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South Side beating victim gets by with help from friends

| Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 10:07 a.m.
Dave Whaley, Manager at Dave's Music Mine in the South Side Thursday, December 6, 2012. Heidi Murrin Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Dave Whaley remembers little about the guy who beat him as he walked home in the South Side but won't soon forget the outpouring of generosity friends have displayed since then.

Pittsburgh musicians and businesses raised more than $20,000 to help pay the uninsured Whaley's medical bills. He said he still suffers from double vision and limited mobility in his left eye.

“I'm very overwhelmed with it — first of all, just to know you have this many friends, and second, just to be able to get this amount of help,” said Whaley, 45, manager of Dave's Music Mine on East Carson Street and a drummer for three bands.

Whaley's friends said they wanted to do something when they heard about the Nov. 11 attack at Sarah and 20th streets, which Whaley said occurred after he yelled at a reckless driver.

“It just crushed everybody's spirits,” said his friend Melissa Turkal, 37, of Bellevue.

Those friends promise more help is on the way.

Kitty Walter House, 27, of Neville Island came up with the idea of selling T-shirts, which read, “Keep the South Side Safe,” for $10. All of the proceeds would go toward helping Whaley.

“I got 40 shirts online, and we took them to a friend of ours,” she said. “He printed them out. Before those were finished, we probably sold 100.”

An unidentified friend offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Police did not respond to a request for comment.

Jamie Svitek, 40, of the South Side said the attack prompted her to begin circulating petitions that ask Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Councilman Bruce Kraus to meet with residents who have concerns about violence and rowdiness in the South Side.

Kraus said he met with some of the people who support Svitek's petition.

“It's interesting that these are actual young people, regular bar patrons, who come to the South Side who are upset with it, too,” he said. “I admire them for it and I support them.”

Ravenstahl spokeswoman Joanna Doven said the mayor is aware of the problems and will continue meeting with concerned residents to resolve them.

The South Side Flats was second only to Downtown in the total number of crimes reported in 2011, according to Pittsburgh police.

Bob Bauder is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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