Sears At Pittsburgh Mills Mall In Frazer Closing In January

Pittsburgh Mills

Pittsburgh Mills (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  First Century III, now Pittsburgh Mills

The Sears store and Auto Center at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills mall will close in mid-January, a spokesman for Sears Holdings confirmed this morning.

The closing is part of the company’s strategy to reduce expenses and speed up the transformation of their business model, said company spokesman Howard Riefs.

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Fear Grows Along With Body Count In Week Of Violence On Pittsburgh Streets

Locator map with the Glen Hazel neighborhood i...

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

Gunmen targeted three victims in two apparently unrelated incidents Monday after a “pretty violent” week around the city that left some residents fearing for their lives.

A Pittsburgh sanitation worker was shot to death in his car Monday morning as he prepared to begin his route. Less than five hours later, two masked gunmen chased two victims on the streets of Glen Hazel in full view of neighbors, killing one and leaving the other in critical condition. A Chicago man was shot in the face and killed Saturday night in Beltzhoover. Arlington Heights was the scene of two daylight shootings Saturday and Sunday that wounded four.

Police are treating the incidents as unrelated, said Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler.

“Right now, there’s no reason to believe they’re connected,” Toler said. She described the past week as “pretty violent” and said the people involved in most of the shootings participated in “undesirable activities.”

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Thrival Festival To Showcase Pittsburgh’s Music, Tech Scenes

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood...

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

Pass through East Liberty and Larimer this week, and you might hear some music and see some gadgets made right here in Pittsburgh.

The Thrival Festival starts Monday, featuring a week’s worth of novel computer products and people brainstorming about how to persuade tech types that Pittsburgh fosters innovation. Plus, there’s music. Talib Kweli will play on Saturday, and Moby will perform on Sunday.

“The goal of this year is to make some noise, to get Pittsburgh on the map more than we already are — to darken the blot,” said Bobby Zappala, CEO of Thrill Mill, an East End tech business incubator sponsoring the festival.

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Woman Shot Dead, Mother Wounded In Hill District Shooting

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)

Three gunmen firing at least 20 shots killed a woman and wounded her mother Friday afternoon in front of the garage of their Hill District home, police said.

The shooting occurred about 3:15 p.m. in the 900 block of Cherokee Street near the intersection of Iowa Street. Neighbors heard multiple gunshots and called 911, Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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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Greensburg City Council Resolves To Seek Grant Applications For Projects

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

Greensburg City Council on Monday unanimously approved resolutions seeking grant applications to fund two projects.

The city will seek a Multimodal Transportation Fund grant for a proposed health care district for the Fifth and Sixth wards.

The written resolution seeks a $2 million grant application through the state Department of Community and Economic Development and PennDOT.

Consultant Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh and others put together the plan with the intent to enhance the two wards and spark development.

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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.

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Pittsburgh-Area Employers Added 22,300 Jobs In April

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)

Sunny Kourkoutis spent six months on unemployment and a couple more working in a job she hated before she found something that suited her restaurant experience.

“When I was on unemployment, I could have easily gotten a job as a server,” said Kourkoutis, 42, of Bridgeville. “But at my age, it’s not something I really saw myself doing.”

In April, Kourkoutis finally found a job she enjoyed. She was hired as reservations manager at Jacksons Restaurant in Cecil and since was promoted to assistant executive manager. In so doing, she joined a hospitality industry that added 8,100 jobs last month and has led growth in the local economy.

Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh region added 22,300 nonfarm jobs in April, and the unemployment rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.6 percent, according to preliminary figures released on Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The decline occurred as 3,900 more people began looking for work, an expression of confidence in Pittsburgh’s economy.

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Judge OKs Sale Of Wilson Center; Hotel Feasibility Study To Begin

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)

An Allegheny County judge on Tuesday approved the sale of the debt-ridden August Wilson Center for African American Culture to a New York-based company.

Common Pleas Judge Lawrence J. O’Toole agreed that 980 Liberty Partners will have 60 days to perform an engineering study to determine the feasibility of building a hotel atop the center and 10 days to show proof that it has the money to close on the sale.

The judge scheduled a status conference for June 9 and did not rule on pending objections.

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Tours To Show Off Different Facets Of 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)

A decades-old Pittsburgh transportation company is adding to its repertoire a series of tours exploring the city’s quirky and eclectic side, from its famed slaw-and-fries sandwich to a Hill District home once rented by Pirates great Roberto Clemente.

Pittsburgh Tours and More, a division of Pittsburgh Transportation Group, also will offer a look at Western Pennsylvania’s Amish life and silver-screen locations, as well as stops at breweries where patrons can wash down local history with a cold pint.

“This provides another way to spotlight the city,” said Sherris Moreira, director of Tours and More. “We saw there was a need in Pittsburgh.”

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Pittsburgh Tribune Circulation Pulls Away From Post-Gazette’s

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

The Tribune-Review widened its circulation edge over the Post-Gazette with gains in its printed newspapers on Sundays.

The Tribune-Review and its Trib Total Media-branded papers and electronic editions posted a Sunday circulation total of 337,484 during the six months that ended March 31, more than 45,000 ahead of the P-G, according to figures from the Alliance for Audited Media.

Average weekday and Saturday circulation over the six months at the Trib also outpaced the competition.

The Trib’s Sunday papers increased from a year ago partly because of the inclusion under alliance rules of branded community papers.

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Hazelwood Neighbors Await Bankruptcy Result As Trash Resters At Recycler

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)

Mounds of garbage left behind when a Hazelwood recycling center went bankrupt in January are providing a place for rats to breed and causing a public health hazard, residents and government officials said on Thursday.

Residents say debris at Pittsburgh Recycling Services Inc. along railroad tracks at Vespucius and Dyke streets reeks of decay.

“Since they closed up, I’ve had a major problem with rodent infestation,” said Stanley Benovitch, 71, whose backyard faces the site. “I have two little dogs, and one of them’s a hunter. She’s killed three rats right here in the backyard.”

On Thursday, Benovitch found a fourth that his dog Trixie killed.

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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.

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Work On Civic Arena Site To Begin In August

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)

Construction of streets at the former Civic Arena site, now a sprawling parking lot in the heart of Pittsburgh, will begin in August, officials said on Thursday.

It will be the first significant activity on the 28-acre site since crews completed demolition of the arena about two years ago. More than $500 million in redevelopment is planned.

“We’re almost ready to start construction of the urban street grid,” said Mary Conturo, executive director of the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority.

The first phase is expected to cost $9 million and focus on building interior streets on the eastern part of the site, Conturo said. The work is expected to take about a year.

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Greensburg Council Hears Pitch For Westmoreland County Land Bank

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

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

A Westmoreland County Land Bank brings a chance to remove dilapidated buildings and find another productive use for them, a county official told Greensburg City Council on Tuesday.

“It’s a proactive way to tackle slum and blight in the county,” said April Kobus, executive director of the county redevelopment authority.

Council expects to consider an agreement for the initiative, approved by the county commissioners in December, on Monday.

Greensburg, the county seat, would be an ideal entity to be among the first of 10 municipalities to join the program as part of a multi-phase endeavor, Kobus said.

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