Pittsburgh Expects 2013 Completion For Point State Park Fountain

It will be another spring before the fountain at Point State Park bubbles up again.

That was the message Thursday about progress on the $9.6 million fountain renovation, which began in late 2011, part of a $35 million makeover of the entire park.

If the weather stays mild, flooding remains minimal and the construction work proceeds smoothly, park manager Matt Greene said he is “cautiously optimistic” that water will return to the fountain in spring 2013. The fountain was shut off in April 2009.

“So far, so good,” Mr. Greene said as he surveyed the tip of the Point.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/city-expects-2013-completion-for-point-state-park-fountain-636861/

Pennsylvania’s First Indoor Biking Park To Open In Pittsburgh’s Homewood Section

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)

Local mountain bikers are celebrating early, and their excitement is aimed at Homewood.

There, in a former metal fabricating plant on an entire block, biking aficionado Harry Geyer is creating The Wheel Mill, the state’s first indoor park for bicyclists — mountain bikers, BMX racers and free-stylists and even cyclists who like to keep their wheels on the ground.

Mr. Geyer is leasing the building at 6815 Hamilton Ave., to which he also moved the office of his construction and remodeling business. He has access to 57,000 square feet; Global Links has 23,000 square feet of warehouse space on the eastern end.

Possibly as soon as late summer, Mr. Geyer will open the bike park, rolling it out in stages from one immense room to another so that eventually, people won’t have to drive to Ray’s MTB Indoor Park in Cleveland.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pennsylvanias-first-indoor-biking-park-to-open-in-homewood-636804/

Pennsylvania House Panel Considers Eliminating School Property Tax

HARRISBURG, PA – The House Finance Committee today wrangled with a controversial idea — eliminating school property taxes and replacing the money with higher state personal income taxes and higher state sales taxes.

Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks, said property taxes on residential and commercial buildings are a major burden for many owners, especially senior citizens on fixed incomes.

“Even when the mortgage on a house is paid off, the owner still has to ‘rent’ it from the government by paying school property taxes, and that isn’t fair,” he said. Some owners have lost their homes when they were unable to pay rising property taxes, he added.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/state-house-panel-considers-eliminating-school-property-tax-636889/

Singer Robin Gibb Has Died At 62

LONDON  —  With his carefully tended hair, tight trousers and perfect harmonies, Robin Gibb, along with his brothers Maurice and Barry, defined the disco era. As part of the Bee Gees — short for the Brothers Gibb — they created dance floor classics like “Stayin Alive,” ”Jive Talkin’,” and “Night Fever” that can still get crowds onto a dance floor.

The catchy songs, with their falsetto vocals and relentless beat, are familiar pop culture mainstays. There are more than 6,000 cover versions of the Bee Gees hits, and they are still heard on dance floors and at wedding receptions, birthday parties, and other festive occasions.

Robin Gibb, 62, died Sunday “following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery,” his family announced in a statement released by Gibb’s representative Doug Wright. “The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time,” it said.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/singer-robin-gibb-has-died-at-62-1.1318029

Postal Service: Scranton Distribution Facility To Close Next Year

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

USPS service delivery truck in a residential area of San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reaffirmed its intention to close the processing and distribution facility on Stafford Avenue in Scranton.

The nearly bankrupt agency unveiled plans to consolidate 140 mail processing operations over the next year, including the Scranton plant. The facility employs 300 people, and the mail service plans to transfer the work to a center near Allentown.

“The plan is under review to move operations to the other facility beginning after January 2013,” Ray Daiutolo, regional spokesman for the postal service, said in an email.

The revelation came as Congress remains deadlocked over a postal reform bill, assuring more political activity over the agency’s future.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/postal-service-scranton-distribution-facility-to-close-next-year-1.1316809

Default Looms For Scranton Parking Authority As City Council Refuses To Pay SPA’s $1.4 Million Debt

Default is looming for the Scranton Parking Authority as city council refuses to release $1.4 million the authority needs by June 1 to pay debt, officials said.

SPA notified the council last fall it would have a budget deficit in 2012 and would need council to fill the gap. Council set the funds aside in a contingency account that only council can release, thus forcing SPA and Mayor Chris Doherty’s administration to come back to council for the funds.

As the city backs the SPA debt in question – and with the June 1 deadline fast approaching – the administration on May 10 requested emergency legislation from the council for the $1.4 million.

But the council refused and demanded that SPA executive director Robert Scopelliti and city Business Administrator Ryan McGowan first appear before council on May 17 to explain why the funds are needed. Councilman Pat Rogan and council Solicitor Boyd Hughes went so far as to say SPA should be allowed to go into default.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/default-looms-for-scranton-parking-authority-as-city-council-refuses-to-pay-spa-s-1-4-million-debt-1.1318104

Pending Home Sales Up 28.9% In Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Pending home sales grew by 28.9 percent here in April, the Lancaster County Association of Realtors said Friday.

Last month saw 495 pending sales here, up from 384 in April 2011, according to the Realtors group.

With the April surge, pending home sales in Lancaster County have climbed in 11 of the past 12 months, including the last seven in a row.

“We’re going in the right direction, and that’s exciting stuff,” said Quentin Miller, LCAR president. “I’m cautiously optimistic about the trend. This is the best we’ve seen in years.”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/651268_Pending-home-sales-up-28-9–in-Lancaster-County.html#ixzz1vWZ0jWNT

Phillipsburg Mall Ordered For Sale

Phillipsburg Mall is home to anchors like Sears, Bon-Ton, Kohl’s and JCPenney’s.

But have you noticed that the mall’s corridors are riddled with vacancies?

I witnessed the sea of empty storefronts as I walked through the mall during lunchtime Wednesday. I wasn’t necessarily dodging tumbleweeds, but the dearth was obvious.

Phillipsburg has one of the highest vacancy rates among the Lehigh Valley‘s shopping malls, with nearly three dozen empty storefronts among its more than 90 spaces in its online directory.

Read more:http://www.mcall.com/business/retailwatch/mc-phillipsburg-mall-for-sale-20120519,0,6196043.column?obref=obinsite

Lehigh Valley Housing Market Continues To Rebound

The Lehigh Valley housing market continued to rebound in April, with sales and prices up from a year ago.

A total of 466 homes sold in April in Lehigh and Northampton counties, up 24.9 percent from the same month a year ago, according to the Prudential Patt, White Real Estate HomExpert Market Report. The median sale price was $170,000, up 6.3 percent from a year ago and up 8.4 percent from the median sale price in March.

April was the tenth consecutive month of year-to-year sales increases and it was the second straight month of price increases. If the sales pace and price trends holds, it will mean the local housing market bottomed out last year.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-home-sales-april-20120521,0,518533.story

Reading Air Charter Offers Flights For Business Or Pleasure

Reading Airport, Pennsylvania

Reading Airport, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contrary to public perception, the Reading Regional Airport is not closed to air traffic.

It’s true that the airport lost its scheduled commuter service in 2004, but a local charter service is attempting to re-establish flights at the airport.

On Saturday, Reading Air Charter unveiled its new central office at the Reading Regional Airport terminal.

Its operations were previously on the North Ramp, next to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, where it continues to have a maintenance facility and school of flight.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=387462

Wyomissing Schools Chief Downplays Pending Departure

It’s been 39 years, but Wyomissing School District Superintendent David P. Krem can still remember his first day in the classroom as an elementary teacher.

It was 1973.

He was teaching fourth grade.

And there were firecrackers.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=387472