Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Stretch Of Allegheny Hike/Bike Trail To Be Completed

Photo by Froboy

The last missing segment of the Great Allegheny Passage Hike/Bike Trail will be completed with a $750,000 state grant announced today.  The grant will be matched with $500,000 from Allegheny County and $1 Million from private donors.  When opened, the trail will run continuously from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.  The missing segment is an .85-mile piece that passes by Sandcastle Water Park in Homestead.

Read More ..... 
Allegheny Trail Alliance Website ....
Metro Pittsburgh Real Estate .....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gift of Eden Hall Keeps Growing

Eden Hall Farm
With no heirs upon his death in 1938, Heinz Sr VP Sebastian Mueller bequeathed his 450-acre Richland Township farm as a vacation home where "working girls and women of proper character could go from time to time for rest and recreation."  Mueller was a chemist who, as head of operations at the Heinz plant, focused his energy on food safety and the working conditions of the women and young ladies who worked there.

Eden Hall has now become part of Chatham University's Richland campus and many of the barns will be converted into facilities and classrooms to accommodate Chatham's new School of Sustainability.  Sustaining local agriculture and preserving the environment will be important areas of focus for the new school.  Programs such as an environmental learning lab, food studies and landscape architecture will be offered.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wilkinsburg Development Group Receives Grant

Model of Wilkinsburg Business District

Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. said Tuesday it received a $289,500 grant from TriState Capital Bank to assist in the revitalization of Wilkinsburg's business district. The money is the second installment of the Downtown bank's 2009 pledge to contribute $1.8 million over six years. Half of the money will be used in a collaboration with Landmarks Community Capital Corp., a division of Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

Borough of Wilkinsburg Website
Metro Pittsburgh Real Estate

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Artworks Connellsville Gallery Opens

ArtWorks Connellsville, a project of the Connellsville Cultural Trust, is a gallery that houses works of local and regional artists.  Located at 139 W. Crawford Ave., passers-by can see some of the stained glass pieces prominently displayed in the windows.

"The mission of the gallery and learning center is to inspire artistic growth, enhance technical skills and provide a marketing outlet for our regional artists in a unique arts environment, while offering the public opportunities to see, enjoy and purchase the artwork created by professional artists," said CCT Vice President Daniel Cock.

More than a dozen artists in various mediums are presently featured and more are being added each day.  They include Helen Alt and Madelyn Cindric, watercolors; Barbara Bailey, clay; Sheree Cockrell, oils; Bob Dulik and Daniel Cocks, stained glass; Marianne Filiaggi and Angie Tressler, jewelry; Chris McClanahan, metal; Carol Wingert, photography; Nadine Reposkey, hand-cut cards for all occasions, Susan Brimo Cox, William Cox and Richard Newill, still-life paintings.

 Read More ....
 Visit Gallery Website ....
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Community Library of Allegheny Valley Hosts Winter Quilt Show

Natrona Heights will host their 13th Annual Winter Quilt Show which will run Jan 17th through Feb 19th.  Quilt entries (there is no charge) will be accepted starting Jan 3rd in three categories: hand-quilted, machine-quilted and wall hangings. All entries must be homemade, but they do not have to be created by the owner.

More Event Details ....
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Saxonburg Landmark Restaurant Re-Opens

Customer Judy Ferree loved Hotel Saxonburg so much she decided to buy the Butler County landmark herself to save it from disappearing into the past.  After the former owner died, his widow realized she just couldn't keep it open.  That's when Judy Ferree and her husband Bob thought bringing new life to the historic restaurant would be a great project.

They re-opened after a five week renovation that saw all of the kitchen equipment replaced, repair of the original tin ceiling in the dining room, and an overal eye to keeping as much of the old-fashioned charm as possible.  The checkered black-and-white tile is still intact, the 19th century copper-topped bar still gleams, and Ferree points out that Woodrow Wilson once stayed in one of the five "sleeping rooms" upstairs.

The new menu is "American", returning to the classics but keeping up with new trends.  Everything from the menu is made from scratch, bought fresh and local:   Crab cakes, lobster bisque, chicken gorgenzola, sauteed black sea bass, and the yummy menu just goes on and on.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Aldo Coffee Raises The Bar

Rich and Melanie Westerfield opened Aldo Coffee in Mt Lebanon six years ago.  In order to take the shop to the next level, they decided on a bold move ......... Stop relying on the name-brand Chicago & Seattle roasters and roast their own coffee instead.  If that wasn't bold enough, they also announced they would begin focusing retail efforts on their own brand instead of the Chicago/Seattle brands.

After much trial and effort, successes and failures, they've mastered what dedicated coffee drinkers look for:  Local, sustainable and high quality.  An extra perk is being able to lower their prices because they have removed the middleman.  Aldo Coffees typically cost one or two dollars per bag less than their national competitors.

Read Aldo's entire story .....

Visit Aldo Coffee Web Site ....

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Monday, September 13, 2010

McKees Rocks' Miles Bryan School May Become Condos

Miles Bryan School

The McKees Rocks Development Corp (MRDC) is hoping to have a developer on board in the next 12 months to turn the vacant Miles Bryan School into 20-30 luxury loft condos.  The former school has a spectacular view of the Pittsburgh skyline as well as unique terraced grounds.  Miles Bryan was built in 1927 and served as a high school to McKees Rocks' youths until 1966 when McKees Rocks School District merged with Sto-Rox.  It then continued on as Sto-Rox Middle School until 1997 when its doors were closed because expensive renovations needs proved too costly for the district.  It was sold to a developer in 2001 where MRDC holds an option.

"We see Miles Bryan as a viable and marketable property," said Taris Vrcek, director of MRDC.  "We're seeking a developer with the imagination to share our vision of what is possible."  Read more ....

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Wings Over Pittsburgh" Air Show Returns

US Air Force Thunderbirds

Wings Over Pittsburgh was canceled last year so that the 911th Air Lift Wing base could undergo their Operational Readiness Inspection.  But the 9th Annual Show will return today and tomorrow at the Moon Township base near Pittsburgh International Airport.  Admission and parking is free.  Event times are 9am to 5pm both days, however due to security and air traffic reasons, the exact flying times are not published ahead of time.  Read more ....

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Warhol Dress At 7th Annual Pittsburgh Fashion Story

Campbell Soup Dress

The Seventh Annual Pittsburgh Fashion Story runway show and benefit will showcase collections from local retailers as well as the Campbell Soup Dress from the Andy Warhol Museum's archival collection.  The runway show will be held this Friday, Sept 10th, at J. Verno Studios, 3030 Jane St, South Side.  There is an open bar and appetizers at 7PM with the show starting at 8:30PM.  The event will include an auction which will benefit Partners for Quality and the Allegheny Children's Initiative.

Read More ....

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mama Fu's Coming To Pittsburgh

Ahi Tuna Salad

Two Mama Fu's Asian House restaurants are planned to open in the Pittsburgh area with six more possible in the next few years.  According to franchise owner Mark Shaw, the first two restaurants will open early next year.  Possible locations for all eight will be Downtown Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill, South Side, Monroeville, Mt Lebanon & Cranberry.  Read More ....

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Pittsburgh Public Market Opens In The Strip

Pittsburgh Public Market

The Strip is set to receive some new neighbors ...... The Pittsburgh Public Market will be an indoor marketplace in the Produce Terminal Building on Smallman St.  Grand Opening is set for Sept 10th where 43 vendors will showcase their wares.  We'll see some familiar faces:  La Prima Coffee, The Common Plea, Fudgie Wudgie.  But there will be many other vendors specializing in organic produce, local wines, specialty meats and also non-food items such as jewelry.

The Market will be open on weekends only .....Friday 9AM to 7PM; Saturday 9AM to 5PM; Sunday 10AM to 4PM.  Go check it out when you get a chance ...... Its on Smallman St at 17th.  Read More ...

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Lincoln Bakery In Bellevue Celebrates 65th Anniversary

Lincoln Bakery Goodies

This Saturday, from 10 AM to 2 PM, Lincoln Bakery will host a 65th anniversary celebration with free cake, hot dogs and door prizes, including a TV and gift cards to local businesses.  Located at 543 Lincoln Ave (15202), the family-owned bakery has been a Bellevue favorite for all these years.  This is quite an accomplishment since statistics say fewer than 20% of family-owned businesses make it to the 2nd generation.

"We still bake everything from scratch.  Everything is fresh, there's no bag mixes," said owner Joe Porco.  Porco has added new menu items over time, including French pastries, and the folks in Bellevue have shown their appreciation.  Some Saturdays, especially holidays, people are lined up out the door.  Read More ....

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Steelers Kick Off Season With Rib Festival

Heinz Field

The Pittburgh Steelers are celebrating the start of the football season with their annual, five-day Coors Light Kick-Off and Rib Festival, Thursday through Monday at Heinz Field.  The event features four free concerts:  Brett Michaels, Little Big Town, Uncle Kracker and The Clarks.  There will also be well-known rib vendors, other food booths and much more.  Activities begin tonight with the team's final pre-season game.  Fans must purchase tickets for the game, but all other activities during the five-day festival are free.  Details...

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oakland's Panther Hollow Watershed To Be Restored

The Richard King Mellon Foundation announced a $1 million grant for the purpose of restoring Panther Hollow.  Improper storm water run-off has caused most of the problems, but crumbling public steps, a stagnant lake, dumping and trail overgrowth has added to the not-so-pretty picture.  It will take many years and many more millions, but the ultimate goal is to have the entire watershed completely restored.

Today's restoration plans are a far cry from past attempts which sought to change the locale into something more "architectural" rather than bolstering the existing natural environment.  Read more ...

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Robinson Home Honored In PG's Great Garden Contest

Each year the Post Gazette's "Great Garden Contest" usually focuses on flower gardens.  Every once in a while a well-laid-out vegetable garden sneaks in.  But after seeing the photos and reading the history of John & Patty Fitzurka's family vegetable garden in Robinson, they agreed that this was a garden worth their attention.  Read more ....

Monday, March 1, 2010

2009 Market Results

Well, it was another tumultuous year for the real estate market in Pittsburgh.  However, I bet there were hundreds of markets across the country that would have switched places with us in a heartbeat!  Yep, overall fewer homes were sold and it took longer to sell them.  But the big surprise is our median sales price INCREASED a bit instead of tanking big-time like it did most everywhere else.

Click HERE to check out the results table.  How did your neighborhood fare in 2009?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Pittsburgh has been my home for 20+ years now.  People who live in other parts of the country inevitably ask why I have stayed here for so long.  Certainly I could have made lots more money in lots of other cities, so why stay here?

Answer:  Watch the video above.  Its Pittsburgh, plain and simple.  And its just gotta make you smile.

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