Police: not quite what we think?

By Mitra Nourbakhsh

Police officers are supposed to be big, burly, unafraid men. At least, that’s the stereotype. But Souroth Chatterji, an officer with the Pittsburgh Police, says differently. In reality, he says, they are “just regular people with an irregular job”

Chatterji told us a funny story about how he and a colleague of his both have phobias of bees. One time the other officer swore that there was a bee in their patrol car and refused to get in. Chatterji also wouldn’t get in the car. In the end, they had to get a third police officer to come and get the bee out before they could go patrol.A similar thing happened recently. Chatterji hates fire, but he had to rescue people from an actively burning building in Bakery Square. He was scared, what with all the smoke and flames, but he got through it.

When asked why he became a cop, he didn’t respond like you might think he would. Instead of saying that he did it to stop crime, he said he did it because he liked meeting new people and being a problem-solver. Chatterji has met a ton of famous people just from walking around and patrolling the street. He loves dogs, and one time he saw two pit bulls being walked by their owner. He went to play with the dogs, and it turned out that the person was Denzel Washington, who was in Pittsburgh shooting the movie Fences. The actor invited Chatterji to dinner with his family later that night. Chatterji likes being on patrol much more than being in an office as a detective because of the very fact that he gets to meet all these amazing people. And it really has nothing to do with the stopping crime aspect- Chatterji hates guns. He says that they are “somewhat obnoxious – loud and heavy,” and that firing them during training is scary.

It makes sense that Chatterji never intended to be a cop while growing up. He is originally from Kolkata, India. His mother’s job moved them to Pittsburgh, where he went to Mount Lebanon for high school. After high school, he decided to join the army. After he got tired of the military, he went to the University of Pittsburgh for college, majoring in history.But he realized two things: first, that there was not much of a job market for historians; and secondly, he really missed the structured army. To him, the Police Force was something in between.

Many stereotypes about police are completely false -, although Chatterji says that an unsettling number of them (including the stereotype that cops love donuts) are actually a little bit accurate. But “an overarching statement about that many people can’t ever really be true,” and Souroth Chatterji is living proof of that.

 

‘Not flesh of my flesh … But still miraculously my own’: Looking into adopted lives in Pittsburgh

By: Isabella Klein

Adoption is much more common than you might think in Pittsburgh, and it is a different experience for every person. Everyone has a different story. In the span of three days, I interviewed fifteen  people who either were adopted, or knew someone who was.

Some people define adoption as a child finding a home – but the story doesn’t start or end there. The reality is that children are born and then brought to strangers, people who they don’t know but will completely change their lives. Many will face bullying and harassment, and struggle with identity issues that stem from not knowing their heritage.

Children get adopted at all different ages. Some get adopted soon after birth – like Joelle, age 12, who was adopted as a newborn here in Pittsburgh. Even though she was adopted as a newborn, she was still afraid of her parents in the beginning of her life, and would hide from them.

When asked about how her life would be different if she wasn’t adopted, Joelle said she didn’t think it would be as good as it is right now.  “My parents are very loving people,” she said.  Her brother, age 16, was also adopted at the age of one. Joelle said her brother was bullied so badly for being adopted that he had to change schools. Fortunately, she did not have the same experience.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF LIANA MANEESE

Liana Maneese, was adopted from Brazil around thirty years ago. She also experienced bullying due to her status as an adopted child. Maneese, has written articles for PublicSource about her struggles with identity issues,  said she heard rude comments from both children and adults when growing up. She said children would always bully in an obvious way because they didn’t understand adoption. But she said adults are often the most offensive of all.

They would say offensive things without knowing such as ‘’You’re so lucky’’ or discuss her identity and not acknowledge her presence. Liana is the founder of Adopting Identity.  Adopting Identity is for adopted children in a biracial family. Liana herself is in a biracial family. Her family is White and she is African American. Growing up her own identity confused her. She is allergic to many things in Pittsburgh’s climate and the plants. Her body wasn’t made for our climate and she has a lot of fears that still controls her emotional life. Liana said “I think that is such a privilege that people don’t think of. Just being able to say this happened, even if it’s terrible. Being able to say, this is why this happens. But not having that is really challenging.’’ Liana also would like to enjoy some culture tradition.

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PHOTO COURTESY TO JAEDYN

Jaedyn, age 13, was adopted from China when she was just one year old. She said she would also like to take part in more cultural traditions. Jaedyn knows that for Chinese New Year, some people have parties and festivals, which she would be open to learn more about and partake in. Jaedyn was adopted because her mom wasn’t with anyone, but wanted a child.

                                                                                                                

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MEKKA WAS ADOPTED. PHOTO BY ISABELLA KLEIN

Mekka, age 14, was adopted by her paternal grandma. She lived with her on-and-off since she was three months old. She lived with her mother in Indiana. Her mom was in a custody battle for a while until a man named Mr. Yates came to Indiana and brought her back to Pittsburgh to be with her grandma in the end. She has seven siblings but she was the only one adopted by her grandma. Mekkais the second youngest. She has friends and family who were also adopted.

Many others know people who were adopted such as Jason who knows some people adopted from Romania, Africa, and China. They are 13, 6, and one is in their 20s. The six year old was adopted at around the age of 4. The 13 year old was adopted at around the age of 10. Andrew, who works at PF/PCA has a friend who he has known for almost 10 years who is in her twenties that was adopted. She is from Taiwan. She has never gone back to visit Taiwan. Some students at PF/PCA, have  friends and family who were adopted at different ages such as three and four.

Alexandra is a camper at PF/PCA, mom was adopted from West Virginia when she was around three days old. All of her mom’s siblingswere also put up for adoption. Three of them were adopted together. Her sister was adopted separately. She doesn’t speak to the three adopted who were together but does with her sibling who was adopted individually like her, who now lives in California. Alexandra is happy her mom got adopted because her life would be different if her mom was never adopted. Her mom is mixed and her parents are caucasian.

Before finding a forever home some go into foster care. Patty Glancy and her three siblings were all in foster care until the age of eighteen. They never got adopted but Glancy says she has no regrets. Glancy was in a home with only one of  her siblings where they didn’t care much about the children. She is the only one of her siblings still living.

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DEBRA KLEIN MEETING HER DAUGHTER ISABELLA KLEIN. PHOTO COURTESY TO THE KLEIN FAMILY.

I myself am adopted from Guatemala.  I was adopted when I was around five months old. Before my adoption I was in a foster home where I spent my first Christmas.  I met my parents on January 31st, which is a day we celebrate every year.  Like some other people who spoke about their adoption, I had some unknown actions that cannot be explained. I would scream when getting a bath when I was a baby.  My parents and  I still don’t know how to explain this action to this day. I possibly would like to have a quinceañera as a culture tradition. Guatemala ended their adoptions around ten years ago due to mass corruptions. You could very easily pay off the government and lawyers. The Hague Convention was a treaty regarding procedures and standards for adoptions that resulted in the end of Guatemala’s faulty adoption system.

Over the span of three days I interviewed many people who have unique stories about their adoption experience. Pittsburgh has been a place for many who have been adopted and started families. Everyone’s story is different, which makes them unique to them. Even after facing many difficulties like not knowing their heritage, most people overcome these difficulties with support and guidance.  A take away form this can be a quote by Fleur Conkling Heyliger:

Not flesh of my flesh

Nor bone of my bone,

But still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute,

You didn’t grow under my heart

But in it.

 

The temperatures in Pittsburgh are changing, and faster than you think

                                                                     By: Nate Chinman

Over the past hundred years, temperatures in Pittsburgh have risen and fallen. You may think these fluctuations were due to the steel mills and factories in Pittsburgh, but they were actually caused by two other things. One cause is widely known, but when I interviewed people about the other cause, only 23.1 percent knew about it.

As many people know, the weather has been fluctuating in Pittsburgh for a long time, but climate change isn’t the only culprit. The other reason is a span of years in the early 1970s with low average temperatures, a period of time that I refer to as the “Big Dip.”

Once I discovered the Big Dip, I wanted to find out what caused it. At first thought, I imagined it may have been due to the steel mills, but the timeframe didn’t line up. When I looked into snowfall, I discovered there were a bunch of cold winters in a row right at that time – and the Blizzard of ‘78 hit right in the middle of the Big Dip.

According to Neil Donahue, professor of chemical engineering, chemistry, and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, one reason for the Blizzard of ‘78 was the fact it was a special type of year. That type of year is called a La Nina year, and it means there was a lot of wind over the Pacific Ocean, making less heat go into the atmosphere and creating a colder temperature. After the Big Dip, Pittsburgh temperatures began to rise steadily. I figured out it was climate change. The graph below represents the Big Dip and climate change.

Raindrops glisten on a leaf in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh on July 13, 2017. That day was the third in a streak of extremely rainy days in the region.



Raindrops continue the three day rain streak in Pittsburgh.

 

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The smooth line going through the middle shows the trending temperature. The red arrow points to the Big Dip. The orange arrow shows the rise due to climate change. The world temperature has risen around 2º since 1970 according to Donahue.

This next graph shows the snowfall at and around the Big Dip at the time.

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As the green arrow on this graph shows, snow levels in Pittsburgh are starting to decline. The snow levels haven’t been as low as they are now since 1949, according to Donahue.

 

I conducted a survey about people and their knowledge on climate change and the Blizzard of ‘78, which was a cause for the Big Dip. Below are the results of the surveys.

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The “not Asked” is the person who answered no on the first question

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The truth about the change in temperature in Pittsburgh is climate change but also the Storm of ‘78. from the Big Dip to the current climate change and how that is affecting the weather in the city of Pittsburgh, a place I’ve been proud to call home for the 11 years of my life. Over many years the world has changed, but Pittsburgh will be a casualty.

A thousand thanks to these websites!

http://www.blizzardof78.org

http://www.weatherwise.org/Archives/Back%20Issues/2012/January-February%202012/top-us-weather-full.html

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2012/04/22/How-climate-change-will-affect-Pennsylvania/stories/201204220205

Click to access histemp.pdf

http://www.weather.gov/pbz/pit_records

The terrifying fact about car chases

By: Isaiah Trumbull

Car chases are the single most deadly thing that police officers do. USA Today reports that  Police chase happens roughly about thousands of times across the country every year.

Police are trained specially to drive cars at high speeds during busy times. Most citizens are not trained properly to drive cars at high speeds. In result, citizens tend to typically crash the vehicle during car chases. Officers try to avoid car chases at all costs according to Souroth, a Pittsburgh Police Officer. An example of this is that if they pull someone over because of a ticket and he drives away.The officer can take a picture of the license plate and find the person in their records. Oppose, to jeopardizing other civilians by getting into a car chase.

“Car chases can sometimes result in several deaths.” Says Officer Chatterji, law enforcement in Pittsburgh.

Law enforcement officers practice their high speed driving skills at airports everywhere. Rubber cones can supplement for obstacles on these high speed courses because they don’t pose any serious threat or cause much damage when run over. According, to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in the past 10 years 393 police officers were killed by auto accidents. Many of these deaths were related to car chases. Police around the world are experiencing the same problems as the Police in the United States are facing.

Many innocent people are killed every year from the direct result of a car chase. There are many ways to prevent police crashes. One is by driving with caution and being aware of your surroundings. A takeaway lesson can be quoted from Souroth Chatterji. He believes the state should do everything, “To make you whole again.