Video: Amid crime and blight, Natalie Thomas plants peace and community in Beltzhoover.

Since 2011, longtime Beltzhoover resident Natalie Thomas has been the caretaker of the Unified Positive Effect Community Garden at the corner of Climax Street and Estella Avenue. Thomas, 62, said the space used to be a jungle of overgrown weeds and grass that attracted neighborhood crime. Now people know not to “mess with” her garden, and she said she’s noticed a reduction in crime on the block.

Trump’s actions and rhetoric threatened to crush my spirit, but Muslim Girl excellence in Pittsburgh persists

It was the winter of 1998. I was 6. I don’t have a particularly vivid memory of that year but I can remember one morning of the first grade exceptionally well. I had stepped off the school bus and trotted into school, my mind filled with memories from the day before, like my mom’s warm smile as she chided me to move away from the furniture with my henna-soaked hands.