Monessen Police Investigating Drive-By Shooting

Monessen police are looking for two men involved in a drive-by shooting Tuesday afternoon.

City police were called to Somerset Street around 2:20 p.m. when neighbors heard gunfire.

Police Chief John Mandarino said the suspects, believed to be white or light-skinned black men in a black or dark blue sport utility vehicle, were traveling down Somerset Street when one of the men shot toward a house. The bullets struck three houses on the same block.

No injuries were reported.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/8084970-74/police-monessen-shooting#ixzz3W0mGI026
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Disappointing Conclusion To Bald Eagles’ Breeding Season

In Hays there will be no eaglets. Late Friday the Western Pennsylvania Audubon Society confirmed that the second of two eggs laid a month ago was no longer viable. The first broken egg was pushed out of the nest March 14.

“We’ve been watching all day — their behavior seemed unusual, kind of baffling,” said Audubon executive director Jim Bonner. “A screen shot from 10:25 a.m. looked conclusive to me. It looked like a broken, flattened egg being lifted out of the nest. I doubt that the first broken egg would look that intact after two weeks. We are unfortunately at this time saying the egg looks to be lost.”

It was a disappointing conclusion to the bald eagles’ third breeding season. The 6 1/2-year-old female laid the first egg Feb. 17 and the second Feb. 20, to the glee of thousands of eagle watchers in Pittsburgh and beyond watching streaming video from a wildlife camera mounted near the nest.

This is the second year the state Game Commission has permitted the camera system, donated by the Murrysville-based PixController security camera company, and this year managed by the local Audubon chapter.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2015/03/27/No-Hays-eaglets-in-2015/stories/201503270393

Donora Demolishing Former Fifth Street School

For more than a decade, Virginia Summers anticipated the day she could gaze across the street from her Donora home and see – nothing.

She is about to get her wish.

The borough on Thursday began demolition of the century-old building known as Fifth Street School. The structure, located at the intersection of Fifth Street and Allen Avenue, has been deteriorating for years and had become a safety issue.

“It’s been a pest,” Summers said. “… It is unsafe and everybody knows it. You could see bricks falling down. We’ve been troubling council for 10 years asking to please get it down, get it down. And I’m grateful they were finally able to make it happen.”

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Bodies Of Kochu, Gray Found In Ohio River In West Virginia

The hearts of the families of two missing Pittsburgh men were broken Thursday when they learned that bodies recovered from the Ohio River in West Virginia last week were those of their loved ones.

The deaths of Andre Gray, who had been shot to death, and Paul Kochu, who might have drowned, “are not related” and are being investigated separately, city police Cmdr. RaShall Brackney said at a news conference Thursday night.

“I’m thankful to God for bringing my son home,” said Gray’s mother, Victoria Gray-Tillman, as she and other family members stood next to Brackney. “Now I can have closure. … I knew all along the Lord had my son.”

City Public Safety Department spokeswoman Sonya Toler said Hubert Wingate, 30, who has been in the Allegheny County Jail since Feb. 21 on unrelated fugitive from justice charges, has been arrested for the slaying of Gray.

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Commissioners Lament ‘Divisiveness’ Of Mt. Lebanon Deer Culling Debate

The most disappointing part of Mt. Lebanon’s deer management program that ended abruptly last week was “the divisiveness and mean-spirited rhetoric” that split the community, commissioners said at their meeting Monday night.

“For the good of the community, we must try to reset the dialogue,” President John Bendel read from a letter at the meeting.

But opponents of the program said there is still work to be done.

They again lined Washington Road before the commission’s discussion session and subsequent meeting.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2015/03/24/Commissioners-lament-divisiveness-of-Mt-Lebanon-deer-culling-debate/stories/201503240130

Pittsburgh Bald Eagles’ Egg Expected To Hatch This Week

For birdwatchers and fans of the great outdoors, 2014 was a red letter year when a pair of nesting bald eagles along the Monongahela River in Hays successfully hatched and reared three young eagles.

The pair started with two eggs this year but lost one about a week ago when it broke. The remaining egg is expected to hatch sometime this week.

Though it is normal for eagles to hatch one or two eggs each spring, eagle sightings remain something of a novelty in the region. Bald eagle fans regularly flock to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail just west of the Glenwood Bridge to watch the pair on the hillside above Route 837.

Worldwide, millions keep tabs on the eagles, day and night, by way of a video stream on the Pittsburgh Bald Eagles website ( http://triblive.com/news/projects/pittsburgheagle)

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On The Horizon: PNC’s $400M Tower Nears Completion

Picture of PNC Tower in July 2014

Picture of PNC Tower in July 2014

PNC Financial Services Group’s $400 million skyscraper in Downtown is nearly 80 percent complete and on track to be finished in the fall, the company said Friday.

Mayor Bill Peduto said he welcomes “the addition of their new tower to our celebrated skyline,” along with the financial giant’s continued investment in Pittsburgh.

PNC’s Downtown presence includes the 30-story One PNC Plaza, 34-story Two PNC Plaza, 23-story Three PNC Plaza and five-story PNC Firstside Center on First Avenue.

Construction of the skyscraper, dubbed The Tower at PNC Plaza, began in spring 2012. A PNC-run website dedicated to the project says The Tower is 78 percent complete, with work to enclose the building about 90 percent done and interior construction about 60 percent finished. The latter work is expected to be completed in the spring.

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Stylebook Snapshot: Pittsburgh Knit And Crochet Festival Embraces Growth With New Venue

What do you compare to covering the Andy Warhol Bridge with a rainbow of 500-plus knitted and crocheted blankets as part of the Knit the Bridge fiber arts installation in 2013? How about a 78-foot “waterfall” of yarn cascading along the walls of a Downtown hotel?

This spectacle will be among the sights next weekend at the 11th annual Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival, which will include a fashion show, design contest, giveaways and more than 80 classes and hands-on activities. This year, the event also will attract a film crew to Pittsburgh that will tape a segment about the city and its fiber arts scene for a reality television show.

For the first time, the festival will be held Downtown at the Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh hotel to accommodate its growing attendance. Last year, about 3,500 people came out for the festivities at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Marshall, where the festival took place for several years.

“We have people who come from across the country to attend,” says festival organizer Barbara Grossman. “It’s become like a retreat.”

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/life/fashion/2015/03/22/Stylebook-snapshot-Pittsburgh-Knit-and-Crochet-Festival-embraces-growth-with-new-venue/stories/201503220015

Naturi Startup Of Pittsburgh Created Out Of Desire For Better Yogurt

Aditya Dhere and Anes Dracic got their idea for a yogurt company when they couldn’t find what they wanted on supermarket shelves.

The recent MBA graduates of Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business ate a lot of yogurt and enjoyed making up recipes with fruit and nuts, but they wanted an organic, high-protein option.

“By being both active and engaged in physical activities … (we) thought, ‘Hey, why not give food a try and change the landscape a bit?’ ” Dracic said. “So we came up with our own brand.”

Naturi, based in the Strip District, was incorporated in February. The pair envision their yogurt as an artisanal alternative to Stonyfield, Chobani, Fage and Yoplait Greek yogurts filling grocery shelves. It tastes better, they said, because it is made with milk from grass-fed cows.

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PennDOT Expects $272 Million In District Road Work This Year

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will start or continue several major projects on local roads and bridges this year as it spends an estimated $272 million to give drivers a smoother, safer ride.

There will be plenty of inconvenience on the way in District 11, which includes Allegheny Beaver and Lawrence counties. PennDOT officials at a briefing this morning stressed the importance of safe driving, including adhering to work zone speed limits.

Specific announcements of road and bridge closures or restrictions will come as the events draw nearer, officials said.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2015/03/16/PennDOT-expects-272-million-in-road-work-this-year/stories/201503160147

Pittsburgh To Participate In Federal Program To Improve Police-Community Relations

The Justice Department picked Pittsburgh and five other cities as sites for a pilot program intended to test police-community relations strategies and policies, the agency said Thursday.

The agency chose the sites based on factors that include the applicants’ willingness to try ideas and their ability to collect data that would provide a scientific evaluation of methods.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton and Mayor Bill Peduto scheduled a news conference for Friday to discuss Pittsburgh’s role in the initiative.

Pittsburgh applied to become a pilot site, and police Chief Cameron McLay is excited about the opportunity, said Public Safety Department spokeswoman Sonya Toler.

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Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Kicks Off At 10 a.m. On Saturday

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh has its good days, like the 70-degree beauty in 2012, and it’s bad ones, the blizzard of 1993, but one thing is certain: It’s going to happen either way.

The parade, which started in 1864 and has run consecutively since 1950, will step off near the Greyhound station on Liberty Avenue and make its way to the Post-Gazette building on Saturday with nearly 200 marching units, including bands, floats, politicians and groups from Irish and other ethnic communities.

After all, everyone is Irish at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

This year’s grand marshal is Martin Madigan of Hampton, a founding member of the Irish Society for Education and Charities, former Pennsylvania State president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and retiree from the Allegheny County Register of Wills Office.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/life/holidays/2015/03/12/St-Patrick-s-Day-Parade-kicks-off-at-10-a-m-on-Saturday/stories/201503120040

Mt. Lebanon’s Controversial Deer-Culling Program Gets Underway

Mt. Lebanon’s controversial deer-culling program began late Monday night with another protest, though all the activity surrounding the cull scared deer away from at least one of the corrals and the rest of the night appeared to pass uneventfully.

About 15 anti-culling protesters gathered starting at 9 p.m. in the parking lot for Bird Park off Beadling Road, hoping to document the arrival of the contractors and their departure with any deer, said Dina Alberts, 27, of Carnegie.

“Our goal is to go to each (commission) meeting with up-to-date information, truthful information, and the only way to get it is to see it with our own eyes,” said Alberts, who grew up in Mt. Lebanon but joined the protesters who feel the culling will be inhumane and ineffective.

The group broke up and headed home by 11 p.m. without seeing any activity, though other protesters who’d visited Robb Hollow Park were approached by police and asked to leave earlier in the evening, said Leila Sleiman, who helped organize the protest at Bird Park.

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Man Gets 17 3/4 To 44 Years In Prison For Killing Pittsburgh Police Dog

The man who fatally stabbed a Pittsburgh police dog will spend 17 34 to 44 years in prison, an Allegheny County judge ruled Tuesday.

John Rush, 22, of Stowe, said nothing as sheriff’s deputies led him back to his holding cell in handcuffs and shackles.

Rocco’s handler, Officer Phil Lerza, said he was “happy” with sentence.

“I lost my partner from this and he was also a family member,” Lerza told the judge. “I lost a family member that day.”

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Gas Industry’s Pain Ripples Across Western Pennsylvania

Lunch crowds in the Hardwood Cafe used to be packed with dozens of workers from the natural gas industry.

A lot of them were regulars. Lately, some familiar faces have disappeared.

“I would say it was right after the holidays that a lot of them were not coming back,” said Justin Trainor, who owns the restaurant in Penn. “The servers would say, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen so and so,’ and (the gas workers) would say, ‘Oh, they didn’t bring them back.’ ”

The falloff in customers has put a dent in Trainor’s business, which has benefited from the gas industry boom in Western Pennsylvania. But low gas prices have forced companies such as Rex Energy and XTO to pull back on new drilling, and the effects are beginning to ripple throughout the region’s economy.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/7817061-74/gas-prices-industry#ixzz3TuGip89T
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Technical Issues Could Delay Mt. Lebanon Deer Cull

The cull of 150 white-tailed deer in Mt. Lebanon, scheduled to start tonight, might be delayed for technical reasons.

Brian Benner of Wildlife Specialists in Wellsboro, Tioga County, said Sunday that some necessary equipment wasn’t in place.

The company also plans to request an addendum to its Pennsylvania Game Commission permit, he said, expanding the number of workers it may use during the operation.

“I’m not sure if we’ll start Monday or not. It depends on how much equipment we can set up,” Mr. Benner said. “We still have to set up some cameras and different technology that lets us know where the deer are.”

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2015/03/08/Mt-Lebanon-deer-cull-may-be-postponed/stories/201503080211

Study: Minorities In Pittsburgh Region Dominate Low-Wage Jobs

Ever since the British defeated the French and the Indians then changed the name of Fort Duquesne to Fort Pitt, the vast majority of the population of Pittsburgh has been white.

The workforce of the Pittsburgh region is now 89 percent white, with the remaining share of workers split between African Americans (7 percent), Hispanics and Asians (2 percent each), and 1 percent people who are listed as another racial minority, according to a study released Thursday by the Workforce Diversity Indicators Initiative that was the subject of a forum on diversity at the University of Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The employment sectors with the most diversity also were the lowest-paying sectors, such as administrative and support services with 20 percent share of minorities. That sector includes office work jobs and marketing but also security services, cleaning and maintenance and waste disposal. Minority workers in those jobs make $2,761 a month, which, according to the report, was one of the lowest of all sectors.

Even lower pay was found in the sector with the second highest concentration of minority workers — accommodation and food services — which had 16 percent representation by minority workers on the payrolls earning $1,442 a month.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2015/03/06/Pittsburgh-region-minorities-dominate-low-wage-jobs-study-finds/stories/201503060177

Alcoa May Close Or Sell Some Aluminum Plants To Cut Costs

Alcoa Inc. may close or sell 14 percent of its smelting capacity and 16 percent of its refining capacity in a move to lower costs in the face of falling aluminum prices and higher production in China.

New York-based Alcoa, which has significant operations in Pittsburgh, said it will review high-cost operations across its global system of aluminum production facilities over the next 12 months.

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McKeesport Backs Effort To Rebuild Housing In Seventh Ward

McKeesport soon may have two new homes built in the city’s Seventh Ward cultural and educational district — and perhaps more after that.

City council Wednesday gave “unqualified support” to ACTION-Housing Inc.’s requests for funding for two homes on space cleared near the Twin Rivers school complex.

“ACTION-Housing will act as a partner with the city in the development and sale of the two new homes,” Mayor Michael Cherepko wrote in a letter dated Feb. 27 to Allegheny County’s Department of Economic Development.

That department handles a housing development fund and affordable housing trust fund that could be part of a mix of funding sources the nonprofit will pursue.

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Pittsburgh’s Downtown Tops Ranking Of Small To Midsized Cities

The Golden Triangle is America’s best downtown among small to midsized cities, according to a report released Monday by a Tennessee-based marketing company.

“Downtown has made tremendous strides in the last five years,” said John Valentine, executive director of the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corp.

Livability.com, owned and operated by Journal Communications Inc., said Pittsburgh’s walkable Downtown features a growing population, numerous entertainment options and low vacancy rates.

Officials from Mayor Bill Peduto’s office and two Downtown advocacy groups said they have not worked with the marketing firm but were pleased to accept its recognition.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/7884812-74/downtown-pittsburgh-cities#ixzz3TM0d7C5Q
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