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.

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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.

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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

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

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.

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EQT Posts $110.9 Million Profit In Latest Quarter

DSC01844EQT Corp. turned a profit as it continues to pull more natural gas from the Marcellus shale and move it to markets on the company’s midstream pipeline systems.

The Pittsburgh-based energy company early Thursday announced it posted $110.9 million in net income, or 73 cents per share, during the three months that ended June 30. That’s a 27 percent increase over the $86.9 million profit on 58 cents a share it recorded in the same quarter last year.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6495024-74/million-quarter-company#ixzz38OzSWrov
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Wiz Khalifa Taking Under The Influence Tour To Camden / Scranton

Editor’s note:  Don’t necessarily agree with some of his activities but it’s cool to see somebody from Pittsburgh love their hometown and be proud of it.  

Summer is Wiz Khalifa time. His tune “Shell Shocked” is on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sound track. His new album, Blacc Hollywood, drops in August. And the rapper will take his third Under the Influence of Music summer tour through Scranton on Thursday and to Camden on Friday.

“I always wanted to make Under the Influence something to talk about,” says Khalifa, “not just the day after the show, but the rest of your life.”

He’s a Pittsburgh native. His 2010 hit “Black and Yellow” was a pledge of allegiance to the Steelers. “Eagles, Steelers,” he says. “You know there’s no competition. You already know about that.” But there is a Philly connection: his wife, South Philadelphia-raised Amber Rose. “My Philly girl,” he calls her. He and the model married in 2013 after their son, Sebastian, was born, and they settled in Canonsburg, near Pittsburgh.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20140724_Wiz_Khalifa_taking_Under_the_Influence_tour_to_Scranton_and_Camden.html#sQPxiIK8oCy2WyV3.99

Gateway Clipper Employee Jumps Into Monongahela River, Dies

10259844_10152543533712792_17013999446815402_nAn employee of the Gateway Clipper Fleet died early Sunday when he inexplicably jumped into the Monongahela River for a swim.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as Sean Gittins, 23. Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said he was with a group of people who went to a bar and returned to a boat at Station Square. He decided he wanted to go for a swim and jumped in. Gittins soon had problems in the water.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6475822-74/river-office-examiner#ixzz3896SvsRf
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Downtown Residents, Developers Enjoy Romance With Rooftops

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

From atop the Lando Building at Penn Avenue and Ninth Street, Todd Palacic can see PNC Park, kayaks on the Allegheny River, construction work on The Tower at PNC Plaza and glimpses of the shimmering glass of PPG Place.

Palacic, who is developing the seven-story structure into 27 apartments and building a deck on its roof, foresees tenants throwing parties, watching fireworks and lounging amid Pittsburgh’s skyline.

“People who live Downtown want to show off, and a deck allows them to show off,” Palacic, a developer at Penn Avenue Renaissance, said as he leaned over the deck railing to look out over the river. “A lot of first kisses will happen up here on this deck. I guarantee it.”

As more people move Downtown — the population jumped 10.5 percent in the past three years, reaching more than 7,500, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership — residents are claiming rooftops as social spaces to dine, drink, relax and take in sights. Restaurants have opened rooftop bars and seating areas. Nearly 10 apartment complexes boast roof patios and lounges, and new developments almost all have rooftop plans.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/6451106-74/downtown-pittsburgh-tower#ixzz37vYrS6MJ
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Former Police Chief Sues Monroeville As Whistleblower

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

Monroeville’s former police chief has sued the municipality in federal court, alleging mistreatment after he exposed lapses in how officials protected sensitive law enforcement and medical information about residents.

In the suit filed late Monday night, Steven Pascarella, a 26-year veteran, is claiming civil rights violations, retaliation despite his status as a whistleblower, and failure of the municipality to accommodate an unspecified disability.

Mr. Pascarella, 46, was quietly fired in April. By then he had returned to the rank of lieutenant at his request because of medical issues.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/east/2014/07/15/Former-police-chief-sues-Monroeville-as-whistleblower/stories/201407150135#ixzz37Y2z8uqz

Judge Gives South Hills Landlord 30 Days For Tenant Relocation Proposal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

A landlord facing an avalanche of building and health code violations for a row of town houses and a neighboring apartment complex in Carrick will have until the end of the month to clear out the remaining tenants before his next appearance in front of a local judge.

Davin Gartley of Mt. Lebanon has been cited repeatedly since October for problems related to lead paint, sewage, trash, lack of running water and more.

The continuance Magisterial District Judge Richard G. King granted June 26 required Mr. Gartley to come up with a “good faith” relocation plan for the tenants living in three apartment buildings at 2531-2539 Brownsville Road in exchange for the possibility of reduced fines, said Jim Thompson, deputy director of environmental health for the Allegheny County Health Department.

“We were surprised. This has been a long, ongoing case,” Mr. Thompson said. “Granting another 30 days, with this landlord being so difficult, we’re not sure exactly what that will accomplish.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/07/14/Judge-gives-South-Hills-landlord-30-days-for-tenant-relocation-proposal/stories/201407140044#ixzz37SYJI2Nh

‘Celebrate Downtown’ Shines Light On Pittsburgh Revitalization

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown should be an exciting place to go or live. It remains an important indicator of any city’s health.

For the past 20 years, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has worked to revitalize Downtown and will call attention to its progress with eight days of activities called “Celebrate Downtown” from July 14 to 21.

New this year to the annual Celebrate Downtown attractions are Dining Around, sampling food and drink at some of the city’s most highly regarded restaurants; All Access Pittsburgh, a series of tours; and Open Streets, which will create space for people to enjoy part of Downtown free of cars, buses and trucks.

The creation of the Cultural District and revitalization of Market Square are only part of the changes Downtown. More than 12,000 people live Downtown now, with more than 2,000 new apartments coming.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/6418404-74/downtown-july-market#ixzz37GwwnvK9
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Pittsburgh-Allegheny County SEA Moves Ahead On Redevelopment Of Civic Arena Site

Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority board has taken another step in preparing the former Civic Arena site for redevelopment.

Board members authorized a $555,685 contract with Michael Baker Jr. today to do final design work for four roads — Centre Avenue, Washington Place, Bedford Avenue, and Crawford Street — that border the 28-acre site in the lower Hill District.

Plans call for those existing roads to be repaved, with upgraded signals, intersections and sidewalks at an estimated cost of $12 million.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/07/10/Pittsburgh-Allegheny-County-SEA-moves-ahead-on-redevelopment-of-Civic-Arena-site/stories/201407100268#ixzz375Nwumqr

Survey Of Washington, Greene Elected Officials Shows Positive Views Of Gas Industry

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

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

A survey of elected leaders in Washington and Greene counties found generally positive experiences with the gas exploration industry that has changed the face of their communities.

“They’re starting to see a lot of vitality. There’s physical activity in the communities and new wealth among some property owners. New employees. That’s all very positive,” said Diana Stares, the director of the Center of Energy Policy and Management at Washington & Jefferson College, who oversaw the survey. “Now they’re anxious to draw from that development some long-term results. And some don’t know how to go about that.”

Interactions between drilling companies and local officials are improving as both sides get to know each other, and as money and jobs flow into the region, several people said.

“It was a growing experience, I think, by some of these companies coming in here,” said Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi, a Democrat. “But they saw that if you treat people fairly, they’ll respond in a positive way.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6383333-74/industry-officials-percent#ixzz36tbYQPSg
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Tiny Houses Offer Big Potential In Neighborhoods Like Garfield

Locator map with the Garfield neighborhood in ...

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

Tiny houses could play a big role in rebuilding Garfield by filling some of the neighborhood’s hundreds of vacant lots and boosting homeownership in a more affordable way, officials say.

Downtown nonprofit cityLAB intends to build a 210-square-foot home on a small parcel between two-story homes on North Atlantic Avenue, a couple of blocks from bustling Penn Avenue. Leaders of the group hope more will follow.

“There’s no such thing as a small building project,” said Chad Chalmers, an architect with Sewickley-based Wildman Chalmers Design LLC who is working on the Garfield project, noting that construction of a tiny house must go through the same steps as a traditional one — in some cases, more requirements.

An added step for Garfield’s tiny house could be to seek a variance to a section of Pittsburgh’s building code that requires any newly constructed home to have an off-street parking space. In this case, the 180-square-foot space would be nearly as large as the home and eat up one-fifth of the property.

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Moon Schools Eager To Talk Merger With Cornell

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Moon Area School board voted recently to reach out to its much smaller neighbor, the Cornell School District, to discuss a possible merger, it resurrected an issue that had been explored at least twice before.

In 1992 and 1998, the districts studied the idea of a merger or of Cornell students attending Moon on a tuition basis. It died both times because of opposition in the communities and the lack of state financial incentives, but the voluntary merger of the Center Area and Monaca districts, to form Central Valley School District, in recent years has some Moon board members taking a new look at the prospect of sharing resources.

The Central Valley merger, initiated with board votes in 2007 and finalized in 2010, was the first since the court-ordered formation of the Woodland Hills School District in 1981 and the only district in Pennsylvania to be formed through a voluntary merger.

“I just think it’s something we should take a look at,” said Moon school director Laura Schisler, who raised the idea at a May 25 board meeting to vote on the closing of an elementary school.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/07/07/Moon-schools-eager-to-talk-merger-with-Cornell/stories/201407070045#ixzz36o7qTuSO

Pontoon Rentals Catching On With Recreational Boaters In Pittsburgh

10462720_10152543533522792_1994000995011631797_nIn a city of stunning views, Jim Malanos might have found the best one yet.

“I go near The Point, drop an anchor, and read a newspaper or a book,” said Malanos, 61, of Brighton Heights. “Sitting there on the water, looking back at the town and the North Shore — it’s beautiful. There’s no traffic, it’s quiet; it’s just very relaxing. Best view in town.”

Malanos is a repeat customer at Boat Pittsburgh LLC, a pontoon rental startup at the James Sharp Landing boat launch in Sharpsburg.

Owner Nicole Moga started the business at the end of May. Though other rentals offer kayaks and canoes, Boat Pittsburgh fills a regional void by offering the larger pontoons, which seat 10.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6373132-74/boat-pittsburgh-moga#ixzz36Vph7jut
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Richard Scaife, Conservative Champion, Newsman & Philanthropist, Dies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

Tribune-Review owner and philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife, whose vision and funding reinvigorated conservative politics in America, died Friday, July 4, in his home.

His death came just one day after his 82nd birthday.

Many of the nation’s leading conservatives considered him to be the man who sustained the Republican Party after its crushing defeat in the 1964 presidential election and the Watergate scandal in 1972.

His support for and promotion of a conservative agenda led to Ronald Reagan’s election as president in 1980 and the nation’s turn toward the principles those two men shared.

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We Were On Assignment In Pittsburgh Since Last Thursday But We’re Back