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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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.

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

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

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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Former Principal Sentenced For Lewd Behavior At McCandless Gym

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

A former Pittsburgh Public Schools principal convicted of lewd behavior at a McCandless gym was sentenced this afternoon to time served plus six months electronic monitoring.

Alfonzo DeIuliis, 37, was also ordered by Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel to serve five years probation and register as a sex offender for 25 years.

DeIuliis was the principal at Pittsburgh Brookline K-8 when he was arrested for obscene behavior that occurred between February and August 2013 at the LA Fitness in McCandless.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/north/2014/06/24/Former-principal-sentenced-for-lewd-behavior-at-McCandless-gym/stories/201406240199#ixzz35b6o1mA1

Make Pittsburgh Your 2014 Summer Destination

Make Pittsburgh Your 2014 Summer Destination.  Great promotional video from VisitPittsburgh.

First Hays Eaglet Fledges, 2 Still In The Nest

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)

The first of the three Hays eaglets took flight Friday on national Bald Eagle Day, designated by Congress to celebrate the successful recovery of the bald eagle in North America.

At 10:14 a.m., eagle watchers monitoring live video from a wildlife camera watched as one of the three eaglets hopped off a tree branch behind foliage and exited the picture in its first flight. People gathered on the Great Allegheny Passage trail reported the adolescent eagle soared near the nest accompanied by its mother.

“Yes, we can confirm this. It’s a fledging,” said Bill Powers, president of PixController, the security camera company that donated the camera in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/outdoors/2014/06/20/First-Hays-eaglet-fledges-2-still-in-the-nest/stories/201406200176#ixzz35HyztrjF

Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival Grows Into Separate Weekend

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like a maturing adult, the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival is moving out on its own.

“At first, there was a natural synergy,” says J. Kevin McMahon of the first three years of the festival, when it was held on a weekend with the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. “But we found we were competing with ourselves.”

He is the president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the organization that organizes the jazz festival. He has watched the festival grow during its first three years to the point where he and other planners decided it was time to move it to its own weekend — June 20 to 22.

It has drawn enough people — jazz fans, not simply strays from the arts festival — that it deserves to be on its own, he says. It adds another exciting weekend to the city, he says, and allows employees of the Cultural Trust to concentrate on the jazz festival rather than dividing their efforts.

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Century III Mall In West Mifflin Slides Into Retail Abyss

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

Jay Natale had a good year in 1979.

The Steelers won the Super Bowl. The Pirates won the World Series. And Natale opened a sporting goods store in the new Century III Mall in West Mifflin.

“The first year was unbelievable,” Natale, 70, of Elizabeth said, recalling a mobbed grand opening at the mall. “We hit the jackpot on that one.”

The jackpot lasted for nearly 20 years.

Since then, the mall has spiraled downward, losing customers, retailers and property value, which drained hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes from West Mifflin and its school district.

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Authorities Seize More Than 1,500 Bricks Of Heroin In Mt. Washington

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)

Law enforcement officers seized more than 1,500 bricks of heroin in a drug bust in Mt. Washington on Sunday, court records show.

Agents with the state Office of Attorney General charged James Perrin, 35, no address given, and Price Montgomery, 33, of Mt. Washington with drug possession with intent to deliver, corrupt organization, illegally possessing a firearm and other crimes.

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Nearby Businesses Can’t Escape Effects As PNC Tower Goes Up In Downtown Pittsburgh

Locator map with the Central Business District...

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

As a $400 million project to build PNC Financial Services Group’s new corporate headquarters nears the midpoint, surrounding business owners are anxiously awaiting completion of Downtown’s biggest skyscraper in more than a quarter-century.

Some look forward to an anticipated boost in business. Others long for their misery to end.

“It’s tough to complain about progress, but this project has definitely been a struggle for us,” said Rob Kania, owner of Metropolitan Preschool & Nursery, which runs a Fifth Avenue facility in the shadow of the project.

Most agree The Tower at PNC Plaza will become a jewel in the city’s skyline. PNC hopes it will be the world’s most environmentally friendly office building.

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Mt. Lebanon Church Channels Hollywood With ‘Fault In Our Stars’ Screening

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

It was like Oscar night and prom rolled into one.

Thursday night, men and women of all ages gathered at the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon in anticipation of the night’s main event: a screening of the film “The Fault in Our Stars,” adapted from John Green’s best-selling teen novel. Wearing dresses and suits — or, for a fancy few, gowns and tuxedos — most of the filmgoers, more than 300, chose to go Hollywood.

But for many of these attendees, the film had added significance in their community. The evening, which began with a gala-style red carpet event before the screening, was organized and planned by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon — which was used as one of the film’s set locations. In the movie, main characters Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort), two teens who meet during a cancer support group that is held within the walls of a church.

Lisa Brown, the church’s communications director and its children’s ministry director, said she fondly remembers when the film was being shot at the church in fall 2013. As the church is near the neighborhood schools, teenagers would arrive on set in order to meet Mr. Green and the film’s stars after classes ended, oftentimes dodging police officers. Ms. Brown said she wanted to capitalize on that excitement.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/2014/06/06/Church-channels-Hollywood-with-Fault-screening/stories/201406060103#ixzz33y9fXUKQ

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Developer Closes In On Macy’s Building In Downtown Pittsburgh

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)

The talk at Macy’s Downtown on Thursday was not so much about Father’s Day sales or new fall fashions as it was about plans to turn much of the venerable old building with the famous clock into residences.

Philadelphia developer Core Realty has reached an agreement to buy the 13-story building on Smithfield Street with the intent of converting all but four floors into apartments, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned.

As part of the sale, Macy’s department store would stay, although the number of floors devoted to retail would be shrinking once again. The store, once a 12-floor behemoth, is expected to be housed on the building’s first four floors, minus the mezzanine level, which would be closed and used as an entrance for residents.

Three years ago, Macy’s cut the number of floors in half, consolidating all retail, including furniture, on the first six floors of the building, plus the mezzanine.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/06/06/Developer-closes-in-on-Macy-s-building/stories/201406060108#ixzz33sq0Uqh7

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Downtown Pittsburgh Enjoys Growth In Population, Building Boom

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fred and Christine Thieman migrated from the suburbs to Downtown when their youngest child went to college about three years ago.

That year, for the first time in more than 90 years, the nation’s biggest cities, including Pittsburgh, grew faster than their suburbs, according to the Brookings Institution, a Washington policy group.

The trend continued in each of the past two years, though growth rates for cities and suburbs hover around 1 percent and the gap between them is narrowing, Brookings reported in May.

But the population living Downtown has soared. Census data show the area was home to 12,343 people last year, up 10.5 percent from 2010.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6202435-74/downtown-units-percent#ixzz33UyDfZnb
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Blockbuster Movie Could Make 2014 Pittsburgh’s Best Year For Film, TV Production

A blockbuster movie just approved for a multimillion-dollar Pennsylvania film tax credit could make 2014 Pittsburgh’s biggest year yet for film and TV production — as long as the project stays on track after losing its star.

Actor Will Smith backed out of the title role in “Brilliance” on Thursday as Legendary Pictures learned it had been awarded a $19.5 million tax credit by the Pennsylvania Film Office, putting the movie’s cost somewhere around $100 million.

“If the level of interest continues, this is setting up to be the biggest year we’ve ever had,” said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. She declined to comment on “Brilliance.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6202360-74/film-pittsburgh-tax#ixzz33J7wDHXV
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