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Plus, read this local writer’s essay for Suicide Prevention Week.
The Incline

🐕 Meet Boone, the local therapy pup up for the Hero Dog Award

Plus, read this local writer’s essay for Suicide Prevention Week.

By Francesca Dabecco

It’s Thursday, Pittsburgh.

Summer might be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the bustle is about to stop in the ‘Burgh. Today kicks off RADical Days, a free month-long arts and culture events initiative running through Oct. 10. It’s all starting tonight at Lights On! A Three-Day Celebration of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District with live music, dancing, gallery crawls, and theatrical performances. You’re gonna want to keep a lookout for upcoming free admission days at local museums.

And if that wasn’t enough excitement, today also marks the return of “Shopopoly Remix,” a 10 day shopping event supporting small Downtown businesses still struggling due to the pandemic. The event runs until Sept. 18 and gives Pittsburghers the chance to win more than $4,000 worth of prizes, from gift cards to hotel stays to dinner at local restaurants. So how do you play? Get your free game card stamped at any of the 27 participating stores and turn it in for your chance to win.

See what I mean? Pittsburgh is still packed with fun as we head into fall. You know what’s also packed? The rest of this newsletter. Scroll for today’s headlines and more events you’re going to want to put on your calendar.

What Pittsburgh is talking about

🚲 What's better than biking and burgers? 🍔 This local's Instagram has both. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @fattireburgerbike)

4 things to know today

🏫 Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet resigned after four years leading the state’s second-largest school district. The State Ethics Commission filed a violations report last month against Hamlet, potentially prompting his resignation which goes into effect Oct. 1. The board said an interim replacement would be selected by Sept. 29. (90.5 WESA

🏥 Highmark has acquired full ownership of Gateway Health, a company that provides health insurance to more than 355,000 Pennsylvanians. Meanwhile, in more healthcare news: Just last week, the federal government filed a civil action suit against Dr. James Luketich and UPMC, alleging violation of Medicare billing laws and patient standards of care. Experts say that UPMC’s reputation will likely not be significantly impacted by the allegations. (90.5 WESA / TribLIVE)

🎄Bah Humbug! After four decades, WPXI-TV announced that it will no longer be putting on its annual holiday parade and broadcast Downtown: “We know it is a popular part of the holiday tradition for Pittsburghers and leave the door open to future broadcast opportunities if production partners arise...Thank you to all past participants and parade watchers for the wonderful memories and moments!” (TribLIVE)

🚲 Take the safest route on your bike (or scooter) with this Pittsburgh City Paper guide. Riding (and driving) in Pittsburgh can be confusing because very little of the city is a grid, but this article breaks down the best routes by region and neighborhood. (Pittsburgh City Paper)

4 things to make you smile

🐕 This very good boy is a finalist for the American Humane Hero Dog Award. Boone, a beagle mix who lost his back legs after being mistreated as a puppy, now brings joy to anxious travelers at the Pittsburgh International Airport. On his “about” page, it says that Boone deserves to win because “he inspires those around him every day to overcome the obstacles that life throws at them.” (Pittsburgh City Paper)

🏈 Word on the street is, this Steelers art is too cool. Word artist Dan Duffy created a Heinz Field calligram — words arranged to form a picture — with the name of every Steelers football player dating back to 1933. In his Instagram caption, Dan said it took 200 hours to create 13,596 tiny letters, 1,608 player names, six championship teams, and one Heinz Field. (TribLIVE)

🍎 This kosher store in Squirrel Hill is fighting food insecurity with free groceries. What started as a pop-up store with a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh turned into a permanent space that alleviates hunger in the community while allowing people to maintain their pride. “That’s the gap. Dignity is really important to the extent that people will go hungry rather than giving up their dignity,” store owner Rabbi Rosenfeld said. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

🏆 You can find one of the “Greatest Places in Pennsylvania” within just a 10 minute drive outside the city. The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association highlighted Butler Street in Etna for its sustainable practices, accessible streets, and community significance. Of the 18 nominations including greenways/trails, public spaces, and streets, Butler Street was the only street of three to make the list. (Pittsburgh Magazine)

💛A huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts

Another huge thank you to all of our new members who signed up these past few weeks! While we don’t have any fun games for you today, you can look forward to our members-only weekend guide tomorrow. 

As always — know that my inbox is always open. Whether you have ideas, feedback, or just want to say “hey,” I’m all ears. This newsletter is as much yours as it is mine. 

And while we have you here — if you know someone who might like this newsletter, do me a favor — do them a favor — and tell them to subscribe.

Promotion from Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Downtown Sept 9-18 – Shop and Play to Win!

Pick up a game card at participating retailers!

Today

👚 Learn about history, fashion, and feminism at a panel with Women and Girls Foundation inspired by the Frick museum’s exhibition “Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls, 1800-1960” (Online)

🎭 Kick off Lights On! A Three-day celebration of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District with performances, exhibitions, events, and more. (Downtown)

📽️ Enjoy an inclusive and insightful film festival exploring the lives of people living with disabilities at the Carnegie Museum of art, through Sept. 12 (Oakland)

Tomorrow

🌱 View the stories of national and regional food systems at the opening night of “Food Justice: Growing a Healthier Community Through Art,” by Contemporary Craft (Lawrenceville)

🇬🇧 Mystery Lovers: Hear Anna Lee Huber talk about her new book and find out what mystery series are coming up on WQED (Online)

🎭 Continue celebrating Lights On! With live performances and a Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District (Downtown)

🎨 Browse work from nearly 100 fine artisans and craftsmen at A Fair in the Park organized by The Craftsmen's Guild of Pittsburgh, through Sunday (Shadyside)

🍻 Enjoy suds and sounds at Barrel & Flow, the country’s first Black arts and craft beer festival, through Sunday (SouthSide Works)

☘️ Eat shepherd's pie, drink beer, and enjoy live performances at the Pittsburgh Irish Festival at The Lots at Sandcastle, through Sunday (West Homestead)

Saturday

🎭 Celebrate the final day of Lights On! With a family-friendly first-ever Baby Rave at Allegheny Overlook, then later, performances by Pittsburgh Opera’s award-winning artists (Downtown)

🌮 Eat tacos and support the work of the Latin American Cultural Union and Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation at the Original Pittsburgh Taco Festival (Strip District Terminal)

♻️ Drop off any household chemicals for recycling at the Pennsylvania Resource Council’s recycling event (South Park)

🏙️ Explore Fifth Avenue by the Numbers, a Doors Open tour that visits site once used by Pittsburgh’s numbers gambling barons (Downtown)

🌱 Learn how to grow hydroponic plants with Contemporary Craft’s Food Justice exhibiting artist Jeff Schmuki (Lawrenceville)

Sunday

👟 Learn about the history of our city’s special pedestrian travel at Simply Steps: A City Steps Tour of Troy Hill and Spring Garden by MisSteps (North Side)

🎷 Kickoff Jazz Poetry Month at City of Asylum, in person or online, with a mix of Jazz, Arabic Music, and improvisation  (North Side / Online)

🌇Enjoy One Last Summer Weekend at Bay 41 with food, beverage, and craft vendors. Register at the link and bring a $5 donation to Children’s Hospital (Lawrenceville)

Monday

💙Join United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania in giving back to the community during a very special week of volunteer activities (Across Western PA)

Promotion from ThredUp

Fall outfits from $8!

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One more thing … 

“It all started with a muffin.” That’s how Dr. Rachel Kallem Whitman opened up her first-person essay about how a gift from a stranger helped to kickstart her mental health recovery. She shares the woes of imposter syndrome as she was writing her dissertation in disability studies for an Educational Leadership degree at Duquesne, enduring struggles she experiences with bipolar 1 disorder, and the lessons she has learned while coping and recovering.

Her words are so thoughtful and revealing of the human experience, and I urge you to give them a read. (Trigger warning: the article talks about suicide.) And if you like her essay, go buy her memoir “Instability in Six Colors.”

This week is National Suicide Prevention week, and I’m so glad to share these words from an amazing local educator, advocate, writer… and friend. If you or someone you know needs immediate support, help is available 24/7 at the National Suicide Prevention hotline: 800-273-8255.

Take care,

— Francesca at The Incline

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