Democrats Consider Pittsburgh For 2016 Convention

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)

Mayor Bill Peduto wants more than publicity for Pittsburgh.

If the Democratic National Committee chooses to host its 2016 convention here, it must benefit businesses and city residents, Peduto said Tuesday.

“It’s obviously good promotion for the city,” he said. “Being a Democrat, I would also like to be able to promote my city to Democrats from around the country, as long as it comes in a way that benefits for more than just promotional purposes.”

The DNC asked 15 cities, including Pittsburgh, to submit proposals to host the presidential nominating convention in 2016. Peduto said he learned of the city’s selection late afternoon Monday. Earlier this year, Pittsburgh was among 30 finalists.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5988826-74/chicago-york-2016#ixzz2zeN4eI5q
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Cuts In Suburban Pittsburgh Bus Routes Changed Lives

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

A couple years ago, when Gloria Jefferson of McKeesport wanted to go somewhere, she walked to a bus stop near her house.

Then, in 2011, her commute became much less convenient. During a round of cuts to fix a budget deficit, the Port Authority canceled her route, which ran through the middle of McKeesport. Now, Ms. Jefferson, who is 80, has to walk a mile downhill to another stop.

The walk is tough for her, especially when she’s carrying grocery bags. Sometimes, she pays for a ride there or avoids going places. She wonders whether she’ll still be able to make the walk when she gets older.

“Right now, I feel good. How long it’s going to last, I don’t know,” she said. “I keep on praying that one day they’ll turn it around and bring the bus back up the hill.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2014/04/06/Cuts-in-suburban-bus-routes-changed-lives/stories/201404060065#ixzz2y9vjCoPz

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Monroeville Hires Private Investigator To Conduct Internal Probe

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

For the second time in the past year, Monroeville has hired a private investigator to conduct an internal probe of the municipality’s turbulent affairs.

Interim Manager Timothy Little on Wednesday confirmed the existence of a broad and comprehensive investigation that will address, among other issues, recent personnel upheaval that involved his predecessor, the current police chief and several 911 dispatchers who were fired.

“We just want to get to the truth of what occurred here, that’s all,” Mr. Little said.

CSI Western PA is conducting the investigation. Its managing director, Joe Bellissimo, declined comment, citing client confidentiality and the ongoing nature of his work.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/east/2014/04/03/New-investigation-personnel-Monroeville/stories/201404030243#ixzz2xqhYSNG9

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Former Munhall Manager Charged With Embezzling $230K From Borough

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

Former Munhall borough manager Matt Galla was arrested Tuesday for allegedly embezzling more than $230,000 from the borough between 2010 and 2013.

Galla, 44, of West Mifflin, who was hired as a part-time clerk for the borough in 2009, became manager in December 2010 and had the position until he abruptly resigned last June.

According to court documents, Galla had a budgeted salary of $60,000. In the complaint, Detective William Miller wrote that Galla overpaid himself by nearly $12,000 in 2010, $85,000 in 2011, $80,000 in 2012 and $53,000 during the first six months of 2013.

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Braddock Library Looking Ahead At 125th Anniversary

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

John Hempel remembers his father, Robert, pausing every time he drove past the Braddock Carnegie Library.

“That’s where I taught myself to read,” Robert would tell his young son as he’d point to the stately building.

The elder Hempel’s story likely mirrors those held by many residents of the library’s service area. For more than a century, the building has served as a hub for community activity and education, as intended by its founder and namesake, Andrew Carnegie. As the 125th anniversary of the building approaches, library leaders are preparing to celebrate all that has taken place during its storied past.

“Andrew Carnegie said he intended this to be a center for light and learning for generations to come,” says John Hempel of Braddock Hills, president of the library’s board. The memories of his father inspired Hempel to get involved more than two decades ago. “It’s such a neat mission statement and really what the whole place is all about.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/morelifestyles/5768153-74/library-carnegie-braddock#ixzz2xV02JAgJ
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Pittsburgh Bald Eagles Live Cam

A pair of bald eagles have taken up residence in a Pittsburgh neighborhood and two of their three eggs have hatched.  If you want to see the live video feed of the eagles, click here: http://www.pixcontroller.com/eagles/index-old.htm

Pittsburgh Post Gazette story about the eagles: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/outdoors/2014/03/28/Experts-say-baby-eagle-is/stories/201403280187

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Pittsburgh City Council Members Air Doubts About Land Bank Legislation

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)

A letter that four Pittsburgh City Council members sent to 30,000 Pittsburgh residents called a land bank proposal “predatory” and promoted a meeting set for Tuesday evening to discuss potential alternatives.

The letter, dated March 18, is signed by council members R. Daniel Lavelle of the Hill District, Darlene Harris of Spring Garden, Theresa Kail-Smith of Westwood and Ricky Burgess of North Point Breeze. It went to residents of their council districts.

A proposal from Councilwoman Deb Gross of Highland Park would establish a city land bank as a way to transfer vacant city-owned or tax delinquent properties to homebuyers and developers.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5823332-74/council-bank-community#ixzz2wvfQp8P8
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Business Forum: Steel, Health Dare And Future Wealth Of Our Robotic Region

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A city that doesn’t make things can never be a real city.

The Steel City got its name and built its international reputation by making the best metal products in the world. For Hollywood, wealth and fame came from making the greatest motion pictures the world has ever seen. Silicon Valley earned its place in history by giving us the personal computer, the cell phone and just about every other indispensable high-tech gadget you can think of.

In the aftermath of the dismantling of the steel industry, Pittsburgh was especially fortunate to have a world-class health care and university system. These gems allowed us to sidestep the ruinous fate that has befallen other Rust Belt cities such as Detroit and Gary, Indiana.

However, in the long run those regional assets will not be enough to elevate this metropolitan statistical area and its wealth back to the level it enjoyed during the middle of the last century.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/Biz-opinion/2014/02/15/Steel-health-care-and-future-wealth-of-our-robotic-region/stories/201402150066#ixzz2tPa3gmXI

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Verizon Wireless To Close Marshall, Cranberry Call Centers, Cut 1,000 Jobs

Map of Butler County, Pennsylvania with Munici...

Map of Butler County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verizon Wireless will slice more than 1,000 jobs in Western Pennsylvania when it closes customer call centers in Cranberry and Marshall in May, the company said on Wednesday.

“This was a very difficult but necessary business decision,” Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Laura Merritt said in a statement.

The Cranberry call center employs about 600 customer service workers in the Cranberry Woods business park. The one in neighboring Marshall will lose about 430 workers, including 200 in telemarketing and 230 in business and government support.

A Verizon regional headquarters for Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia will remain in Marshall, preserving 340 jobs.

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Munhall Awaiting Decision On Loan Amid Fiscal Turmoil

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By today’s end, Munhall officials expect to know if private financing for a tax anticipation loan will be available to the borough, averting the need for layoffs of police and public works employees.

Council was forced in recent weeks to advertise for private financing after it could not get a regular bank loan because the borough did not have its annual audits for 2011 and 2012 performed by an independent auditor and filed with the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

That revelation is one of a number of surprises that council members say they’ve faced since Matt Galla abruptly resigned as borough manager June 17. The other surprises include the fact that appropriate pension contributions were not made to employee pension plans in 2011 and 2012, that many borough records, including employees’ salary histories, are gone from the borough offices, and that the borough lost $360,000 in regional asset district funds.

Since June, two interim managers and a certified public accountant have been trying to reconstruct the borough’s records. That reconstruction has shown that Mr. Galla may have paid himself more than his approved $60,000 salary.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/02/10/Munhall-awaiting-decision-on-loan-amid-fiscal-turmoil/stories/201402100093#ixzz2swAw1oXw

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Pittsburgh International Struggling Despite The Region’s Robust Economy

FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT

FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald describes Pittsburgh International Airport as an economic engine for Western Pennsylvania.

Yet while Fitzgerald points to improved employment, production and tourism as signs of the region’s economic vitality, growth at Pittsburgh International is stalled.

“I can’t explain it,” Fitzgerald said of the incongruity between the region’s surging economy and an airport that is scuffling in its core business of flying.

The airport was on pace through November to post its lowest annual passenger total since opening in 1992, according to the latest data. It recently learned that 600 airline jobs will vanish when the new American Airlines, created through a merger with US Airways, closes a flight operations center in Moon by next year. An unused section of one concourse in the $1 billion airport remains walled-off. The airport doesn’t have a CEO.

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Crafton Man Rehabs Worst-Looking House On Street

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The parade of people who rented apartments in an old Crafton house aggravated Chuck Gigliotti, a longtime neighbor who lives across the street. After it became Section 8 housing in 2003, shingles fell off the roof regularly and loose bricks threatened to avalanche from a tall chimney. In 2006, Mr. Gigliotti watched from his home as two dozen police officers and a SWAT team broke down the door and arrested one man.

Finally, in March 2012, he bought the house at 24 Mildred St. for $18,900 and tackled his ninth property. His wife, Lindy, was not thrilled, but Mr. Gigliotti, 56, was ready for another challenge — rehabbing the worst-looking house on the street. He formed a company called Crafton Redux and hired three Triangle Tech graduates to restore the 1904 house that is a near mirror image of his own. Nearly two years later, they’re finished. The four-bedroom, 21/2-bath house is for sale for $220,000.

Mr. Gigliotti has a long history with old houses. At age 19, he joined the local carpenters union. Since 1988, he has been buying houses to remodel and resell. For six years, he was a glazier at Rex Glass in Robinson; for another six he was a self-employed remodeling contractor. Since 2010, he has taught carpentry at Triangle Tech.

Although he has done his share of working on roofs, he had no interest in going up on the high-pitched roof to remove the chimney. So, he cut a 16-inch hole in the wall of a third-floor bedroom and put a ladder through it. Gradually, he and his crew removed bricks, ending up with enough to build a 21/2-foot-wide walkway that parallels the property’s upper side.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/homes/2014/02/01/From-eyesore-to-model-home-Crafton-man-rehabs-worst-looking-house-on-street/stories/201402010031#ixzz2s5JQBTfp

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South Hills Village Mall To Get Major Makeover

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

South Hills Village mall will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation as part of its owner’s plan to spruce up some of its shopping centers — to the tune of $3 billion — through 2016, an official said.

“We’re very focused on making our malls completely up-to-date and with the latest customer amenities, and giving our customers the best experience in which to shop and dine and be entertained,” Les Morris, spokesman for Simon Property Group Inc., said on Thursday.

The recession hurt shopping centers nationwide, so retail property owners have been upgrading malls rather than building more of them, said Jesse Tron, spokesman for the International Council of Shopping Centers in New York.

“I think 2014 will remain more about redevelopment, as opposed to new development,” he said.

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Startup Airline Has Its Eye On Pittsburgh

FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT

FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another startup airline trying to get off the ground has its sights set on Pittsburgh.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based City Link Air has talked to local officials about starting service from Pittsburgh International Airport, perhaps even seeing it as a potential focus city.

“They’re a startup looking for opportunities around the country. Like we talk to a lot of others, we talk to them,” said Bradley D. Penrod, president and chief strategy officer for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which operates Pittsburgh International.

Mr. Penrod characterized the dealings with City Link as “an early discussion. They’ve approached us and they’ve given us a presentation,” he said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2013/11/12/Startup-airline-has-its-eye-on-Pittsburgh/stories/201311120077#ixzz2rzvFE9SE

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Allegheny County Receives Upgraded Credit Rating

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

Allegheny County’s credit score has gotten another boost.

Financial rating agency Standard & Poor’s issued a news release Monday saying that it was upgrading the county’s long-term rating by one step, from an A+ to AA-.

The upgrade gives Allegheny County its highest rating in nearly 12 years, the county announced today in a news release.

“This is great news for Allegheny County and really reflects that we are heading in the right direction and making headway in improving our financial outlook,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement. “I am really proud of the job we have done in improving the fund balance, having an end-of-year cash balance, reducing reliance on one-time revenues for our budget and working cooperatively to address the issues that have impacted our bottom line.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/01/28/Allegheny-County-receives-upgraded-credit-rating/stories/201401280148#ixzz2rjtZjmzr

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Potent Heroin, Painkiller Mix ‘All Over Pittsburgh’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

The deadliest batch of heroin to hit Western Pennsylvania in more than 25 years killed as many as 13 people during the past week as authorities scrambled to warn users.

The unknown distributors of the drug apparently mixed in the powerful painkiller fentanyl and sold it in stamp bags marked with the brand name Theraflu — the same as the over-the-counter cold medication. The potent combination is causing overdoses and deaths in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

“I’m only at the very beginning of investigating the number of deaths,” said Dr. Karl Williams, Allegheny County‘s medical examiner. His office identified 13 people ranging in age from 25 to 51 whose deaths were believed to be connected to the batch. In four cases, authorities found bags with the Theraflu stamp with the victims.

“It’s all over Pittsburgh. It’s all over Allegheny County. It’s all over the surrounding counties. It’s a major regional issue,” said Williams, who with officials in Westmoreland County raised alarms about the drug on Friday.

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US Airways To Close Moon Flight Operations Center, Affecting 600 Jobs

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Built less than six years ago, a state-of-the-art flight operations control center in Moon will be closing and the work transferred to Texas, a casualty in the American Airlines-US Airways merger.

American Airlines announced Friday that it intends to consolidate flight operations in Dallas-Fort Worth over the next 18 months, costing the region a facility built specifically for the needs of US Airways and the 600 jobs that go with it.

“It’s pretty sad for the people that have been here for a long time,” said Danny Persuit, president of Transport Workers Union Local 545, which represents 164 employees at the center.

In a separate action, American also plans to transfer 53 mechanics out of Pittsburgh in what it said was an annual maintenance “rebalancing” unrelated to the merger.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/01/24/US-Airways-to-close-Moon-flight-operations-center/stories/201401240148#ixzz2rQyL9pLw

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Another Major Ice Jam Expected On Allegheny River

English: Lock and Dam Number 2 on the Alleghen...

English: Lock and Dam Number 2 on the Allegheny River at Aspinwall, Pennsylvania, USA (part of the Pittsburgh metropolitian area). The lock and dam were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a part of an extensive system of locks and dams to improve navigation along the Allegheny River. The Highland Park bridge crosses the river just above the dam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Allegheny River is poised to see its largest river ice jam in almost 20 years, according to the National Weather Service.

“The last time we had a major ice event was January 1996,” said Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Moon. “There was a lot of ice, primarily on the Allegheny River, and a decent snowpack.” A snowpack forms when snow from the surrounding countryside melts and runs into creeks, rivers and lakes.

“Rain covered the top (of the ice) and we had decently high temperatures,” he said. “It caused the ice to break loose and caused a lot of problems, including flooding in a lot of locations and river navigation headaches.”

Hendricks said the region’s extremely cold temperatures won’t break for at least another 10 days, so conditions will be ideal for the same situation to occur.

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Unemployment Benefits End For 86,900 In Pennsylvania

The year is starting with a social safety net disappearing for 86,900 unemployed Pennsylvanians.

Congress allowed the legislation authorizing emergency unemployment compensation, the federal extension of unemployment benefits, to expire as of Monday.

That means that the unemployment compensation debit cards issued by the state department of Labor and Industry will not be reloaded for people who have exhausted their original six months of unemployment payments.

According to the National Employment Law Project in New York City, the cuts will affect 1.3 million Americans immediately, 86,900 of them from Pennsylvania, which has the fourth-highest total of unemployed workers collecting the emergency long-term benefits.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2014/01/01/Unemployment-benefits-end-for-86-900-in-state/stories/201401010094#ixzz2pAS5blvw

Wilkinsburg High School Suffering Teacher Shortage

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Students enrolled in chemistry class at Wilkinsburg High School are being taught by a certified art teacher.

In high school French classes, a certified health and physical education teacher is providing instruction.

Those revelations, which came in the wake of the Dec. 17 school board meeting, astonished new board President Edward J. Donovan.

“I know the way things ought to be. What I don’t know entirely is how much out of whack things are in the way we are now,” said Mr. Donovan, who is a faculty member and program director of the Chatham University‘s department of education.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2013/12/26/Wilkinsburg-High-students-learning-chemistry-from-art-teacher-using-Web-Wilkinsburg-High-suffers-teacher-shortage/stories/201312260158#ixzz2obYT2brX