Mon Valley Transit Merger Decision Might Come Next Month

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

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

The future of transit services in the Mon Valley and throughout Washington County likely will be decided in the next month.

The Middle Monongahela Transit Authority provides services for 21 Valley municipalities. It has been studying a possible merger with Washington County Transportation – also known as Washington County Rides – and the City of Washington Transit Authority.

The MMVTA board will discuss a possible merger in a closed-door meeting this week.

By the end of September, each transit agency is expected to vote on consolidation. The MMVTA board could vote either at its Aug. 28 or Sept. 25 public meetings.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/6623980-74/transit-board-valley#ixzz3AlflikFi
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

National Tube Works Shuttered In McKeesport

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

At the last vestige of the old National Tube Works in McKeesport, 117 years of pipemaking came to a quiet end on Friday.

U.S. Steel‘s McKeesport Tubular Operations, an electric resistance weld plant producing standard line pipe, will be “idled indefinitely,” company officials said.

In small groups throughout the day, employees filed out, carrying literal pink slips marking the end of U.S. Steel’s operation there.

Several approached for comment waved off a reporter.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/6624696-74/steel-tubular-mckeesport#ixzz3AZKI3p22
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Gateway Center Owner Confirms Complex Is For Sale

Gateway Center, downtown Pittsburgh

Gateway Center, downtown Pittsburgh

The Downtown office complex that became the face of Pittsburgh’s first Renaissance 60 years ago is for sale.

California-based Hertz Investment Group confirmed on Tuesday that it intends to sell the four buildings and parking garage it owns in Gateway Center at the tip of the Golden Triangle.

The complex consists of four skyscrapers known as Buildings One, Two, Three and Four and the garage on Liberty Avenue near Building Four.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6597718-74/hertz-complex-buildings#ixzz3ACedDCZF
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Blame For Blighted Properties In Monessen Reaches Across Globe

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Mayor Lou Mavrakis drove slowly through Monessen, block by block, pointing out one vacant, blighted building after another in the city of 7,700 along the Monongahela River.

“That belongs to me,” he said, pointing to a house with a collapsing roof that has become the responsibility of the city and the mayor.

Tax records show the building is one of 264 structures and lots in the city that have been abandoned by their owners. More than 26 percent of the city’s 734 blighted properties are owned by people from 24 states and five foreign countries, beyond the legal reach of Monessen officials.

“It’s almost impossible to get in touch with these owners,” Mavrakis said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/6562693-74/property-owners-monessen#ixzz3ACc2e4tx
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

LTV Site In Hazelwood Nearly Ready For New Identity

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Work to level a former steel mill in Hazelwood is expected to be done by the end of August, clearing the way for contractors to build a 1½-mile road and run utility lines through the 178-acre property, a developer said on Friday.

“Once the infrastructure work is under way, I think it will unlock tremendous interest in the site” from prospective tenants, said Donald F. Smith Jr., president of the Downtown-based Regional Industrial Development Corp.

RIDC is partnering with four foundations under the name Almono to transform the former LTV Steel Co. site. They bought the riverfront property in 2002 and envision more than $1 billion in development happening there during the next two decades, including 1,400 housing units, 1.3 million square feet of office space and nearly 950,000 square feet of industrial space.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6583745-74/million-site-development#ixzz3A6HN2TvF
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Pittsburgh Eagle Watchers Flock Together For A Special Summer

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thunder crashed in the hills above Hays, and rain spilled over each side of the Glenwood Bridge on a recent Saturday, but Dana Nesiti didn’t flinch.

He had been in the area since 7:30 that morning, scanning the skies. For as long as two bald eagles have been nesting in a suburban hillside along the Monongahela River, people like Mr. Nesiti have been watching.

The 52-year-old, camouflage-clad West Mifflin resident first stationed himself along the bike trail below the eagles’ nest in February 2013, when the pair hatched their first eaglet in a nest that would collapse and be rebuilt in a nearby tree over the course of a year. Eventually, it served as home to three baby eagles that have become the focus of many a Pittsburgher’s attention.

All of this year’s newborns had hatched by early April, when traffic on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail along East Carson Street increased considerably.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/outdoors/2014/08/11/Eagle-watchers-flock-together-for-a-special-summer/stories/201408060008#ixzz3A6F1hnrv

67 Apply To Become Next Pittsburgh Police Chief

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has a long list from which to choose a police chief.

Sixty-seven people from across the country applied for the job, according to Talent City, a recruitment program that a group of foundations established to help Peduto find top administrators.

The application period ended on July 31.

“My goal is that somebody will be offered that position and hopefully accept it during the first week of September,” Peduto said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6578033-74/peduto-chief-police#ixzz39udhVLPY
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

2014 Great Garden Contest Small Garden Winner: Edgewood Garden Created On A Shoestring

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

If you think you need lots of time and money to have a great garden, think again.

Eric D’Ambrogi’s garden in Edgewood, which he entered “on a lark,” won first place in the small garden category of the Great Gardens Contest, early summer judging period.

The retired Deer Lakes school teacher has managed to construct a winning landscape on a shoestring using re-purposed building materials and plants that he’s found or received as gifts from other gardeners. The contest is co-sponsored and judged by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.

“My garden has been a work in progress for the past 10 years,” he said in his entry essay. “When I bought my home, the backyard was a blank space with three very large pine trees, an overgrown holly tree and a falling apart carport.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/garden/2014/08/09/Edgewood-garden-created-on-a-shoestring/stories/201408090007#ixzz39uaET62I

Coal Mine Closing To Slash 500 Jobs In Greene County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Greene County

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

WAYNESBURG, PA — Among the rolling hills and in the small towns of rural Greene County, where coal long has been king, the news brought shock waves.

Emerald Mine near Waynesburg is closing.

Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources said Wednesday that about 500 workers will lose their jobs. A spokesman cited diminishing reserves, sluggish markets and restrictive federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

At least one businessman in the borough some 50 miles south of Pittsburgh believes he knows where to place the blame.

Read more: http://powersource.post-gazette.com/powersource/companies-powersource/2014/08/07/Actions-of-inexperienced-greenhat-led-to-fatal-well-explosion-DEP-says/stories/201408070178

Oxford Pitches New 20-Story Downtown Office Tower

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from the fountain at Point State Park

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from the fountain at Point State Park

Oxford Development Co. is pitching a revised plan for a new office tower Downtown — 20 stories instead of 33 with a soaring 18-foot-high lobby and a host of eco-friendly features.

Dubbed 350 Fifth, the new high-rise would be built on the west side of Smithfield Street between Forbes and Fifth avenues, replacing an existing Oxford-owned building, which would be demolished.

For two years, the developer has been debating whether to renovate the nearly vacant building at 441 Smithfield at a cost of $40 million or build a new 33-story high-rise at the site. But it was unable to secure the anchor tenant needed to make the latter work.

Wanting to leave its own imprint on Downtown’s resurgence, it has now settled on a third option — a striking 20-story glass and aluminum tower envisioned for multiple tenants.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/08/08/Oxford-pitches-new-Downtown-office-tower/stories/201408080078#ixzz39p0XKRSS

Moody’s Upgrades Pittsburgh’s Bond Credit Rating

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Pittsburgh’s bond rating outlook from stable to positive Thursday, which Mayor Bill Peduto called a sign of improved financial health.

“The positive outlook reflects the steps the city has taken to reduce its long-term liabilities,” Moody’s wrote.

Along with the outlook upgrade, Moody’s affirmed its A1 rating on approximately $530 million in outstanding general obligation debt.

Standard & Poor’s ratings agency this week announced it is maintaining the city’s A+ bond rating, city officials said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6582680-74/peduto-plan-rating#ixzz39oyVSUz9
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Pittsburgh Police To Step Up Walking Patrols To Help Combat Wave Of Violence

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police will step up patrols in the city’s eastern neighborhoods to combat an uptick in homicides, many of which appear to be drug-related, officials said on Monday.

Homicide detectives were closing in on a suspect in one of several recent shootings in a North Side public housing complex, officials said.

Police Lt. Daniel Herrmann said police know “key actors” in a shooting on Wednesday that killed one man and injured another in the Northview Heights housing complex.

“We need more information to pull people off the street,” Herrmann said. “We know some of the key actors, but we don’t have enough to get a warrant yet.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6556787-74/police-homicides-mcdonald#ixzz39X5C8vda
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Mon Valley Narcotics Probe Leads To Multiple Arrests

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

Allegheny County police announced 17 felony arrest warrants were obtained in connection with an eight-month narcotics investigation in the Mon Valley.

Suspects reside in McKeesport, White Oak, Glassport, Clairton, Jefferson Hills and the North Side of Pittsburgh, according to a county police news release.

County detectives made numerous buys of heroin and crack cocaine, resulting in the seizure of 5 12 bricks of heroin, the release stated.

Nine of the 17 suspects were apprehended early on Friday by detectives and officers from the county, McKeesport and White Oak police departments; the other eight remained at-large as of presstime.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/6545601-74/county-police-mckeesport#ixzz39FaD8NZU
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Summer Workers Help Fight Mon Valley Neighborhood Blight

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

Mon Valley communities are reliant on the helping hands of summer workers as they battle blight through maintenance projects.

In third class cities such as McKeesport and Clairton — once-thriving mill towns that decreased in population and economic activity with the decline of the steel industry in the 1970s and ’80s — cityscapes have changed over the years.

Many neighborhoods that were lined with well-kept homes transformed into urban decay where residential properties are separated by overgrown lots and dilapidated structures. With an increase in problem lots and a decrease in staff to maintain them, the cities rely on young workers eager to gain job experience during their time off from high school and college.

“Our public works department is bare bones,” Clairton Mayor Rich Lattanzi said. “They prioritize on snow removal, grass-cutting of city-owned properties and potholes throughout the year. Summer help gives an opportunity for some of our youth to make a few dollars and supplement what public works is doing.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/6537806-74/summer-workers-public#ixzz399pCVoJu
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

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
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

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
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

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

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
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

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