Powerful New Video Predicts Bright Future For Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s transformation from steel and manufacturing to eds and meds is a well-known story that continues to attract national attention, this time from Time Magazine.

Watch the video at: http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Best-of-the-Burgh-Blogs/The-412/July-2015/Powerful-New-Video-Predicts-Bright-Future-for-Pittsburgh/#sthash.FC3Mg7RK.V9tODPci.dpuf

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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Mt. Lebanon Landlord With History Of Housing Violations Sued By State Attorney General’s Office

A Mt. Lebanon landlord who has been repeatedly fined for failing to have water service to his properties in Carrick and elsewhere – and who was accused of running a garden hose from someone else’s property to get water – is being sued by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.

The complaint, filed today in Common Pleas Court, names as defendants Davin Gartley, as well as his companies, Davin Investments Inc. and R.A.E.D. Investments Inc.

According to the complaint, the defendants operate at least 11 properties, including 2531-2539 Brownsville Road in Carrick, which has been the subject of the water problems.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants are violating Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law by failing to maintain habitable properties, failing to provide water service and failing to return tenant security deposits.

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Braddock’s Backers See Lots Of Potential In Community’s Future

When talking about Braddock, Molly Rice and Jeffrey Carpenter avoid the word “revitalization.”

The term, they say, implies what already exists in the community isn’t vital, and, therefore, doesn’t apply to the historic town.

“Braddock isn’t what you might think it is. There are so many elements and varieties of colors and layers and things to see,” says Rice, a playwright who’s working with Carpenter’s Bricolage Production Company and Real/Time Interventions to bring her “Saints Tour” immersive theater experience to Braddock in May and June.

The show is one of many efforts to draw outsiders in while the community continues to move forward from its unstable past.

Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/moreaande/8147634-74/braddock-sousa-theater#ixzz3ZrLDNYdB
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Pittsburgh Needs 21,000 Affordable Homes, Study Says

DSC01828Mayor Bill Peduto’s newly named Affordable Housing Task Force has daunting numbers to chip away at. For starters, a shortage of 21,000 homes in Pittsburgh that are affordable enough for families of four whose income is $24,000, which is 30 percent of the area’s median income for that size household.

Attorney Robert Damewood of Regional Housing Legal Services called the shortage “severe” and said that throughout Allegheny County, more than 30,000 people live in housing they can’t afford, most paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing. “This makes them very insecure and at risk of eviction.”

The  has just issued a report on a situation it expects to escalate as rents rise in more neighborhoods.

Mr. Damewood researched and prepared the report for the Housing Alliance’s Building Inclusive Communities work group. It recommends the city establish inclusive zoning, assuring a percentage of affordable units in any development, either by mandate or incentives to developers, such as land use approvals, height density bonuses and additional build-outs at no extra cost. In flat markets, a community land trust or land bank can preserve properties for affordable development.

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Allegheny Health Network’s $600M Plan To Expand Reach Depends On Highmark

Allegheny Health Network proposes investing part of $175 million from Highmark Inc. in renovations and technology upgrades at its Allegheny General and West Penn hospitals, anticipating that they will accommodate more patients when Highmark insurance subscribers lose in-network access to UPMC next year.

The Highmark-owned hospital system would build outpatient medical centers and expand emergency, trauma and women’s health services to underserved parts of Western Pennsylvania as part of a spending plan that executives say will help it better compete with UPMC.

“The entire amount … will be used for capital improvements at Allegheny Health Network to fill in certain service line gaps,” Chief Financial Officer Karen Hanlon said during a state Department of Insurance hearing Monday. “No portion of the requested funding will go to pay operating expenses.”

UPMC Treasurer Tal Heppenstall Jr. said Allegheny Health Network is in worse financial condition than Highmark has reported and chided the company for its “profound lack of financial transparency.” He said it appears Highmark is hiding huge losses in “sporadic, fragmented and murky” financial statements.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/healthnews/8208546-74/highmark-health-network#ixzz3ZH4hmeqt
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CEO Takes The Blame As Sales Continue To Fall At Vitamin Retailer GNC

Mike Archbold fell on his sword Thursday, calling an unexpected drop in first-quarter sales at GNC a “self-inflicted wound.”

Archbold, who was hired as CEO in August to turn around a yearlong slump in sales and profit, said he mistakenly cut the Downtown-based vitamin and supplement retailer’s advertising budget by $5 million.

“We intentionally did not deploy a full slate of marketing. … This caused us to talk to our customers less, a lot less,” he told analysts. “To be clear, this was a mistake.”

Not a factor in the decline, he said, was negative publicity from a probe by the attorney general of New York that questioned the purity and authenticity of some herbal supplements sold by GNC and other retailers.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8253719-74/sales-million-cents#ixzz3YuG3RfYW
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Plum High School Teacher Hires Attorney Who Also Represents Jerry Sandusky

A Plum High School teacher has hired an attorney who also represents Jerry Sandusky.

Drew Zoldak, 40, of New Kensington, has hired Butler county defense attorney Alexander H. Lindsay Jr. to defend him against charges of witness intimidation.

Lindsay also represents Sandusky in the former Penn State assistant football coach’s post conviction relief act appeal of his conviction for molesting young boys.

Zoldak is accused of identifying a girl in his class as one who allegedly had sex with Joseph Ruggieri, 40, of Plum, an English teacher at the school charged with institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors and witness intimidation.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8254654-74/zoldak-attorney-plum#ixzz3Yd9jBB00
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Allegheny County DA, Monroeville Police Team To Reduce Drug Activity, Violent Crime

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office will work with Monroeville police to reduce drug activity and violent crime in the eastern suburbs, officials said Thursday.

Drug activity in Monroeville has increased in the past six or seven years as Pittsburgh police efforts pushed drug sales out of Homewood and into nearby suburbs, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said.

“In a relatively short period of time, I think we can knock those numbers down,” Zappala said at a news conference in the Monroeville municipal building.

Police are monitoring the movement of narcotics in Monroeville’s business districts, he said. His office and other law enforcement agencies plan to work with Monroeville police to refocus the department’s efforts to monitor certain areas of the municipality.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8225273-74/monroeville-drug-police#ixzz3YFEFf2vU
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