The Glimpse: Voting made into a family affair, and a protest for clean air

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Kumiko Yakicic and her 5-year-old son, Noah, outside a Pittsburgh polling station on Election Day 2019. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Our photojournalists experience the city and the Greater Pittsburgh region in a unique way. They're regularly sent out on assignments to take portraits, cover protests, document public meetings and envision people and places we talk about in our stories. But they see so much more.

That's why we're launching The Glimpse. Each week, we'll present our best feature photos of the week. Some weeks there will be only one photo, sometimes more. It all depends on where our conversations and curiosities take us.

Take a moment to see the scenes that we’ve been able to capture this week, and let us know which one is your favorite.


The polls and a protest

Kumiko Yakicic and her 5-year-old son, Noah, outside a Pittsburgh polling station on Election Day 2019. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Some Pittsburgh families made voting a family affair this week.

Kumiko Yakicic and her 5-year-old son, Noah, braved the rainy and cold weather on Tuesday morning to join husband and father, Dan, on his trip to the polls at the Lynn William Apartments near their neighborhood in Brighton Heights.

Kumiko is not eligible to vote because she is not a U.S. citizen. She would like to vote in the U.S. elections but because her family still lives in Japan, she decided to keep her Japanese citizenship. Still, she wanted to join her husband at the polls and bring their son along so he could gain an early experience of Election Day.

Jennie Canning and daughter, Cleo Joseph, 3, after Canning voted on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, at the Lynn William Apartments polling station in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

The Yakicic family wasn’t the only one to go to the polls together. Jennie Canning brought her 3-year-old daughter, Cleo Joseph, to the Lynn William Apartments polling station as well. They flashed smiles from under the hoods of their raincoats as Cleo held up her voting stickers.

Melanie Meade spoke at a Nov. 6, 2019, rally for clean air in downtown Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

On Wednesday at the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh, the Group Against Smog and Pollution [GASP] held a protest, demanding action be taken to clean the air of the rotten egg smell that is especially strong in the Mon Valley. According to GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini, the 24-hour standard for hydrogen sulfide has been violated 37 times this year as recorded by an air monitor in the Mon Valley.

About a dozen people participated in the protest. Melanie Meade was one of them. She delivered an emotional speech about how her two sons have been affected by U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works. She spoke about how Black children are more affected by asthma and other conditions that could be worsened by this year’s fires at the Clairton Coke Works and the resulting pollution. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that: “Black children are two times as likely to be hospitalized for asthma and four times as likely to die from asthma as White children.”

PublicSource reporter Oliver Morrison live-tweeted from the protest. Check out that tweet thread here.


Halloween, football & protests

Avery and Max Grubbs (foreground, left to right) out trick or treating with friends and family for Millvale's Trick or Treat on Oct. 31, 2019. (Photo by Jay Manning/ PublicSource)

Dozens of municipalities in Allegheny County postponed trick or treat times because of the forecast of widespread rain and damaging wind gusts Thursday evening. But most areas soldiered on, including Millvale where many little ghouls, wizards, superheroes and other fantastical creatures took to the streets.

Max and Avery Grubbs caught my attention as they peered into Scott’s Barber Shop on Grant Avenue. They were in awe over a rabbit in the front window. Chaperoned by their mother, Catie Grubbs, and joined by their friends, it was just a quick stop before seeking more candy to fill their bags.

Max dressed as Spider-Man for the evening with a Captain America shield attached to his arm. Avery donned a sparkly number and struck a pose the second she saw the camera. 

Nearby, the Millvale Community Library was decorated in cobwebs and a wall full of pumpkins. Its game section was the real attraction.

Owen, (pictured below) dressed as a Slytherin from the “Harry Potter” franchise, naturally gravitated to the Table Quidditch game, where you had to throw small balls through the hoops on the other side of the table. In the photo, Owen had just scored a goal and was looking toward his mother in celebration before going for another one.

The weather may have stopped a few from enjoying Halloween, but the eerie skies seemed only fitting for this spooky and eventful evening.

Owen, dressed as a Slytherin from the Harry Potter book series, plays Table Quidditch at Millvale Community Library's Halloween party on Oct. 31, 2019. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

Two more feature photos from the past week and a half:

Ty Bray runs the Hill District Rebels youth football at Kennard Park in the Hill District. Bray, 33, started playing football at Kennard when he was 10, and as an adult, he started coaching. Four years ago, he became director. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Ty Bray was featured in a story as voters in the city of Pittsburgh are considering a tax increase to support area parks. The story explores how parks can improve the health of people and communities, but also skepticism over if parks should be a priority in a city with other pressing needs.

Native American elder Guy Jones. (Photo by Nick Childers/PublicSource)

Native American elder Guy Jones co-led a water ceremony and rally under the charge, "Defend our water," at Point State Park on Oct. 23. The event was held leading up to President Donald Trump's appearance at the Shale Insight Conference.

“When you look at what’s happening in this country, especially in regards to corporations and their abuse of the resources … we are at that crucial point where we need to take action now,” Jones said. “If there’s going to be a future, something needs to be done.”

Jones is a Hunkpapa Lakota elder and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. To read the story about Trump's visit and what both his supporters and opponents had to say, go here.

Jay Manning is a visual storyteller and producer for PublicSource. He can be reached at jay@publicsource.org.

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