Clean Air Under Fire

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A Stellar and Lunar Event

Hotline, Winter 2004

GASP Annual Event Guests
Photo by Maren Leyla Cooke

by Rachel Filippini, GASP Executive Assistant

Outside, it was a crisp November evening, and a lunar eclipse was underway. As guests approached the entrance to Rodef Shalom in Oakland, this year’s site for GASP’s Annual Benefit Dinner, they were greeted with an opportunity to take a spin in one of two hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, the new 2004 Toyota Prius from Rohrich Toyota and the Honda Civic Hybrid from McKean Honda. After an exhilarating yet quiet test drive, guests headed inside for “Becoming a Health Statistic: Clean Air Under Fire.”

Inside, guests mingled in the beautiful and grand Freehof Hall. Delicate white orchid centerpieces juxtaposed with black and yellow CAUTION tape and bullseye targets epitomized the threat of environmental degradation to our fragile planet. There were more than 25 silent auction items on which to bid, including tickets to area attractions such as the National Aviary, Frick Art Museum and the Andy Warhol Museum; exciting physical activities, like kayaking with the Three Rivers Rowing Association or rock climbing at the Climbing Wall; and cool items like the Super-Cyclone Purse from Littlearth Productions. A complete listing of donors is here.

Dr. Devra Davis and Nicholas DiPasquale
Photo by Maren Leyla Cooke

Sitting down to a gourmet dinner was an excellent way for new and long-time GASP members to become acquainted with each other. Lively conversation flowed at each table. The crowd became silent, though, as Dr. Devra Davis showed images of Donora in its industrial heydey and spoke about the environmental tragedy in 1948 for which the town is infamous. Questions from the audience were later posed to her and the following speaker, Nicholas DiPasquale, the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Deputy Secretary of Air, Recycling and Radiation Protection.

Thank you to all who attended GASP’s Annual Benefit Dinner. Your support is critical to our work and we look forward to seeing you for years to come. If you are interested in helping GASP to plan our next event, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (412) 441-6650 or

Please read Tom Imerito’s perspective on the event, in his article, “True Crimes,” published in PULP.