This year’s flu season is “unrelenting,” as one local doctor put it. And Allegheny County is the epicenter. Allegheny County has had the most flu cases in the state with 5,174. At this point last year, there were only 212. So why is this year’s flu season so intense here? A rep from the PA Department of Health says, “we don’t know why and we may never know why.” But it’s not too late to get vaccinated, per the county health department. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Pittsburgh’s New Year’s resolution? Better bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The city’s 2020 capital budget set aside $17.7 million to make streets safer for all — that’s triple the funds in previous years. Projects include new pedestrian signals, bike infrastructure, and streetscape improvements meant to “rationalize” the roadway. A 10-year bike plan is set to be released by the end of January for your comments. (90.5 WESA)
Heads up for Clairton, Elizabeth, and McKeesport residents: You may be included in a big class action lawsuit settlement with U.S. Steel. Here’s what you need to know — and where you can get free legal advice on the subject tomorrow. (Environmental Health News)
Teachers are magical. But this local art teacher takes that magic to the next level. In addition to teaching at Chartiers-Houston High School, Michael Fulton also makes wooden wands by hand with unique patterns and gems, stones, leather, and feathers for flair. He’s presented his hand-carved creations to actors from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. (Observer-Reporter)
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Well … how’d it go?
Yesterday we asked you to identify the location of this statue.
If you guessed Shady Avenue (near its intersection with Kentucky Avenue) in Shadyside, then congrats, you got it right. Special congrats to reader Maria M. who got it right first, winning a free month of Incline membership. And special shout-out to Tara F. who was the third to reply and even knew the name of the sculpture and the sculptor!
“The Walk” includes an inscription dedicating it to Frank West. Frank was James’ cousin and the founder of a Shadyside-based apartment management company, according to a 2011 edition of Shady Ave. magazine.
Frank’s family commissioned the statue in 2009 and it was dedicated years later, on what would have been his 79th birthday.
James told us by phone: “Frank was my cousin, but he was so much more than that — he was a friend and a mentor and his family asked me to do this (sculpture for him) but they did not want his likeness, they wanted it to be something about his essence.”
James said Frank was committed to urban renewal with a conscience and respect for neighbors, neighborhoods, and aesthetics. That’s the “essence” James said he tried to capture in the artwork, and he says with all the development happening now in the East End, it’s a message that’s as relevant as ever.
But why is it outside that random apartment building at 521 Shady Avenue?
Turns out the spot isn’t random at all, but rather the site of Frank the developer’s last project — it’s also next to his first projects at 513 and 517 Shady Ave.
So there you have it. Now you can impress your friends with your knowledge next time you drive by.
As always, thanks for playing I Spy. We’ll see you back here next week with another clue. Know somebody else who would like to play? Forward this newsletter and tell them to subscribe.
🎬 Head Back to the Future and into the 5th element at Sci Fi Fest 2020 (Lawrenceville)
🌺 Smell the flowers at the Little Shop of Horrors concert (Oakland)
👩 Join James Beard Award semifinalist Meredith Meyer Grelli for an energetic look at the 8-year growth of her companies (Shadyside)
😂 Laugh with comedy duo JFLE (Jerome & Jesse LE) at a special preview of the 19th Annual SF Sketchfest (Downtown)
📚 Read up on this double book launch with Bill Lychack & Jeff Oaks (East Liberty)
🎨 Paint with local artists and raise funds while designing a sign (Crafton)
👊 Support the fight against childhood cancer with local live music (Garfield)
💪 Get a free health screening, dietary consultation, and fitness class (Hill District)
⛺ Camp out at the Pittsburgh RV Show 2020 — through Jan. 19 (Downtown)
💛 Take a guided tour of the Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibition (Strip District)
🎭 Buckle up for a new play from Broadway’s most produced female playwright, Theresa Rebeck – through Feb. 2 (South Side)
🍻 Drink beer during the grains-to-glass brewery tour — and Feb. 15 (Larimer)
💪 Work out with local gyms and wellness vendors at Taste of Fitness Pittsburgh (East Liberty)
🍺 Stretch with brews at Poses and Pints (Highland Park)
🐍 Slide or crawl to the Pittsburgh Reptile Expo (Cheswick)
🏃 Run and learn about Uptown's murals and other public art (Uptown)
🍝 Learn how to make homemade pasta just like “nonna” (Regent Square)
📷 Model and photograph inside the Cathedral of Learning at this winter portfolio shoot (Oakland)
🍴 Dine all over the city during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week winter edition — through Jan. 17 (Various Locations)
👩 Meet newly-elected Edgewood councilperson Tara Yaney (Edgewood)
⚖️ Join a copyright workshop for graduate students working on theses and dissertations (Oakland)
🍷 Explore wines with Old World roots (Lawrenceville)
💰 Get financially fit this year (Squirrel Hill)
🍍 Discover nature’s healing superfoods and the joy of making meals from scratch (Greentree)
💚 Learn how to officially change your name or gender marker in Allegheny County (Lawrenceville)
🚱 Break from drinking with dry January happy hours — through Jan. 31 (Downtown)
👪 Take little lotus yogis to explore mindfulness and yoga techniques — through Feb 5. (Mt. Lebanon)
🔨 Build a wooden side table with hairpin legs (Garfield)
💊 Meet pharmacy hiring managers at an intern career fair (Oakland)
🎉 Celebrate Max King, the 2020 Pittsburgher of the Year (North Shore)
🙏 Commemorate 412 Food Rescue heroes (Strip District)
🎂 Kick-off Beethoven's 250th birthday by exploring his connections to Andy Warhol (North Shore)
💭 Journey into Carl Jung's Red Book with The Way of What is to Come (Shadyside
💻 Learn the basics of building websites (Larimer)
🌱 Sip tea and discover the medicinal value of plants (Oakland)
Shout-out to Bae Bae’s Kitchen for making Yelp’s list of top 100 places to eat around the country this year. The Downtown restaurant describes itself as “fresh, organic, healthy, local, sustainable, Korean-inspired fast casual dining” and says it’s “made daily with love.”
Kinda like this newsletter. 💌
See you back here on Monday.