806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Pennsylvania Primary Election Update

Dear Fellow Pennsylvanian,

These are unprecedented times, and we hope you and your families are staying safe. We are writing with IMPORTANT news about recent changes to the Pennsylvania primary election related to COVID 19. In order to protect the health and safety of all voters, poll workers, and election officials while also ensuring access to voting, the legislature, Governor Wolf, and the Department of State worked together to pass legislation to reschedule the PA primary election to Tuesday, June 2nd.

Additionally, thanks to historic legislation passed last fall, ALL Pennsylvania voters now also have the ability to vote by mail without having to provide an excuse – for any reason or no reason at all. You can apply for mail-in ballots online, by mail, or in person, until one week before the election. For the 2020 primary, mail-in ballot applications must be received by your county election office by 5:00 pm Tuesday, May 26th. Applying online is very easy and quick, and even better, if you enter your email address, you will receive notifications as to the status of your application and ballot along the way. Once you receive your mail-in ballot, you now have until 8:00 pm on June 2nd to deliver your completed ballot to your county election office, but you should drop it off or mail it as early as you can to ensure it is delivered by that time.

Voters who have already requested a mail-in or absentee ballot will receive your ballot for the rescheduled primary. There is no need to apply again if you have already done so.

Other important election-related deadlines will change along with the new primary date. The new deadline to update your voter registration is Monday, May 18th. Please visit to update your registration today.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these changes. The Department of State is committed to keeping voters informed. To stay up-to-date with the latest and most accurate election information in Pennsylvania, visit, or contact your county election office.


Commonwealth Secretary Signature

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Letter from the President – April 2020

“We’ll meet again
Don’t know where, don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

From the song, “We’ll Meet Again”, written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles

At the March 10th General Membership meeting the membership voted to give the AWCC President authority to suspend future meetings in the event of medical emergencies related to the COVID-19 outbreak. I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that tonight’s scheduled General Membership meeting is cancelled. The May 12th meeting is tentative and will proceed based on Local, State and CDC guidance.

Also at the March 10th meeting, the Executive Committee was given the authority to conduct the business of the organization during a suspension of meetings. As of April 13th there has been no AWCC business requiring a vote of the Executive Committee.

The cancellation of regular AWCC meetings is a small example of the historically significant time we’re experiencing. I haven’t heard of anyone in Allegheny West who has been hospitalized due to the coronavirus, and for that I’m thankful and hopeful. Some of our neighbors and neighborhood businesses are facing significant financial hardships. Other neighbors are working the frontlines in healthcare. All of us are experiencing disruptions to our normal lives, along with the anxiety and stress that brings.

Amidst the darkness brought about by the pandemic are some uplifting things happening in Allegheny West. Hopefully these will brighten your day and perhaps provide inspiration to add to this list:

  • The AWCC Website team – notably Nick Smerker – quickly implemented changes to our website to add helpful COVID-19 information and links to resources – see the great work at
  • Neighbors answered the call to place teddy bears in windows for neighborhood children (well, really for all of us) to find on bear-hunting outings.
  • Neighbors are participating in Tuesday evening “Illumination Ovation” with people across the city by stepping outside to honor front-line workers for their amazing efforts by lighting porch lights and applauding.
  • Neighbors are checking in on other neighbors, offering to pick up grocery and pharmacy supplies or just to say hello.
  • Neighbors are getting take-out food and beverages from local businesses, supporting them while normal operations are suspended.
  • Neighbors are sewing and donating face masks.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that AWCC has a “Zoom Room” – with big thanks to Cathy Serventi for setting it up and providing technical support. The AWCC Zoom Room is available for anyone to use, for gatherings large and small. Please take advantage of this to keep in virtual touch with one another. If you have an idea for a Zoom event, send an email to

Stay safe everyone!

Ann Gilligan
President, AWCC

Friday Night Happy Hour

Join your neighbors as we practice using Zoom doing something requiring no practice: Happy Hour! Every Friday from 6:00 to 7:00, BYOB!

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 479 233 274 (This will remain the same each week!)

The AWCC Zoom account is available for virtual gatherings, large and small. Please join us on Sunday and then stay tuned for invites to more Zoom events. If you’re thinking of organizing a Zoom event for the neighborhood, check out how to do that on our website

Hope to see all your smiling faces on Friday evening!

From the Governor’s Office: Please, wear a mask outside!

Gov. Wolf is now asking that all Pennsylvanians wear a mask, cloth or homemade, anytime they leave their houses, saying that “guidance is now changing” on this issue. The Governor’s office asks that N95 and paper masks be reserved for healthcare workers.

“Your mask protects me from COVID-19, and my mask protects you from COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levin explained. “Homemade masks protect everyone else from droplets created by the wearer. It’s important that as many people as possible wear masks when leaving home.”

If you do not have masks to use, Google a YouTube how-to: How to Make a Pleated Face Mask // Washable, Reusable, No-Sewing Required. (One neighbor remarked that this one is “very zen and soothing.” Sounds win-win!)

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