⚠️ COVID-19's U.S. death toll is bigger than Pittsburgh
Plus, we'll see you tonight.
Hello and welcome to Wednesday.
Snow is cool, but have you ever tried shoveling for a neighbor?
Yes, there is snow in the forecast today — several inches of it (or more) for the Pittsburgh area — and we thought we'd take a moment to remind you that the city's Snow Angel program is currently accepting volunteers and requests for help.
Once you're done shoveling, you may be tempted to preserve the fruits of your labor with a well-placed parking chair. But read our Pittsburghpedia entry on the chair's history, fame, and complicated ethics before you do.
Here's what else we have for you today: Another grim COVID-19 milestone, the Pittsburgh Police Bureau's repeat offenders, defund the MOC?, UPMC's Irish eyes, and Star Lake gets its name back.
What Pittsburgh is talking about
All is calm. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @majokophoto)
4 things to know today
📈 COVID-19 has now killed more than 300,000 Americans, the equivalent of the entire city of Pittsburgh being wiped out in nine months. The Associated Press reports on the staggering numbers here and the bleak winter forecast, as the worst respiratory pandemic we've seen in over 102 years rages on. There are glimmers of hope: Vaccine distribution is ramping up in states like Pennsylvania, with more vaccines nearing approval. But Gov. Tom Wolf is clear: "It's going to be months before enough people have been vaccinated that it makes a big difference."
🚨 What happens to Pittsburgh police who are credibly accused of misconduct? Not much, apparently. PublicSource dug into the bureau's disciplinary records and found one officer with 199 allegations over 10 years and 22 officers with five substantiated claims against them or more. And while a majority of officers faced just a handful of complaints over the years, a number violated Pittsburgh Bureau of Police policies only to remain on the force and violate those policies again and again. Find the full story here.
💵 "Defund the MOC"? Millions of dollars earmarked for the contested Mon-Oakland Connector project (MOC) in Pittsburgh's budget are being reallocated to help address the economic fallout of the pandemic here. The money is being shifted to a housing fund, to help small businesses, and to make improvements to pedestrian infrastructure in Hazelwood — one of three neighborhoods on the MOC's path. Critics have long challenged the MOC's proposed benefits and promised beneficiaries. Backers say they remain committed to making it a reality. 90.5 WESA has more here.
🏥 UPMC's footprint is growing … in Ireland. The Pittsburgh-based health care giant announced this week that it recently acquired Ireland's oldest hospital, Aut Even. It's the third hospital acquired by UPMC in Ireland and joins outposts in Italy, China, and Kazakhstan. TribLIVE has more on the acquisition here. UPMC has been aggressively expanding across Pennsylvania and neighboring states in recent years. PennLive wrote about that ongoing campaign and its controversies.
4 things to make you smile
🎤 You were probably still calling it Star Lake anyway, but the Burgettstown amphitheater is now officially "The Pavilion at Star Lake." The Beaver County Times has more on the new / old name here.
✈️ "Odd Tales from the Terminal" is our new favorite feature on the bizarre, the heart-warming, and the bizarrely heart-warming things that happen inside airports like Pittsburgh International. Blue Sky News has a roundup here.
🌏 Pitt's famed Nationality Rooms are all decked out for the holidays, featuring traditions from around the world. Get your passport here, from 90.5 WESA.
🍫 Sarris Candies says it sold 5,000 hot chocolate bombs in two hours and the demand crashed its website. City Paper explains what the fuss is all about.
😢 Don't miss out
Our members are getting a private party tonight at 6.
What's it all about? Imagine this newsletter come to life: We'll be gathering on Zoom to play games like I Spy and our news quizzes live and in person (*not really in person). We'll also have a quick cooking demo from Shannon Daly, the Pittsburgh food blogger and author we profiled in this newsletter a few months back. And, of course, hilarity and high jinks will ensue.
Want in? Become an Incline Insider today and save 50 percent with discount code HALFOFF. Once you've joined, we'll send you the registration link.
Things to do
✋ Get your stampers ready for a virtual Bingo bash benefitting the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Western PA/WV chapter (Online)
🌎 Explore your relationship to the environment and our climate in this dialogue organized by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Online)
🎊 Join a day-long birthday bash for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy on their social media channels — @pittsburghparks on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok (Online)
🔌 Let Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo host you for a salute to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with fan-favorite clips, their favorite memories of making it, and live answers to your questions (Online)
🎊 Enjoy the magic and excitement of the season with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Tapestry of Light: A Holiday Celebration (Online)
🎤 Check in with the latest installment of 1Hood Media's Power Hour, a virtual forum to discuss all things political in Pittsburgh and beyond (Online)
One more thing ...
What's a Streaming Space Station? It's a cool new Downtown public art installation by artists Alisha B. Wormsley and Ricardo Iamuuri Robinson — see for yourself here — and was created for Liftoff PGH.
What's Liftoff PGH? (You're so inquisitive. We love it!)
Liftoff PGH is a virtual summit on the future of health care, and it wraps up today with TED Talk-style presentations on everything from entrepreneurship in health care to innovations in women's health. Here's the full day's lineup. Tickets range from $40 to $75.
Thanks for reading to the bottom. We'll see you tomorrow.