Western Pa. Wakes Up To Flooding After Heavy Overnight Storms

A series of violent storms rumbled across Western Pennsylvania overnight, flooding roads and basements and knocking out power to thousands.

Thunderstorms flooded several areas along state routes 51, 30 and 119 and spurred a brief tornado scare in parts of Westmoreland and Allegheny counties — including a reported sighting of a funnel in Elizabeth Township.

Rihaan Gangat of the National Weather Service in Moon said there was no official verification of a tornado forming in the area as of late Sunday, although he did not dispute the legitimacy of a resident’s video, which showed a dark, wedge-shaped object.

“So far there haven’t been any reports of touchdowns out of that area,” Gangat said at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. “We did have a tornado warning out for the first storm because rotation was definitely seen but, because we lost daylight, it’s hard to tell if anything reached the ground.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/8567781-74/flooding-township-119#ixzz3dAMvXbmk
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

National, Pittsburgh Region Companies Rally To Extend Charter Of Export-Import Bank

GE Transportation recently signed a deal to build 100 locomotives in Erie — including engines made in Grove City — and sell them in Angola for $350 million.

GE used financing through the Export-Import Bank, which provides loans, loan guarantees and insurance to U.S. companies selling overseas. The bank, supporters say, helps U.S. companies compete more effectively for foreign business.

“If we hadn’t had that financing, the order would have gone to China,” said Richard Simpson, global head of supply chain for the company, who said Thursday that GE Transportation financed $720 million in sales to three other countries last year.

Such deals are in jeopardy, advocates for the 80-year-old bank say. Its charter expires June 30 and observers say it might not come up for a vote in Congress before then.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8548411-74/bank-companies-export#ixzz3csBLMqRz
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Where Is Pennsylvania’s Very Own Silicon Valley?

Move over, Silicon Valley: Pennsylvania has a tech hub of its own.
 
Over the past couple of decades, the San Francisco Bay Area has been the tech mecca of the country. It’s the shiny, silicon haven where the nerds are the cool kids and where artisanal coffee is a main food group; where there are more startups than gyms and everyone seems to be living far in the future.
 
But this flood of entrepreneurial hopefuls has brought with it a surge of sky-high housing costs and a lack of space. Those looking to start a company are already using all of their resources to make sure their venture is a success. But how can they take such a risk if they’re paying upwards of $4,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment?
 
As it turns out, there are other areas of the country—including some in Pennsylvania—where more tech companies and venture capital firms are popping up every year. These dark horses may be poised to become the next silicon superpowers.

To see the top 10 PA tech counties, click the link: http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20150611/where-is-pennsylvanias-very-own-silicon-valley

Plum School Board Member Says He Warned Administrators Of Inappropriate Contact

Former Plum school board member Joseph Tommarello said he told the school superintendent three years ago about inappropriate contact between English teacher Joseph Ruggieri and student – and told him again last year.

Superintendent Timothy Glasspool told him, “This would not be the first time he will have had to have a conversation with Mr. Ruggieri about inappropriate contact with students,” Tommarello said.

When he heard nothing back, Tommarello said he believed it meant there was nothing to be found.

“It’s disgusting to think that a teacher has some kind of relationship like this with a student and nothing gets done about it,” Tommarello said in an interview with the Tribune-Review Monday.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/8522969-74/board-district-tommarello#ixzz3cZevXcCL
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Ringgold High School Latest To Be Rocked By Sex Scandal

A trail of months-old text messages, followed by a police investigation that discovers an inappropriate relationship between an educator and a student: It’s a story line that’s becoming all too familiar.

At Plum High School, police have charged two teachers with crimes involving students. At Norwin High School, an investigation is ongoing after what were described as inappropriate text messages were found between a teacher and a student.

It unfolded again Thursday in the Ringgold School District, where police announced they had filed charges against a former guidance counselor for allegedly having sex with a high school football player.

Rostraver police said Lianne Danko, 33, of Rostraver, was charged with three counts of institutional sexual assault.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2015/05/21/Police-to-file-charges-against-Ringgold-guidance-counselor/stories/201505210175

Plum Seniors Move On After Tumultuous Year

Rain clouds and an ongoing criminal investigation could not dampen the spirits of 309 seniors who graduated from Plum High School on Friday night.

“It’s over,” senior class president Michael Bell said to a gymnasium audience brimming with nervous excitement. “We did it.”

The ceremony marked the end of a school year in which three teachers were charged criminally, two with sex crimes involving students, and other staff members were stuck under the cloud of a grand jury investigation into whether they knew about inappropriate relationships and did nothing.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8480032-74/plum-students-district#ixzz3cIB2i3Vz
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

East End’s Bakery Square 2.0 Complex Adds Townhouses

Construction of 52 luxury townhouses is expected to start this summer in the East End’s Bakery Square 2.0 complex, bringing the first for-sale housing to an area where apartment, office, retail and tech development has blossomed.

“It’s another piece of the puzzle,” said Gregg Perelman, CEO of Walnut Capital Partners, developers of the growing Bakery Square complex along Penn Avenue in Larimer and Shadyside.

Perelman said the townhouse development will be called Bakery Village. Prices will start in the “mid-to-high $400,000 range,” Perelman said.

“It’s the right price point for this market,” Perelman said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8502370-74/bakery-building-square#ixzz3cD3bKKRM
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Downtown Bike Lane Sees More Than 24,000 Rides In May

Protected bike lanes along Penn Avenue saw more than 24,000 bike trips in May, according to figures the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership release Thursday.

The bike lanes, installed in September 2014, eliminated a lane for vehicles with bollards along the route. Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership in mid-April installed three mechanical counters across the width of the bike lane on the 600, 900, and 1200 blocks of Penn Avenue to track usage.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/8502253-74/bike-downtown-avenue#ixzz3c7PPtenX
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Officials Hopeful Of Finally Obtaining Funding For Lower Mon Locks, Dams Project

Area congressmen are optimistic that federal funds will be available soon for a full year’s work of upgrading locks and dams on the lower Monongahela River.

John Rizzo, spokesman for Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Scranton, said Wednesday a bill with $52 million for the Lower Mon Project was released May 21 by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Matt Dinkel, spokesman for Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, said that $52 million is included in House of Representatives Bill 2028, an appropriations measure passed May 1.

Part of a $1.7 billion project, the $52 million is to be used in fiscal 2015-16 at the Charleroi No. 4 Locks and Dam by the Army Corps of Engineers.

That’s part of a project to upgrade Charleroi No. 4 and Braddock No. 2 locks and dams and eliminate Elizabeth No. 3 Locks and Dam.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/8493916-74/project-locks-million#ixzz3c7L0qfjF
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Pittsburgh Region Adds 24,600 Jobs; Unemployment Unchanged

The Pittsburgh region’s job market roared ahead in April, posting the biggest monthly hiring spree in at least 25 years.

The seven-county metropolitan area added 24,600 nonfarm jobs and the unemployment rate remained stable at 5.3 percent as more people began a job search, according to preliminary data the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry reported Tuesday.

It was the largest monthly gain on record since 1990, the earliest data available, and provided a nice boost heading into summer, PNC economist Kurt Rankin said.

“This is about as good a sign as we could get for the state of Pittsburgh’s economy,” Rankin said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8485741-74/jobs-april-sector#ixzz3c106tSgE
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Overhaul Possible For West Mifflin’s Century III Mall

The Century III Mall could be in for a dramatic makeover as the owner considers demolishing part of the complex to provide more retailers with outside entrances and bring in medical offices and a hotel.

A preliminary plan posted — and later removed on Thursday — from the website of the mall’s owner, Las Vegas-based Moonbeam Capital Investments, called for opening the center part of the 1.3 million-square-foot complex so that it would resemble more of a outdoor shopping plaza.

It also called for a movie theater and 14,800-square-foot hotel, as well as transforming a vacant Sears store into medical offices or an assisted living facility.

Calls and email messages left for Moonbeam officials were not returned. However, West Mifflin officials said they had been talking with Moonbeam about the overhaul.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8458529-74/mall-moonbeam-century#ixzz3bXtyh8Hk
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

UPMC Offering Buyouts To 3,500 Employees In Cost-Cutting Move

DSC01840UPMC is offering buyouts to 3,500 of its older workers in a move to cut costs as the Pittsburgh hospital giant adjusts to slowing demand for hospital-based care.

The nonprofit organization said Tuesday that it was offering the voluntary severance to employees who are 60 or older and have at least 10 years of service. The offer, which was made to 5.6 percent of UPMC’s total workforce, includes medical and dental benefits, severance pay and a one-time cash payment of $15,000, UPMC said in a statement.

“This program both honors and respects long-term staff members who are ready to move to the next phase in life and, simultaneously, helps achieve cost-savings for UPMC by adjusting our workforce to meet the demands of the health care marketplace,” the statement said.

UPMC is the state’s largest private employer, with about 62,000 workers.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8442119-74/upmc-health-largest#ixzz3bM0tSWNm
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Plum Teacher Held For Trial On Charges Of Witness Intimidation

A judge on Wednesday upheld intimidation charges against a Plum high school teacher amid tearful testimony from the alleged victim.

Drew Zoldak, a science teacher, is charged with two counts of witness intimidation for allegedly pointing out a victim in an ongoing student sex abuse investigation involving another Plum teacher.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/8447884-74/teacher-sex-intimidation#ixzz3bLzDQzwH
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

With Space To Spare, Pittsburgh International Draws Corporate Jet Carrier

Pittsburgh International Airport’s status as a former hub facility with space to spare helped draw OneJet, a new corporate jet carrier seeking to gain a foothold inside Concourse D.

“That’s one of the reasons Pittsburgh is one of the top five cities we put in place early on,” said CEO Matthew Maguire. “We see a bigger vision for it beyond the user service.”

OneJet, catering to business travelers on seven-seat Hawker 400s, launched between Milwaukee and Indianapolis in April, and Pittsburgh this month. A fourth destination will be announced within two months. Down the road, OneJet plans to add crews and maintenance operations in Pittsburgh.

OneJet’s business model focuses on gate-to-gate travel between midsized cities, allowing direct flights to destinations that otherwise involve lengthy layovers. A trip to Indianapolis with a connection may take 4 12 hours, compared with the about 60-minute service on OneJet

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8416213-74/onejet-pittsburgh-service#ixzz3bGO3ekH3
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Pittsburgh Has Dim View Of Ads On Sign Above Point

DSC01824

The sign in question is to the right of the tall building and the incline. Looks like a cement wall next to the trees on the cliff. Actually a billboard.

Picture this scrolling hundreds of feet above the iconic confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers: “Chipped ham, $1.39 a pound.”

That’s the plot Mayor Bill Peduto says his administration has foiled as it negotiates a new permit with Lamar Advertising for the company’s famous 32-foot-tall, 225-foot-long neon sign on Mount Washington, which has loomed over the Point since around the time of the 1929 stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression.

Bayer, which for years had pushed for upgrades to the dilapidated sign that was covered with a banner during the G-20 summit in 2009 like an embarrassing piece of furniture, finally dropped its nearly 22-year lease of the sign last summer. Lamar pledged to overhaul it. During its lifespan, the sign has also been graced by the sponsorship of Iron City Beer and Alcoa, and displayed the time and the temperature.

Mr. Peduto said Friday that the company is threatening to cease the improvements over his administration’s insistence that the sign not be used for advertising purposes beyond displaying a company name. Mr. Peduto said he was told his stance “killed” a deal with Giant Eagle to become the new sponsor.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/05/23/Pittsburgh-has-dim-view-of-ads-on-sign-above-Point/stories/201505230071

Officials Envision Reinvigorated Allegheny County Airport

The county airport authority wants West Mifflin’s Allegheny County Airport to be a destination — but not for commuter flights.

That sums up a meeting borough officials had Monday with new authority CEO Christina Cassotis that came 24 hours before a $1.5 million federal grant was announced for taxiway rehabilitation there.

“It was a positive meeting,” borough Manager Brian Kamauf said. “We discussed the history of the airport.”

It dates back to Pittsburgh and McKeesport’s window to the world between 1931 and 1952, when commercial service moved from West Mifflin to what then was Greater Pittsburgh Airport, now Pittsburgh International.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/8407018-74/airport-county-authority#ixzz3asqtZ8jy
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Developer Plans To Turn North Side’s Allegheny Center Into Technology Hub

A New York developer unveiled plans today to convert the Allegheny Center mall on the North Side into a technology hub and campus to be known as Nova Place.

The multimillion-dollar project being undertaken by Faros Properties will include an extensive renovation of the 1.2 million-square-foot complex, making it one of the largest redevelopment projects in the country, officials said.

Work will include upgraded offices, collaborative workspaces, new restaurants, a fitness center, a conference center and improved common areas.

In unveiling the changes, Faros announced that Innovation Works has signed a lease to occupy 12,000 square feet in the complex. The company will move from its current space in Pittsburgh to Allegheny Center next month and into permanent space in the fall.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/05/21/Developer-to-turn-Allegheny-Center-into-a-technology-hub/stories/201505210194

Grand Jury Investigating Plum Sex Scandal Involving Possibly 8 Students

An Allegheny County grand jury is investigating whether teachers at Plum High School abused as many as eight female students over as many as eight years and that school officials kept it quiet, according to a sealed search warrant executed Tuesday.

The warrant — signed Monday by Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos, who supervises the grand jury — sought records that could show whether district officials knew about inappropriate contact between staff and students.

The warrant indicates that a grand jury is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed against school officials for failing to report known sexual abuse.

Among the violations under consideration are tampering with records, fabricating evidence, obstructing the administration of law, failure to report abuse and intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in a child abuse case, according to the warrant.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8399593-74/ruggieri-hearing-charges#ixzz3ahY6QGzu
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Pittsburgh’s Healthy Ride Bike Share System To Start May 31

Pittsburgh’s bike share system will begin May 31, organizers announced Monday.

The rental network of 50 stations across 11 neighborhoods will provide access to 500 bikes. Dubbed Healthy Ride, the system will be operated by Pittsburgh Bike Share, which was established in 2012 with the goal of starting a public bike sharing system.

“We are excited to bring bike share to the city of Pittsburgh,” said a statement from Executive Director David White. “Residents, businesses and community groups have all shown tremendous support and enthusiasm for the launch. Healthy Ride will provide the city of Pittsburgh with an active transportation choice for locals and visitors.”

Rentals will be available for $2 per half hour. Monthly membership plans will cost $12 a month for unlimited 30-minute rides and $20 for unlimited 60-minute rides. Users can pre-register for free on the program’s website or at the rental kiosks at stations.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/8393723-74/bike-share-pittsburgh#ixzz3aavvY4hv
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

In The Lead: Carnegie / The Comeback Continues

Hans and Virginia Gruenert wanted to start a theater company when they lived in New York City. That’s where you’d do something like that.

But Off the Wall Theater Co. was destined to be born in Western Pennsylvania when Mr. Gruenert’s work brought the couple here in 2007. And after five years in Washington, Pa., they found a better fit in Carnegie.

Their decision happened to mesh with the borough’s trajectory of late.

The economic doldrums that gripped the region for years didn’t miss Carnegie. Then in 2004, when Chartiers Creek overran the business district as a remnant of Hurricane Ivan, dozens of businesses were damaged and many did not return.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/in-the-lead-2015/reports/2015/05/14/In-The-Lead-Carnegie-The-comeback-continues