versus handshakes and enthusiastic waving versus hugs. Hopefully we’ll be back to normal by April.

Ann Gilligan
President, AWCC

AWCC Membership Meeting – March 10, 2020

Calvary United Methodist Church, 971 Beech Avenue
Tuesday, March 10th at 7:30 pm

  • 7:30 – Guests
    • Officer Burford, Pittsburgh Police
    • Molly Onufer, Mayor’s Office
    • Councilman Wilson’s Office
    • Senator Wheatley’s Office
    • Erin Tobin, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • 7:50 – February Membership Meeting Minutes
  • 8:00 – Committee Reports
    • Ways & Means
    • Housing & Planning
    • Friends of Allegheny West
    • Membership
    • Property
    • By-Laws
  • 8:30 – Treasurer’s Report
  • 8:40 – Old Business
    • Anti-littering Crusade (Tom Barbush)
  • 8:45 – New Business
    • PPC Letter of Support for Restoration of the Hartzell Monument
    • Andrew Reichert, Birgo: requesting letter of support to develop behind Stables Building
  • 9:00 – Meeting Conclusion

PHLF Walking Tours of Museum Lab/MCAS Building

PHLF, in cooperation with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and MACS, will be offering 3 special guided tours (March 14th, April 4th, April 25th; 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm) of the MuseumLab Building to people who are especially interested in hearing how the former Allegheny Regional Library has been transformed. To make a reservation, please visit: