McCandless OKs Land Development Plan For Potential Wal-Mart

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

McCandless gave an assist to Wal-Mart in its plan to build a store by speeding through the approval process, two attorneys said during a contentious council meeting Monday night.

“I wouldn’t be standing here if this wasn’t the most egregious consideration of a big box in my more than 32 years of experience,” said William Sittig, an attorney representing O’Hara-based Giant Eagle Inc.

The town council voted 5-2, with Cynthia Potter and Gerard Aufman Jr. against, to approve Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s subdivision application for a store in a Blazier Drive shopping center between Blazier’s intersections with Ingomar and McKnight roads. The council also voted 4-3, with Potter, Aufman and William McKim against, to approve a land development plan.

Wal-Mart plans to demolish two commercial buildings on Blazier Drive and replace them with a 150,000-square-foot supercenter that will include a grocery store, auto center and drive-through pharmacy.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6462288-74/mart-wal-council#ixzz38ruqXvcW
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Centre Region Council Of Governments Breaks Down Spending Blueprint For Municipalities

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

— In a unanimous vote, members of the Centre Region Council of Governments agreed to send the 2015 program plan to the municipalities for review and comment.

The 257-page plan is “intended to provide the General Forum with an explanation of each regional program’s history, services, current issues, midyear financial status, and proposed programmatic and financial changes for 2015.”

This is the 13th plan to be created since the program began in 2001.

“It’s a tool to give elected officials an early heads up about what we’re proposing for the new year,” said COG Executive Director Jim Steff. “So instead of giving them a budget in October and say ‘You guys need to vote on this in November,’ they get this information much earlier.

Luzerne County Council Must Decide How To Spend $16 Million

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luzerne County has $16 million in past-borrowed fundsavailable for capital projects, or $2 million less than officials had estimated, county Operational Services Division Head Tanis Manseau said Monday.

Manseau said he received the revised figure after the budget/finance division recently reviewed payments and outstanding invoices from the account.

County Council members called a special meeting tonight to discuss how they want to earmark this remaining funding because they’re supposed to adopt a capital budget by Sept. 1 under home rule.

Manseau emailed an updated list of suggested projects to council Friday night, but Manseau said he is working on additional revisions that will total around $14 million.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/50041470/Luzerne-County-Council-must-decide-how-to-spend-$16-million

$500M In Transportation Projects Listed In Montgomery, Chester Counties

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plans to spend more than $500 million in the next 10 years on transportation projects in the Chester and Montgomery county areas around Pottstown will move forward thanks to the approval of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

The planning agency for the nine-county region around Philadelphia announced Thursday that it has added an additional $10.5 billion worth of work to its list of projects through 2040 as the result of the passage of last year’s transportation bill.

Locally, the list of projects includes the replacement of the Keim Street Bridge, major repairs and bridge replacements on Route 422 from Royersford to the Berks County line, as well as connections on the Schuylkill River Trail between Pottstown and Parker Ford.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140729/500m-in-transportation-projects-listed-in-montgomery-chester-counties

Cold Winter, Cool Spring Bring Mixed Results For Lehigh Valley, N.J. Farmers

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Русский: Яблоня со спелыми плодами. Украина. Latina: Malus domestica (Borkh., 1803) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This winter’s cold temperatures that stuck around until late spring have curbed apple production at one local orchard, although local vineyards say the grapes are some of the best they’ve ever seen.

Tianna DuPont, an educator for sustainable agriculture at the Penn State Cooperative Extension, said the growing season started out about three weeks late, although recent warm weather is helping plants catch up.

Matty Matarazzo, the owner of Four Sisters Winery in White Township, expects a smaller than usual yield of apples this year. He said they’ll grow enough for the winery’s apple wine but not an abundant amount.

Bob Best, of Bests Fruit Farm in Independence Township, said the cool spring threatened his crops initially, but once the weather warmed up the produce started to grow.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/07/despite_cool_start_growing_sea.html

Failed Norristown Condos Still A Burden To Buyers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terry Derby had to surf on seven different couches. Ellen Frank was turned down for credit cards and had trouble leasing a car. Ryan Schofield figures he might never again be able to buy a house.

Home ownership was not supposed to be like this. Instead of buying a haven, five Norristown condominium owners say they wound up with a horror.

The residents are left fighting for their credit ratings and some sort of compensation.

It’s a years-long saga – one yet to end – that spurred changes in the way the seat of Montgomery County monitors construction projects. But that offers little help to the people caught in a financial and legal tangle not of their own making.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140728_Failed_Norristown_condos_still_a_burden_to_buyers.html#sRoLYajfK86r2qPy.99

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden In North Fayette To Open First Phase

After 16 years of delays because of issues of abandoned mine lands, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden in North Fayette will finally open its first phase Aug. 1.

But some of the features that visitors to the garden won’t necessarily see have environmental officials excited.

“This site is a microcosm of our entire mission,” says Christopher Holmes, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Botanic Garden projects involved cleaning up abandoned mine lands, removing safety hazards and resolving drinking water issues. An acid-mine drainage-treatment bed that will continue to function adjacent to a pond won the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for filtering out aluminum hydroxide.

David Hamilton, regulatory program specialist with the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement office in Pittsburgh, calls the various Botanic Garden projects “a trifecta,” because they have resolved or will resolve issues of acid-mine drainage, subsidence and existing coal on the site, while eventually allowing for reforestation. The 460 acres planned for the first and future phases of the Botanic Garden were used over the centuries as farmland, strip mines and deep mines.

Read more: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/homegarden/6273219-74/garden-botanic-says#ixzz38aYcCxCk
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Planners Want A Park To Replace Part Of Pittsburgh Zoo’s Asphalt Parking Lot

Locator map with the Highland Park neighborhoo...

Locator map with the Highland Park neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City and neighborhood leaders envision a dramatic transformation of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s parking lot and surrounding areas into a park-like expanse including a soccer field and a trail that would extend from Morningside all the way to the Allegheny River.

City Council this month approved the first installment of funding for planning what would be a multimillion-dollar project, which has the backing of Highland Park and Morningside neighborhood leaders and the zoo.

The Heth’s Run Ecological and Recreational Restoration Project, more than a decade in the making, will encompass about a mile of city-owned land from Heth’s Run Playfields behind Chislett Street in Morningside to the Allegheny riverfront.

The project includes a wheelchair-accessible trail through the wooded valley adjacent to the fields into a former city Department of Public Works storage yard and abandoned dumping ground behind the zoo’s parking lot. The paved trail will hug the outer edge of the parking lot, loop under the new Heth’s Run Bridge being built on Butler Street and out to the riverfront.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/07/26/Planners-want-park-to-replace-part-of-Pittsburgh-Zoo-PPG-Aquariums-parking-lot/stories/201407260045#ixzz38aV0kjAZ

WATCH: Fall Out Boy Offers To Play Music With Garden Spot Marching Band

Fall Out Boy offered to visit and play music with the Garden Spot marching band in a video published on the band’s Youtube channel today.

The band apparently heard about the school board nixing their song, “Thnks for th Mmrs” from the marching band play list this week.

Pittston Township Fires Police Chief, Doesn’t Give A Reason

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pittston Township Board of Supervisors fired police Chief Robert Avvisato without offering explanation or naming a replacement Friday.

Vice Chairwoman Barbara Attardo and Treasurer Steven Rinaldi, the former chief, voted to fire Avvisato, while Chairman Joseph Adams opposed the move at a brief special meeting Friday morning.

Avvisato, a retired state police corporal, is accused of creating a hostile work environment since he took command in January 2013. He is set to go to arbitration with the township over the matter and denies the allegations.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/50029456/Pittston-Township-fires-police-chief-doesnt-give-a-reason

Pottstown’s Juan Carlos Restaurant Leading The Way In PHL17 ‘Hot List’ Competition

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN – Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine has been holding a steady lead in the online phl17 Hot List competition for two weeks, displacing a bigger corporate restaurant along the way,

The phl17 Hot List is in its eighth year and features 164 categories of hot spots to go in the area – everything from arts and entertainment, to fitness and restaurants.

It’s in this last category that Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine is making its stand; currently in first place for “Best Mexican Restaurant” and second place for “Best BYOB Restaurant.”

“The first day I was number one in both categories. I was shocked but pleasantly surprised,” chef/owner Ron R. Garza said in an interview with The Mercury. “Then I look two weeks later and we’re still solid.”

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-mercury/story/pottstowns-juan-carlos-restaurant-leading-the-way-phl17-hot-list-competition/1?utm_source=ubnreadmore&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ubnreadmore

Amazon.Com Distribution Center Planned For Pittsburgh’s West End

Locator map with the Fairywood neighborhood in...

Locator map with the Fairywood neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amazon.com is coming to Pittsburgh.

The Seattle-based Internet giant has leased 250,000 square feet — equivalent to 4.3 football fields — in the former Roomful Express warehouse at 2250 Roswell Drive in the Fairywood section of the West End where it will establish a “sort center” that can deliver items within 24 hours of purchase.

The site is part of a new Amazon network of “sort centers,” where customer orders will be sorted by final destination and consolidated onto trucks for faster delivery, said Nina Lindsey, an Amazon spokeswoman. Amazon expects to increase its sort centers from 8 to more than 15 by the end of the year.

Pittsburgh’s sort center will serve the immediate area and nearby regions, she said, though she declined to specify the areas.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6499265-74/amazon-sort-center#ixzz38VZOOh6W
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New Solar-Powered Car-Charging Stations Unveiled In Robinson

The Mall at Robinson

The Mall at Robinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  When we were on assignment in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, we stayed across the street from the Mall at Robinson and walked right by these very charging stations.  Should have taken a picture….drat!  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 but if you read the whole article the Post Gazette took a nice picture for your viewing pleasure.

In the parking lot outside the food court at the Mall at Robinson, a silver Chevy Volt sat in a space painted with a green and white electric vehicle decal, waiting for a jolt. Inside, representatives from Eaton and Wesco gathered by a gray kiosk that monitors the amount of energy being generated by the new 8 kilowatt solar panels on top of the mall.

By 11 a.m. the panels had generated 4.11 kw of energy, enough to power 46 laptops. They also generated enough power to give an electric car a full charge in two hours. That’s a perk for hybrid drivers because the mall’s newest car charging stations are connected to the panels.

The charging stations were officially unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, but they have been operational since June. Beth Edwards, the mall’s general manager, said she has been surprised by the response.

“I’ve seen several cars using it. We actually had a mall walker who went out and bought an electric car so they could charge it when they’re walking in the mall,” she said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/25/Mall-at-Robinson-unveils-new-solar-powered-car-charging-stations/stories/201407250036#ixzz38VRlqzoC

Big Spring Distillery Soft Opening Helps Prepare For Grander Version In Bellefonte

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The distillery movement is really starting to take off in Pennsylvania.  I keep running across these popping up around our great state.

Vana Dainty sat down with Kevin Lloyd to help him coordinate the final details of the grand opening for his Bellefonte distillery in two weeks.

Dainty, the borough’s Keystone Community development coordinator, said the Match Factory distillery, named Big Spring Spirits, will be good for the borough.

“Kevin has been a delight to work with, and this should really be a great part of Bellefonte that brings in new tourists and a part of the turning point for our economy,” Dainty said. “It’s different than anything else in Centre County.”

Lloyd said he has seen the value of a helping hand not only from Dainty, but from dozens of others as he opens his new business.

Weis To Open Its First Beer Cafe In York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jennie Conboy is looking forward to the day when she can buy groceries and beer at the same time.

“It can’t come soon enough,” said the loyal Weis shopper from West York.

Her grocery store of choice is at 1800 Roosevelt Ave. in West Manchester Township, and that Weis location is soon adding a beer cafe.

Weis hopes to begin construction on the beer cafe in the coming weeks, according to company spokesman Dennis Curtin.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26215034/weis-open-its-first-beer-cafe-york-county

Housing Development Planned In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — In a few months, the vacant building on Dana Street that formerly housed First Hospital will be gone. A housing development is planned in its place.

The Wyoming Valley Health and Education Foundation is demolishing properties on Dana, Grove and McCarragher streets in the Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood with plans to donate the land to a Lancaster-based development company.

Housing Development Corporation MidAtlantic plans to build 56 units of affordable rental housing in the area.

The properties include 133 and 149 Dana St., 66-68 Grove St. and 112 McCarragher St., according to Gerard T. O’Donnell, a consultant working with the Wyoming Valley Health and Education Foundation, which plans to demolish the structures.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/housing-development-planned-in-w-b-1.1724520

Allentown Waterfront Redevelopment Starts With Brownfield Demolition

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An estimated decade-long, $300 million brownfield redevelopment is about to begin taking shape along the Lehigh River in Allentown.

Dignitaries and the developers today celebrated the start of demolition at the former Lehigh Structural Steel Co. to make way for The Waterfront project.

The Waterfront Development Co. — a partnership among Jaindl Properties, Dunn Twiggar and Michael Dunn Co. — anticipates the entire 1 million square feet of commercial, residential and industrial space along the west side of the river will take eight to 10 years to complete.

The first phase of construction includes development at the Furnace Street site south of the Tilghman Street bridge.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/07/allentown_waterfront_redevelop.html

Ursinus College Graduate Wins Fellowship For 12-Month Global Travel

POTTSTOWN, PA — Codey Young has been awarded a fellowship award that comes with a 12-month trip around the world.

Young, 22, graduated this spring from Ursinus College, and was recently accepted into the master’s program at Harvard Divinity School.

Young is now a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, one of only 43 students from selected colleges across the country.

Sponsored by the Watson Foundation, those students chosen are given $28,000 to travel the world for 12 months in pursuit of their thesis.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/social-affairs/20140725/ursinus-college-graduate-wins-fellowship-for-12-month-global-travel

Dick’s Cuts PGA Professionals As Golf Business Declines

Some wedges

Some wedges (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dick’s Sporting Goods has laid off hundreds of PGA professionals who provide golf instruction in its stores, underscoring the company’s concern about sagging sales of equipment and accessories as fewer Americans show interest in hitting the links.

The layoffs were not announced by the Findlay-based retailer but were confirmed by the PGA of America, which said Wednesday that 478 of its members were notified by the company that their services were no longer needed.

Dick’s, which operates more than 550 stores nationwide, did not immediately respond to email and phone messages. A PGA spokeswoman said it was disappointed in Dick’s decision and had reached out to the people affected.

“We are extremely disappointed by the news, as any time even one PGA member loses a job, we are extremely sensitive to such matters,” PGA spokeswoman Jamie Carbone said in an email on Wednesday.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6492600-74/pga-dick-golf#ixzz38P2SPLfo
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