Where: Calvary Church, 971 Beech Avenue
When: Sunday, March 22nd at 4:00 pm
Price: Free and Open to the Public
Where: Calvary Church, 971 Beech Avenue
When: Sunday, March 22nd at 4:00 pm
Price: Free and Open to the Public
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
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.
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: phlf.org
As we continue to highlight one of the AWCC’s standing committees each month to encourage greater participation in the organization, this month we feature the Membership Committee.
According to AWCC’s Bylaws:
“The Membership Committee shall be responsible for adding new members to the roll and for maintaining present membership. It is also responsible for maintaining contact with all residents of Allegheny West, both members and non-members of Civic Council, to keep them informed of neighborhood and Council activities.”
In addition to the duties outlined in the bylaws, the Membership Committee is better-known for its role as the neighborhood social committee, which brings you such events as the Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day block parties, the monthly neighborhood mixers, the weekly Allegheny West bowling night during the winter months and the weekly bocce nights during the summer months. Committee meetings are held on an as-needed basis, usually prior to major neighborhood events. If social events and party planning are your forte, this is the committee for you.
The current chair of the Membership Committee is Timothy Zinn, a resident of the 900 block of Western Avenue. Please contact Tim at (412) 260-7389 or email@example.com for additional information or to volunteer for our upcoming events.
As a reminder, Allegheny Bowling Night is every Wednesday until the end of April, beginning at 7:00 pm at the Allegheny Elks Lodge, 400 Cedar Avenue. The next monthly mixer will be at Leo. a public house, at 1207 Allegheny Avenue on Saturday, March 14th, beginning at 6:30 pm.
Submitted by Carol Gomrick
Happy Spring! OK, not really spring yet, but the weather is breaking and the sun is peeking through the clouds, which starts getting folks out of the winter cocoon and outside. This raises the excitement for the summer tours. I’m really happy to share some updates below:
The Valentine’s Day promotion paid off. We already have 88 tickets sold and it’s only March. This is a great indicator that this tour is an event that folks get excited about and want on their calendar. We will be doing additional marketing but can always use your help in spreading the word and awareness of the event.
Deb Mortillaro of Dreadnought Wines will host an intimate evening in the beautiful gardens of Holmes Hall, discussing personally selected wines she’s pairing for each of the five courses. All in Good Taste Productions, the premier caterer in Pittsburgh, is currently working on a menu to bring guests classic dishes from the great wine regions of the world. No doubt this will be a spectacular culinary and wine experience. This event sold out in 2018 and I’m thrilled to offer this unique experience again.The menu has already been selected and will be posted on line shortly. Deb has started to select the proper wines. I’m sure it will be a tremendous experience for all.
Note: New this year the event is offering a full vegetarian option for guests. Guests will enjoy a full pour to pair with their menu selection, but also enjoy a small taste of the alternate wine pairings.
Some additional news about this event: The caterer provides staff for the food prep and coordination. This is a low-impact event from a volunteer perspective. The last time this event was held, there were 4 volunteers in addition to the caterer. Two of those volunteers were from the neighborhood. I am always grateful for the volunteer support from the neighborhood. If you have any questions concerning this event, or have any interest in volunteering please contact me.
Your feedback is needed! Tuesday March 24th 7:00 pm, AWCC Office: I will be holding a meeting to kick off discussions on volunteer opportunities, to identify tasks for the Wine Tour and to answer any questions the neighborhood may have. Please mark your calendars and come on over to discuss. These tours cannot be successful without your help and I greatly appreciate all that the neighborhood does to make them successful.
Thank you for your help in 2019 and I’m looking forward to a successful 2020. CHEERS!
Calvary United Methodist Women invite you to an art adventure: Zentangle. It’s a fun and easily-learned form of repetitive pattern drawing used to create small abstract works of art. The meditative nature of the drawing enhances relaxation, promotes a sense of well-being, reduces stress and sparks creativity.
Where: Calvary UMC, 971 Beech Avenue
When: Saturday, March 21st from 9:30 (breakfast) – noon (art starts at 10:00)
Cost: $25 per person, includes materials (checks payable to CUMW)
Childcare available upon request.
Bowling continues at the Elks Lodge on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. It’s a bargain at $2.50/game, and that includes bowling ball and shoes. Food and beverages are of course available, also at prices not seen at many establishments! Hope to see you this winter on Wednesdays at the Elks Lodge, 400 Cedar Avenue.
Please join us on Saturday, February 8th at 7:00 pm when we welcome Sadie Hoagland to City Books. Refreshments will be served. Hoagland’s new collection of short stories, American Grief in Four Stages explores the possibility of elegy and the inability of our culture to communicate grief or sympathy outside of cliche. Hoagland is based in Louisiana. She has a PhD in fiction from the University of Utah and an MA in Creative Writing/Fiction from UC Davis. She is a former editor of Quarterly West, and currently teaches fiction at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. For a more complete bio, click here.
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?
If you talk to someone who lived in Allegheny West forty years ago, you’re likely to hear that the neighborhood we have today is much like what was hoped for in 1980. A few years earlier Allegheny West Civic Council established a committee, Friends of Allegheny West, for the stated purpose of “developing and furthering human services and physical resources of the community with the goal of combatting community deterioration and revitalizing the area”.
What signs did the neighborhood see at the time that gave such hope? And what signs can we point to today to give us confidence that we’re being the best possible stewards of our neighborhood?
I’d like to offer three signs for your consideration.
First is the Allegheny City Stables Lofts project at 836 W North Avenue. AWCC worked for years to preserve and then to influence the development of the former municipal building. In the next few months we’ll have upwards of 50 new neighbors living in a building that was designed with input from Allegheny West Civic Council as well as the Local Historic Review Committee.
Second, as I’ve mentioned in this column before, the number of neighbors attending General Membership meetings (2nd Tuesday of each month, 7:30 pm, Emmanuel Episcopal Church) is awesome. Allegheny West Civic Council decides when and how to take a stand on an issue, when to spend money, who will be the officers and how the council operates only through voting at General Membership meetings. The way to have a voice is to be a member, attend meetings and vote.
Third, on a cold and rainy January evening a couple weeks ago, over 40 neighbors put on their coats, grabbed a beverage and attended an AWCC Mixer at Giorgio’s Pizza. The food was great, the beverages were shared and the noise level was quite high. It was a wonderful gathering of neighbors, a warm and happy winter evening in Allegheny West. (Thanks to Tim Zinn, Membership Committee Chair for planning this Mixer and those to come!)
In 1980, John Canning, then Chairman of the Friends of Allegheny West Committee, wrote, “I am convinced that the three greatest assets of Allegheny West are: the sense of community of the residents, the integrity of the AWCC and the historical significance of our neighborhood.”
Forty years later John’s assessment still rings true. We might not always share the same vision for the future of Allegheny West, but by participating and working with our neighbors we can continue to read the signs and move in the right direction.