community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On this week's show... * A look at the grassroots biofuel movement in Pittsburgh * A strip mine proposal for South Park is declared dead * More realty controversy on the North Shore * Juveniles are facing life without parole in Pennsylvania prisons * and Mumia Abu-Jamal speaks out on Barack Obama
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Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast from our website at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local stories.
Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato said a proposal to strip mine 100 acres of a nature preserve in South Park (quote) "is not going to go forward" after hearing from outraged citizens at a meeting last week at South Park High School.
About 300 people attended the informal hearing on a proposal from Green Vue Systems to mine some 1 million tons of coal from the environmentally sensitive Sleepy Hollow area of the county park. Green Vue’s plans included replacing the wooded land with 12 ballfields when mining operations ended. However, less than 10% of the hearing’s attendees indicated they were in favor of the proposal.
Jon Hiser, an engineer for Green Vue, spoke briefly about the proposed project, finishing to a chorus of boos after he called the trees of Sleepy Hollow (quote) "a renewable resource." Dan Onorato then announced that the plan was dead, inciting cheers among audience members.
Before, during and after the 90-minute meeting, area residents expressed concerns about property values, health and safety issues. "This is a public park that sits in the middle of a residential area, with houses less than a quarter mile away. Such a project should not even be contemplated -- it's dirty, destructive and dangerous," said resident Mary Franko.
County Councilwoman Joan Cleary, who represents the South Park area as part of District 6, said she's fielded numerous telephone calls and e-mails from citizens in the last few days and all had negative views toward the Green Vue proposal.
Green Vue Systems LLC, is a corporation formed six months ago by Nello Fiore. However, this is not the first attempt by Fiore to mine the land. District 5 County Councilman Vince Gastgeb, who was also in attendance at the meeting, reminded people of a similar proposal, put forth by Fiore, nearly 10 years ago.
"I was involved in this 10 years ago -- it was a bad idea then, it's a bad idea now," Gastgeb said.
Continental Real Estate Company, in conjunction with the Steelers and Pirates sports teams, plans to build a 178-room Hyatt Place hotel and a 35,000-square-foot, year-round entertainment complex between Heinz Field and PNC Park on the North Side.
City Councilman Bill Peduto and chairwoman of the Stadium Authority, Debbie Lestitian, however, believe the agreements giving exclusive rights to the developers have expired. Continental has announced possible plans to sue for these rights.
Meanwhile residents of the North Side and their allies are pressing City Council for a community benefits agreement to be included as part of any deal.
Barney Oursler (ols-er) of Pittsburgh United explains the controversy and goals for the community benefits agreement:
Residents hope that the precedent set by the One Hill Coalition will encourage the city and the developer to resume negotiations.
Fed Up, the local chapter of The Human Rights Coalition brings us this week's report on the prison industrial complex:
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You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
Now that Barack Obama has secured the Democratic Presidential nomination, many Americans have hope that real change is soon to come. Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has a different perspective.
On June 11th, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the first formal apology to Canada’s indigenous population for the cultural damage of Canada’s forced-assimilation programs. Between the late 19th century and the late 1970s, more than 100,000 indigenous children were forcibly sent to residential schools aimed at cultural assimilation.
Though Christian missionaries originally ran these schools, the residential program began receiving government funding in 1874. From 1920, attendance was legally required for all seven to 15 year-old indigenous children. Due to this policy, thousand of children were forcibly removed from their families and communities.
The goal of the residential programs were to “civilize and christianize” the aboriginal population. At these schools, expressions of native heritage were outlawed and many children suffered sexual and psychological abuse. According to Prime Minister Harper, “the government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage and language.”
Chief Phil Fontaine, head of the Assembly of First Nations and survivor of the schools, states that the residential programs caused (quote) "profound harm, loss and grief to individuals, families, communities and subsequent generations. The system was assimilation founded on racist premises - premises of inferiority, disrespect, discrimination and inequality.”
Mike Cachagee, another survivor of the residential programs, says the government's apology will not make him feel any different about what happened his people. However, he states, (quote) “I am optimistic that the apology will shed light on the issues that aboriginal people have to deal with."
This week's Media Minutes brings us more from the recent National Conference for Media Reform:
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
As petroleum costs rise, biofuels are becoming increasingly popular as a source of power, especially for automobiles. And while industry is moving to exploit biofuels as another source of profit, an alternative grassroots movement is growing in Pittsburgh to utilize biofuel for more than just making money. They see in biofuels an opportunity to strengthen communities, and help fix some problems in the city.
Rob Cullen and John Landis of Rustbelt TV took a look at the local grassroots biofuel movement. Their new video is called Plant Fueled: Grassroots Biofuel in Pittsburgh, and they speak to many locals involved in biodiesel, including Nathaniel Doyno, Gina Favano, and Colin Huwyler.
Today we'll hear from the new documentary, which you can also watch online at http://video.indypgh.org
That was Rustbelt TV's new documentary, titled Plant Fueled: Grassroots Biofuel in Pittsburgh. You can watch the video online at http://video.indypgh.org.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WPTS Pittsburgh, WNJR Washington, WVJW Benwood, and WIUP Indiana.
Our hosts this week are Carlin Christy and Phill Cresswell with contributions from Carlin Christy, Lizzie Anderson, Juliana Stricklen, Rob Cullen, and John Landis. This week's show was produced by Phill Cresswell. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.