August 18, 2009 |

Three out of six city contest winners from South Pittsburgh

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl hosted the winners of his "Six Burgh Reasons Why I©My Neighborhood" contest at a luncheon at Del's ‘80s Café, 1826 Brownsville Road in Carrick.

The six lucky winners are: Joan Bellisario of Brighton Heights; Sherri Lynn Dunik of South Side; Clara Ferreira of Brookline; Janel Jones of Hazelwood; Robert Meussner, Sr. of Carrick; and Brandon Skalniak of Carrick.

"We had many great entries, and it was obvious that a lot of time was put into them," said the mayor. "The ones selected just had something special about them - they were personal, heartwarming and made us want to go and visit that neighborhood."

The contest winners were treated to lunch with the mayor courtesy of the café's owners, Dolores "Del" and Scott Girdwood. The winning entries will be posted on the city's website and the city's cable channel, format permitting, beginning this week.

The contestants' challenge was to tell the mayor why they loved their neighborhoods - incorporating their six reasons into an essay, photos or video. Entries were submitted in all three formats.

Of the winning entries, two were essays, two were photo essays, one was a power point and one was a video cleverly done by 5½ year old Brandon Skalniak, with a little help from his parents. Some of Brandon's reasons for loving Carrick include that it's great for kids and riding bikes and his backyard is like a zoo.

The winners were selected based on creativity, originality, relevance, usefulness and content. The entries were judged by the mayor and his Neighborhood Initiatives and Communications staff.

Mayor Ravenstahl launched the contest in February to celebrate the love Pittsburghers have for their neighborhoods and the stories behind their sentiments. The contest ran for three months with plans for the luncheon tentatively scheduled for late May. Due to the primary election, the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup and summer vacations, the luncheon was rescheduled for August.

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