Long-time Pittsburgh Public School Board director Jean Fink was retained as the Carrick Community Council President during the civic organization's election that took place at the monthly meeting Nov. 12 at the Concord Elementary School auditorium.
Mrs. Fink, a school board member who serves as the District 7 representative, ran unopposed as Carrick CC president just like the other three officers on the slate.
Also elected to serve are Natalia Rudiak as vice-president; Brandon Dilla as secretary and Kate Thomes as treasurer.
All four officers are active community advocates for Carrick. Ms. Rudiak is the 29th Ward Democratic Committee treasurer while Ms. Thomes, is a former small business owner in Carrick who serves as a tree tender in the Urban Forester program that is being established in Carrick, one of the first neighborhoods in the city to institute this endeavor.
In addition to this quartet of community activists, there were seven "at-large" board members elected at the meeting. Those elected to serve on the board are Phyllis Bianculli, the 29th Ward Democratic Committee secretary and the Carrick liasion for the Hilltop Neighborhood Alliance; Cindy Falls, a long-time Carrick High faculty member who oversees the school's health-tech magnet program; Kris Happe, an aspiring public administrator; Bernie Majeski, one of the original members of the Carrick CC when it was established more than 30 years ago; Melissa Rosenfeld, a strong advocate for public-safety issues; Julia Tomasic, a business owner in Carrick; and Alice Vaday, a local realtor and the coordinator of the Carrick Tree Tenders program.
It was noted at the meeting that several younger persons have been joining Carrick Community Council in recent years, giving the community group a shot in the arm that should carry into the future with new ideas and enthusiasm. Ms. Rudiak, Mr. Dilla and Mr. Happe, are among those on the board who could be characterized as persons having a long-term outlook on the direction of the neighborhood.
"We're making a comeback," one of the members of the Carrick CC said.
Mrs. Fink noted there are quite a few signs of vitality that Carrick is beginning to turn around for the better as evidenced by the Litter Patrol program that has really taken off on a regular basis at many blocks in the neighborhood, as well as through the Urban Forester program that is being funded and supported through the City Mayor's Office.
A positive aspect that was brought up at the meeting included District Magisterial Judge Richard King's report that the independent A+ Schools advocacy group finds that the elementary schools in Carrick have shown remarkable academic progress among its young students over the past two years.
Also, Mrs. Bianculli believes Carrick's involvement with the Hilltop Neighborhood Alliance has the potential for many positive things locally as far as improved housing, economic and business development and improved services.
"[The Hilltop Neighborhood Alliance] has some ambitious plans, but we believe they are achievable," Mrs. Bianculli said.
Perhaps the only discouraging note of the evening was the call for increased donations to the Carrick Food Bank which has been struggling to keep up with its list of families in need. The list has grown from 60 last year to 80 this year as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach.
The children of Roosevelt and Concord schools will be taking part in food drives at their respective schools this week. It was asked that anyone donating canned goods to the food bank, or any other perishable item, make sure the expiration date has not passed on these items. One of the food bank advocates said that quite a bit of donated food must be thrown out because it has expired.
Food Bank volunteers have plans to put together Thanksgiving turkey dinners for the families who use the food bank services.