community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: A preview of the Building Change conference soon to take place in Pittsburgh; a controversial shale-gas well site is sabotaged in Indiana County; Prison activist Robert King on the Angola Three and prison justice issues. Environmental scientist and activist Sandra Steingraber offers strategies for the movement against shale gas drilling and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for September 26, 2011
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-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 other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
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We turn now to local stories.
Building Change: A Convergence for Social Justice is an upcoming 3 day conference that will hold over 40 workshops centered around social issue initiatives and skill-building for non profit endeavours. The Three Rivers Community Foundation is one of the many sponsors of this volunteer driven event. The foundation provides funding for work in seven issue areas: economic justice, environmental justice, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender issues, peace and human rights, women, youth, and family issues, and race issues. The workshops and forums at the conference will be centered around these 7 themes, and will address topics such as include police accountability, workers' rights, healthcare, Marcellus shale drilling, and gearing up for the 2012 elections.
Together We Flourish, an informational site for non profits describes the convergence as the first-ever gathering of people and organizations from across Southwestern Pennsylvania – community members and leaders, human services providers and small business owners, union members, grantmakers, filmmakers, artists, entertainers, students, media representatives, people from all backgrounds and interests – who share a common goal of advancing social justice and change in our region and world. Willa Paterson of the Three Rivers Community Foundation is one of the leading organizers of the events; she describes why there is a need for this now in Pittsburgh.
The convergence is an opportunity for community members and non profits to come together to discover over lapping ideals. The goal is to create and sustain a network of local initiatives for restorative social justice, as explained by Paterson.
Along with the workshops there will be a corresponding film festival centered around the same themes of building change; an art show; youth programming; and an internship fair.
For a full schedule of events, registration, and information on volunteer opportunities, check out t-r-c-f-w-p-a.org
After seven months of community organizing that failed to prevent a shale-gas well from being approved in Indiana County, an anonymous person damaged the well site to prevent future gas drilling.
On the morning of Wed. Sept 21st, owners of the gas well, MDS Energy, found six shotgun blasts that were fired into the plastic lining of a drill cuttings pit on the well site.
This is not the first time that individuals have taken direct action against Marcellus gas wells in Pennsylvania.
This past year a storage barn owned by Cabot Oil and Gas was burned down in Susquehanna County, causing forty thousand dollars worth of damage, and a shotgun was fired at a condensate tank on a separate site.
The community's anger against MDS Energy stems from the close proximity of the drill site to Yellow Creek State Park, and the fact that its only 2500 feet from the shoreline of Yellow Creek lake. located in the middle of the park.
The lake is a major destination point in Indiana County, attracting nearly a quarter of a million people just last year.
We now hear from Gerald Smith, from the Coalition for a Healthy County, an umbrella group of organizations opposed to shale-gas drilling around Yellow Creek.
Gerald speaks about the significance of Yellow Creek for the communities in Indiana county.
The well site is also located in a special conservation zone that protects Indiana County's parks from industrial development and detrimental land uses.
The conservation zone does allow exemptions for energy companies, but they have to apply for a special permit from the county. MDS Energy started drilling without a permit, until a neighbor notified the county.
Gerald Smith says that MDS Energy received the permit despite having a long list of violations at other well sites.
Now that one shale-gas company has shown how easy it is acquire a permit to drill in conservations areas, other companies are applying as well.
The engineering firm Universal Pegasus International stated that it will apply for a DEP permit on behalf of Pittsburgh-based EQT Energy to drill just west of Yellow Creek Lake.
Meanwhile, the group fighting for Yellow Creek Park, Coaltion for a Healthy County, is working with Indiana County commissioners to rewrite the 38-year-old conservation ordinance that regulates development in the conservation zones.
Gerald says that the ordinance is outdated and doesn't take into account new harmful gas drilling methods like hydro-fracturing.
You've been listening to Gerald Smith from the Indiana County-based Coalition for a Healthy County, about their fight to prevent shale-gas drilling next to Yellow Creek State Park.
For further info, check out coalition for a healthy county dot wordpress dot com.
This story was produced by Seth Bearden for Rustbelt Radio.
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You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to other independent news from around the world.
After the initial September 17th "Occupy Wall Street" protest, activists set up camp in nearby Zuccotti Park. Surrounded by a ring of police, the protesters have been arrested for noncrimes such as chalking sidewalks, wearing masks, and holding tarpaulins over computer equipment during rain, thus supposedly breaking a "tent" ordinance. A peaceful march last Saturday saw 100 arrests and produced viral video of peaceful protesters being maced by New York police officers.
An on-the-ground and remote media team has provided live video streaming since the start of the protests, serving 1 million streams to 231,000 people, totaling 14.4 million viewer minutes. The team is comprised of members of Mobile Broadcast News, Glassbead Collective, and Twin Cities and Pittsburgh Indymedia—-the same crew that brought you the 2008 RNC documentary TERRORIZING DISSENT and the 2009 Pittsburgh G-20 documentary DEMOCRACY 101. Three members of the on-the-ground media team have been arrested to date.
Watch live streaming video from the Occupy Wall Street protests at www.livestream.com/globalrevolution and keep up with web news about the protests at OccupyWallSt.org (occupy-wall-S-T-dot-org)
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Though Wallace, Woodfox and King were all brought to Angola on separate charges, their struggle became united when they were all under investigation for the murder of prison guard Brent Miller at Angola. Prior to the murder, all three men, while at Angola and while at New Orleans Parish Jail, were organizers against the horrible conditions of the prisons, spreading the principles and ideas of the Black Panther Party.
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The film depicted how little to no evidence was used to convict Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox of the murder of Brent Miller. The investigation by the prison excluded evidence such as a bloody fingerprint at the scene of the murder that was never identified. The film also showed their long and trying attempts at appeal in the Louisiana judicial system.
Robert King, though placed in solitary confinement under investigation for the same murder, was charged with the murder of another inmate a year later, even though the actual murderer had already confessed to killing the inmate in self defense. At their trial, King and his codefendant were kept bound and gagged. In a retrial, King was convicted once again. But in 2001 he was awarded a second appeal, where he was offered a chance to plead guilty to the lesser charge of conspiracy to commit murder. He explained the conflict of taking the deal while addressing an audience of the film at the Law School at University of Pittsburgh.
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While promoting and travelling with the film King has used the tagline, “its more than a movie, it’s a movement”, a sentiment that reflects how the Angola 3 strive to fight for not only themselves but others targeted by the larger social and political picture that created their situation.
While addressing the crowd at Pitt Law King talked about the nature of the whole legal system of America, at many times comparing it to slavery.
One audience member asked King how he survived 29 years in solitary confinement, and 32 years in prison without losing his sanity.
When asked why the Angola 3 have been kept in solitary confinement for such a long time, prison officials at Angola have claimed it was because they could never be rehabilitated from Black Pantherism. King talked a lot about his relation to and involvement with the Black Panther Party, and what it means today.
Herman and Albert were removed from solitary confinement for a short time in 2008, but were returned this past year, for unnamed investigations. Albert was granted a new trial, but that ruling was overturned. They continue to fight for their freedom.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, WLRI LanChester, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are Emily Laychek and Juliana Stricklen with contributions from Seth Bearden, Emily Laychek, Jessica McPherson, Kirsi Jansa, David Meieran, and Hannah Talib. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
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Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.