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Councilman: Clairton needs less violence, more prayers

Michael DiVittorio
| Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011

Clairton Councilman Lamont Lewis is hoping for less violence and more prayer in the City of Prayer.

At Tuesday night's council meeting, Lewis said he wants to “take it back to the streets” and find ways to reduce crime through community involvement.

He referenced Prayers Over Clairton, a non-denominational interfaith prayer service that has occurred in the city for more than 15 years. This year's event was at the municipal building on Dec. 31, and was designed to help start the New Year on a positive note.

“I think Prayers Over Clairton needs to be up there on St. Clair and Miller avenues. Close the street down and do it that way,” Lewis said. “We had a nice turnout and it was beautiful. We just need more support and everyone be part of it.”

Less than 10 hours after Prayers Over Clairton, Tauvea Hurt, 20, of Clairton, died the morning of Jan. 1 after being shot along the 2300 block of Lincoln Avenue. It was the first homicide in Allegheny County this year.

Allegheny County police have issued warrants for Keith Wright, 25, of Clairton, and his brother Lindsey Wright, 30, of McKeesport, in connection with Hurt's death.

Lewis said more events like Prayers Over Clairton could reach more people if they were more frequent.

“We need to do it more often. Maybe we need to do it three or four times a year,” he said. “This is supposed to be the City of Prayer, and we need to be getting on our stand and doing what we have to do.”

There are organizations in Clairton that are aimed at stopping violence and fostering peace.

Members of the Greater Pittsburgh chapter of Men Against Destruction — Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder, MAD DADS, celebrated their third year in Clairton in November, and said they plan to make a stronger impact this year through street patrols, recruiting and other activities.

A discussion designed to empower parents at home is planned for Jan. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Clairton Public Library at 616 Miller Ave.

The event is sponsored by Clairton community police officer Jeff Nolte in association with Magisterial District Judge Armand A. Martin and Allegheny County Department of Children, Youth and Families community outreach officer Bill Pfifer.

Topics of discussion will include parents' right to discipline their children, how to speak with police, and a question-and-answer session with Nolte, Martin and Pfifer.

Martin said his role in the event will be to give parents some guidelines and tools to be more responsible in the lives in the juveniles.

“We're hoping that some of the parents learn a little more accountability for the actions of their children,” Martin said. “We do have some parenting issues in Clairton, at least in the school district.”

For more information, contact Nolte at 412-233-6213 Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m.

Anyone with information about the homicide should contact Allegheny County police at 412-473-3000.

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