Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bike Pittsburgh tells story of death to a cyclist in East End of Pgh

Police on the look out for a white car with front-end damage
Another hit-and-run took place in Pittsburgh, this time on Penn Ave in Point Breeze.

We have very little information at this point, but we are saddened to report that at 5am, 46-year old Homewood resident, James Price, was struck from behind and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Penn Ave at Penfield Ct in Point Breeze.

Witnesses say that the driver was in a white car, which sped off toward East Liberty at about 60 mph and now has front end damage. So far, a description of the driver has not been released.

As reported by WPXI, a witness said that "on the side of the road was a bicycler. He had his headlight on and everything. Then two cars ahead of us, going 50 or 60 mph just blew him off his bike." Further reports detail that the victim was wearing a helmet and had a rear light and reflector as well.

According to the Post-Gazette, Mr. Price was the father of an 11-year-old daughter, and that he had gotten in shape over the last two years by riding several times a day, helping to alleviate his diabetes.

"He was going on a positive path," said his niece, Briana Jackson, whom he was encouraging to ride.

Mr. Price was the first person killed within Pittsburgh city limits while riding a bike since June 2010, when 6-year old Tyrique Snowden Hill was killed in the Knoxville neighborhood. Previous to that, Timothy Kish struck and killed Rui Hui Lin in Oakland in 2009. That crash was also a hit-and-run, but Kish turned himself in after several days. We can only hope the driver of today's crash does the same.

Please be alert: If you see a white car with front end damage or have information on the suspect, please call Pittsburgh homicide detectives at 412-323-7800.

Putting an End to Hit and Runs
Earlier this month, Governor Corbett signed "Sean's Law," closing the loophole for fatal hit-and-runs. Spearheaded by Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana), the law Sean's Law is named after the Indiana County cyclist, Sean Pearce, who was killed by a hit and run driver in Burrell Township.

The bill closed a loophole, that unintentionally gave a hit-and-run driver an incentive to flee especially if the driver is intoxicated. It increased the penalty for a fatal hit-and-run accident from a third-degree to a second-degree felony.

A fatal hit-and-run carries a mandatory prison term of at least one year, with a maximum sentence of seven years. By comparison, a fatal crash that involves a drunk driver is a second-degree felony with a much stiffer penalty range of three to 10 years.

Because of this difference, drunk drivers involved in a deadly crash would face less punishment if they leave the scene and turn themselves in later (when they are sober).

The bill signed by the Governor on July 5, unfortunately won't be in effect until September.

We'll keep our readers updated as details of this tragedy unfold.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Comments about Schenley High School to PPS Board from a citizen

Annette Werner
July 23, 2012
PPS Public Hearing

Last month I spoke about the implications of reports that Schenley's plaster is not actually Asbestos Containing Material ("ACM").

At the time, I assumed that recent testing had been done in connection with proposals for the sale of the building.

Since that time, I have learned that the testing showing only trace levels of asbestos was actually done by Kimball in May 2009.

Although there were many news releases about how asbestos plaster was thought to be a problem at Schenley, there were apparently no news releases with corrected information when the May 2009 results were received. This failure to inform the public of corrected information is especially disturbing in light of two documents that I am including with my testimony:

1) A copy of a February 2009 petition, presented at the February 2009 public hearing and signed by 200 Pittsburgh residents, requesting an inspection of the Schenley plaster and,

2) A Right to Know Law request I submitted in April 2009 requesting a copy of "All reports prepared as part of the current facilities study regarding the condition of buildings and work needed for the Schenley, McKelvy/Miller, Vann, Woolslair and Connelly facilities (once these reports have been received by PPS)." (The deJong/Kimball team conducted the facilities study).

Also enclosed is an example of a document showing that at least since 1998 it has been industry practice to retest suspected ACM using the point count method when initial tests showed asbestos less than 10%, due to findings that labs were greatly overstating asbestos levels on initial tests. For some reason retesting was not done until AFTER the vote to close the building.

Can you understand how something like this affects public trust and confidence in the school district?

If PPS continues on a path toward disposing of this public treasure, I think it is very important to have a full investigation and accountability by those responsible for the failure to conduct adequate tests prior to the vote to close, the failure to disclose results when new tests were finally done, and the resulting waste of public funds and loss of this building.

City Paper Article:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Good news social media


Erik Rauterkus, rising senior at Obama Academy, coach with PPS Summer Dreamers Swim and Waterpolo Camp at UPrep, PA Youth Governor, was featured in Post-Gazette's photos of the day today, July 18, 2012. He was the winner of the Junior Race at the Citiparks Bud Harris Cycling Oval last night, in  90+ degree heat.

Mark Rauterkus

Mark Rauterkus    
PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim and Water Polo Camp Head Coach with Neighborhood Learning Alliance

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Erik on the radio today

China kids in Lake Shore, Michigan

NPR Topics: Story of the Day Podcast


Book TV interview: It usually begins with Ron Paul.

Kids ages 10 to 14 can get free IMPACT TESTS with UPMC this summer

HEADS UP Pittsburgh, a partnership between the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, the Community College of Allegheny County and UPMC Sports Medicine, have announced that they will fund FREE Neurocognitive Baseline Testing for YOUTH ATHLETES of any sport this summer.  Feel Free to forward this message to all interested groups, organizations, teams and individuals. 

Here are the details of the program:

·         Athletes MUST be between 10 and 14 years old ON DATE OF TESTING to qualify for the FREE Neurocognitive Baseline Test.  No exceptions allowed

·         Athletes between 6 and 9 years old can test but MUST pay $25.00 and test ONLY at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine Clinic

·         Athletes who are 15 years and older MUST Pay $25.00 and are allowed to test at any of the locations available throughout the summer

·         Space is limited, so registrations will be on a first come first serve basis.


·         You can direct  coaches, parents and individuals to register for a Neurocognitive Baseline Test at:

Fwd: Saving Schenley-New developments-Schenley does not contain Asbestos Containing Material!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kathy F
Date: Saturday, July 7, 2012
Subject: Saving Schenley-New developments-Schenley does not contain Asbestos Containing Material!
To: annette werner <>, Kathy F <>

Dear Public School Advocates,
We have reached another turning point on the road to save Schenley High School. Recently, Essential Public Radio (EPR) reported that the percentage of asbestos in the Schenley plaster is only .25 - .5%.  Under EPA guidelines, plaster is "Asbestos Containing Material" ("ACM") subject to regulation only if it contains 1% or more asbestos.  
What are the practical inplications of these developments?  For one, if the EPR report is correct, the vote to close Schenley was based on inaccurate information about the level of asbestos, the risks, and the costs of maintenance.  That vote should be revisited.
Another implication is that PPS has paid for, and most likely continues to pay for, unnecessary abatement contractors.  Those practices need to be reviewed.
And finally, the Schenley athletic facilities are free of asbestos.  Due to 6-12 school configurations, students in the East End face a serious shortage of practice space that could be greatly eased by retaining the Schenley building and at this time making at least the athletic facilities available for students.  As a matter of equity, for how long can we leave high school students at Milliones with facilities that are obviously inferior to those at Allderdice, Brashear and Carrick?  New pool and gym complexes cost $20M or more. 
What have we gained? There is a real question as to whether even a majority of the students who started at Sci Tech in grade 9 will graduate from Sci Tech next year.  Many, many students have left the school.  How many IB diplomas were earned at Obama this year?  Typical at Schenley before the program was moved was 20+ a year. Is achievement for Hill feeder students at Milliones any better than it was for Hill feeder students at Schenley? Will efforts to get a handle on problems at Milliones be successful?  Would students behave better if they were happier?  Could initiatives to reduce achievement disparities have been carried out under the Schenley umbrella?
What have we lost?  The only PPS high school with 100% enrollment. Hill feeder students have lost a diverse school environment and many of the sports and activities they enjoyed at Schenley.  An architecturally beautiful building with magnificent green building potential that is flooded with natural light (school environment DOES matter).  A location in Oakland that is surrounded by educational opportunities. 
We have another chance to make our voices heard and to save a part of our city's great history for our children and grandchildren.  But we need everyone to rally one more time!
MONDAY, 7/22 6PM
CALL BY 12PM ON MONDAY, 7/22 TO SIGN UP TO SPEAK (412-622-3838)
Oakland Planning and Development website:

Mark Rauterkus    
PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim and Water Polo Camp Head Coach with Neighborhood Learning Alliance

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Race Across America team forming in Pittsburgh

In 2014, Pittsburgh cyclists will be represented for the first time in the 4-person team Race Across America (RAAM) category. Patty George, Stacie Truszkowski, Ryanne Palermo and I have teamed up to form Team PHenomenal Hope to benefit the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) as we train for and participate in RAAM.

Team PHenomenal Hope will have its kick-off fundraiser on Friday, July 13th from 7:00-8:30pm EST in conjunction with the release of the "Spain Series" indoor cycling DVDs from Global Ride Productions/Cycling Fusion (, You can be among the first to experience the Spain Series training DVDs and get a great workout while benefiting Team PHenomenal Hope! ALL proceeds from this event will go to Team PHenomenal Hope and the PHA! Tom Scotto, USA Elite Coach, founder of Stage5 Cycling team will be the guest instructor for this training session.

There are two ways to participate. Anyone with a bicycle and trainer can participate in this training session from home via webcast. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, you can also come to Cycling Fusion (367 Plum Street Oakmont, PA) for the "in person" session. You can bring your own bike & trainer, or ride one of their spin bikes. (Space is limited, so please reserve your spot early!)

To participate from home or a participating club: $15,
Sign up here:

To participate in the Cycling Fusion Studio: $25,
Sign up here:

Additional information:

For up-to-date information on this event, such as the addition of other indoor cycling facilities that will be participating, please check out & RSVP to our Facebook event page:


Anne-Marie Alderson
Steel City Endurance Racing Team / Team PHenomenal Hope

Independence Day

Hi All,

All are invited to our open house on the South Side on the 4th of July. Low key. We visit. Chip in with some snacks if you wish. At 6 pm we play in the park at 12th Street and Sarah. Expect some basketball this year, for sure. At 7pm we gather and drink some lemon-aid. Sit on the deck. Watch fireworks. Socialize with some Ph.D. students and friends from all around. 

Our other standing party is New Years Day, just after the Polar Bear Swim. Put that into your calendar now. Memories of being so cold can really help as it heats up in weeks like this. 

In other news, our oldest, Erik, PA's Youth Governor, won't be here on the 4th as he is in North Carolina at the North American Congress leading the PA delegation. His bill about Title IX is advancing in the process.

Grant is gearing up as a water polo tiger that can change its stripes -- flipping from playing with the North Allegheny Tigers to Princeton Tigers for a 14-under boys squad that will go to the JOs in California at the end of the month. He'll take a second training trip to Princeton, NJ, next week. 

This summer I can use some assistance with our PPS Summer Dreamers Swim and Water Polo Camp. 

+ I'm still looking for more used trophies. I hope to recycle them to some of the 100 middle school kids I'll be coaching for 5 weeks. 

+ We're going to be running 1-mile each way from the school to the pool and back -- twice a day with four squads. Join us on a jog in Pgh's Hill District. On August 17, we do the Libery 1 Mile Race, (recently hacked)

+ I think Pittsburgh can give every 7-year-old child a swim team experience, gratis, if we tried. I blog about some of the benefits:

+ My next big idea has to do with "mobile apps." I'm wrapping up a "kwel" technology project, some software that will help our swim staff take attendance and chart progress with the kids at the summer camp. But this can expand into tech literacy for kids ages 13 to 18. So, if you think you might want your own "app"  -- send me a note and we'll talk about this possible venture. 

PS: Prayers and thoughts to all for getting well and staying safe -- especially to our parents. Not good when more are in the hospital than out.