Grow Pittsburgh's new Executive Director Denele Hughson. Photo courtesy of Grow Pittsburgh.

There’s a lot happening in Pittsburgh every day. ETC is a fun, informative collection of news briefs that, in this busy world, could easily fall through the cracks. Here, they take the spotlight. Got a tip? Send us an email.

Burrr-tual Polar Pop
Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s annual Polar Plunge was put on ice due to Covid, but the organization is testing the virtual waters. Supporters are invited to register online, make a $20 donation and record themselves popping a cold water balloon over their heads. Poppers can upload videos and pictures through Feb. 21 with the hashtags #PAPolarPop and #FreezinForAReason to be featured in an online celebration on Feb. 27.

Explore the Pittsburgh Cultural District’s new public art installation
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust celebrates emerging Black artists through “202021, a new constellation,” a public art installation on view Downtown through March. Curated by Tereneh Idia, the project features work by 11 Black artists at nine locations throughout the Cultural District. Starting at Theater Square, the public art trail winds down Penn Avenue and continues along Ninth Street and Liberty Avenue.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides free books to Pittsburgh kids
Through a partnership between the City of Pittsburgh and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, city residents with children under 5 can receive free, age-appropriate books by mail each month. Since last year, more than 50,000 books have been sent to local kids.

Netflix founder funds 20 scholarships at RMU
Reed Hastings, co-founder and co-CEO of Netflix, will give $3 million to Robert Morris University to fund 20 RMU Next Century Scholarships beginning with students entering the university in the fall of 2021. Students from underrepresented groups who wish to pursue careers in technology or mathematics-related fields are encouraged to apply.

Photo courtesy of Animal Friends.

Meet the new members of Animal Friends’ Humane Investigations team
Two Humane Society Police Officers, Justin Galvin and Krista Koontz, were officially sworn in on Jan. 25. They will serve Allegheny County as members of Animal Friends’ Humane Investigations team, responding to calls of suspected animal abuse, neglect and abandonment. Officers Galvin and Koontz will enforce Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws, which also include offenses such as animal hoarding and dog fighting. To report animal cruelty, call 412-847-7066 or 9-1-1.

Grow Pittsburgh names new Executive Director
Denele Hughson is the new executive director of Grow Pittsburgh. The Homewood native previously served as the organization’s director of farm education. Hughson has been integral to increasing food access initiatives across Allegheny County, strengthening relationships with the community and leading efforts to expand programs and seedling production at Grow Pittsburgh’s newest urban farm site, Garden Dreams Urban Farm & Nursery in Wilkinsburg.

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.