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

The bodies of two Pittsburgh men who have been missing for months were were both found last week floating in the Ohio River in West Virginia, Pittsburgh police said Thursday night.

The body of Paul Kochu, 22, of the South Side was found near Wheeling Island last Thursday.

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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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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

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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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.

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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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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.

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15 Cheap Cities Where You Don’t Need A High Salary To Buy A House

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Are you making enough money to afford a home in your area?

In some areas around the country, earning little more than $30,000 annually may be enough to afford a house, whereas in other, more expensive areas, you will need almost five times as much.

HSH.com, a mortgage research data Web site, analyzed fourth-quarter data to determine the minimum salary needed in order to be able to afford a home in the 27 largest metro areas in the United States.

For the third quarter in a row, Pittsburgh was found to be the most affordable city in the country, with an annual median salary of just $31,716.32 needed to afford a home there. Those working in San Francisco need to make 4.5 times the amount that Steel City workers earn to afford a home.

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http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/10-cheap-cities-where-you-dont-need-a-high-salary-to-buy-a-house/13055140

Boston’s Policy On Affordable Housing Inspires Pittsburgh Task Force

The ultra-chic Residences at Mandarin Oriental in Boston’s Back Bay — a development with its own concierge and marble foyers, as well as rents that range from $4,700 to $17,000 a month — has been the province of the rich and powerful since opening in 2008.

But not exclusively.

Thanks to a 15-year-old city policy, teachers, police officers and other modest wage earners live next door to the wealthy at the Mandarin and other luxurious residential developments in Boston.

Because of the city’s inclusionary development policy, the Mandarin houses 10 affordable apartments — comparable in size and quality to the others — with rents ranging from $1,365 to $2,340 a month. The lucky recipients were chosen by lottery.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2015/02/22/Boston-s-policies-on-affordable-housing-inspires-Pittsburgh-leaders/stories/201502220077

Plan To Relocate Pittsburgh Playhouse Downtown Approved; Millcraft Proposes Condos For Saks Site

The stage is set for the relocation of the Pittsburgh Playhouse to Downtown. City planning commission members unanimously approved plans for construction of new playhouse complex on Forbes Avenue Downtown today, clearing the way for its move from Oakland.

Approval came over the objections of preservationists who urged the commission to no avail to save three Forbes Avenue facades that will be relocated and integrated into the new complex under the plans advanced by Point Park University.

With today’s decision, Point Park intends to start construction in March with the demolition of three Forbes Avenue buildings and hopes to have the new complex ready for audiences in July 2017.

The $53 million project will feature a 550-seat main theater, a 200-seat adaptive theater with doors that will open to a plaza for outdoor performances, a 100-seat black box theater and supporting facilities.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2015/02/10/Millcraft-proposes-to-build-condos-garage-at-former-Saks-site-Downtown-Pittsburgh/stories/201502100184

Farm To Table To Sponsor ‘For The Love Of Pittsburgh’ Food Tasting

In the middle of a cold Pittsburgh winter, a Farm to Table Local Food Tasting might seem like an unfeasible event to pull off.

Even though local produce is hard to find now in this region, Erin Hart, director of health-benefit services for American HealthCare Group, the sponsor of Farm to Table, says it’s a great time of year “to slow down and savor the winter offerings of local farms and food producers.”

Those offerings include greens, squash, potatoes, apples, onions and garlic; shelf staples such as canned goods, honey and maple syrup; and all kinds of meats, eggs and cheeses.

The first “For the Love of Pittsburgh” Farm to Table Local Food Tasting will take place Feb. 8 at Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District.

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BNY Mellon Is Putting Iconic Citizens Bank Tower Up For Sale

The Citizens Bank Tower, an iconic building that was one of Pittsburgh’s first skyscrapers and remains among the tallest in its skyline, is up for sale as its owner hopes to capitalize on intense interest for Downtown office space.

Owner Bank of New York Mellon is shopping the building as part of plans to scale back its real estate footprint to cut costs. No price has been set, nor has the bank identified a broker to represent the property, said spokeswoman Lane Cigna.

However, BNY Mellon is eager to take advantage of a hot market in Pittsburgh.

“There is a lot of outside interest in Pittsburgh in terms of the market itself. If you’re an astute real estate investor, you see the building that’s going on,” she said. “It’s really good timing to start to market this.”

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U.S. Steel Posts Strong Fourth Quarter

U.S. Steel today reported a fourth quarter profit of $275 million, capping its first profitable year since 2008.

The earnings, which amounted to $1.83 per share, topped Wall Street estimates. Sales fell 5 percent to $4.07 billion but also topped estimates.

The news sent U.S. Steel shares higher in after-hours trading.

For all of 2014, the Pittsburgh steel producer reported net income of $102 million, or 69 cents per share, vs. a 2013 loss of $1.65 billion, or $11.37 per share. Sales rose less than 1 percent to $17.51 billion.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/01/27/U-S-Steel-posts-strong-fourth-quarter/stories/201501270204

U.S. Steel Warns It May Lay Off Almost 2,000

U.S. Steel Corp. said it will curtail production at pipe-making plants in Alabama and Texas and may lay off almost 2,000 workers because of “softening market conditions” in the oil and gas industries.

The Downtown-based steelmaker said late Monday that it would “temporarily adjust operations” at Lone Star Tubular Operations in Texas, Fairfield Tubular Operations in Fairfield, Ala., and Fairfield Works, the primary flat-roll supplier of rounds to Fairfield Tubular Operations.

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U.S. Steel Plans To Close Plants Affecting 545 Workers

U.S. Steel Corp. said on Wednesday it plans to close two coke-making units and a tin mill that makes sheet for cans at plants in Illinois and Indiana, actions that would affect 545 workers.

The closings are the latest to be announced by the Downtown-based steelmaker as it “moves through its Carnegie Way assessment of all our operations,” said spokeswoman Courtney Boone.

Two weeks ago, U.S. Steel said it will shut down two more oil and natural gas pipe plants and lay off 756 workers. In August, it closed pipe plants in McKeesport and Bellville, Texas, affecting 260 workers.

CEO Mario Longhi has moved to restore confidence and improve performance. He has closed mills and saved almost $1 billion under its Carnegie Way initiative to cut costs and by halting an iron ore expansion project in Keewatin, Minn. The company also has relinquished control of its money-losing Canadian unit.

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