Tomorrow is the  anniversary of Christopher Columbus setting off for the New World (1492), Equatorial Guinea Armed Forces Day and Niger’s Independence Day (1960).  Birth anniversaries include journalist Ernest Pyle (1900), author Leon Uris (1924) and Gray Panthers founder Margaret Kuhn (1905).

The annual Perseid Meteor Shower Viewing will be held Sunday, August 11 into the early hours of Monday August 12 at Mingo Creek Park out in Washington County (right off Route 88).  This free event is being sponsored by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh who note this event is best seen with just your eyes in a location that doesn’t have much ambient artificial light.

Simon Property Group, the largest mall developer and owner in the United States, build Century III Mall some thirty years ago.  It has been in a downward spiral for at least ten and has really lost it’s edge.  Many empty storefronts, discount retailers and other lower end shopkeepers are generally the norm in there these days.  Simon voluntarily defaulted on $78.97M in debt and sold the property to C-III Capital Partners from Irving, TX for $1 (yep, that’s not a typo) in 2011.  Capital Partners sold the property to Moonbeam Capital Investors from Las Vegas for $10.5M this May.  $1 to $10.5 in two years, not a bad return on investment.  :)  Moonbeam claims to be in it for the long hall and will have many vacant storefronts rented by November.

There’s a couple in Washington county that have been very vocal about their objections to Range Resources and fracking on and around their property.  They feel their property has been ruined by Range Resources and have been desperate to sell it.  Range agreed to buy it for an undisclosed amount, but part of the agreement that was just released is the couple AND THEIR 8 AND 11 YEAR OLD CHILDREN are bared for life from speaking publicly about Range Resources or fracking.  Range is now back peddling saying it only applies to the parents, but the court order includes the children.

ALCOSAN has announced their plan to comply with the federal DEP decree to clean up the storm water discharge.  Not surprising, after holding secret meetings on how to achieve this mandate, of the $3B dedicated to this clean up, they have designated $10M to green infrastructure.  This dismal amount for permanent changes in the way we deal with storm water management by changing our  “paved over” mentality for cities is not surprising.  ALCOSAN deliberately excluded the professionals that could have advised them how to channel rain water away from the storm water piping system.  Their adamant rejection of green solutions and insistence on creating a MASSIVE new piping and storage system only makes me think one or several of them own stock in a pipe company.  I’m just saying …………. :)

I am so unbelievably excited.  My favorite space in the entire Mansion is the front foyer.  That little five foot by eight food entry way just blows me away, every time I take a minute to look at it.  Architects pointed out to me how the original craftsmen took a board, cut the squares, beveled the edges and put them back in order.  You can see how the grain matches on each line of boards:


Then there’s the tile floor (that matches the tile on the Parlor’s hearth):

And finally, the hand tooled leather crown molding:

Since I bought the Inn in 2005, I have wanted to light the foyer, but #1 would not drill holes in the paneling or floor to bring electricity in.  #2 I didn’t want to do something garish that would take away from the craftsmanship exhibited in this room.  I have spoken of this to many people since buying the place and finally, architects John & Kerry were here about a month ago and suggested I contact Environmental Lights, what a find.  They have this very small strip of LED lighting that I can mount on the upper ledge in the foyer and direct this discrete light upwards onto the leather.  You don’t see the light source, it’s just a warm glow. (The light you see in the above picture is the sample strip they sent me).   I will be able to tap into the the electricity that feeds the front porch lights and the pendant light that hangs in the foyer.  And the salesman/engineer Greg Higgins couldn’t have been more accommodating.  You can contact him directly at 1-888-880-1880 ext 110 or you can contact the company through their web site.

The 3,000 glass models in the museums at Harvard University by 19th century German glass smiths Rudolf & Leopold Blaschka inspired the Pittsburgh Center’s exhibit through November 17, admission free.  The exhibit, Lifeforms, has some very realistic renditions of creatures found in nature and some very whimsical pieces as well.  Since the International Glass Art Society’s conference was cancelled in Boston for logistical reasons this year, famed glass artist Robert Mickelsen worked with the Pittsburgh Glass Center to create this exhibit with over 50 works from the likes of Alex McDermott, Emma Mackintosh, Rachel Elliot, Wesley Fleming and the late Tim Jerman.

So that’s it for now, big news on the Parador coming in about a week.  I love holding secrets.  :)


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