Tomorrow is the Daytona 500, the anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing (1993), the founding of the Grand Teton National Park (1929), the Grand Canyon National Park (1919) and the publishing of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto (1848).  It also is the birth anniversary of Fats Domino (1928), Johnny Cash (1932), Jackie Gleason (1916), William Cody (Buffalo Bill 1846), Tony Randall (1920) and Levi Strauss (1829).

Energy advocate and author Jason McLennan from Portland, Oregon is giving two lectures at Phipps new Center for Sustainable Landscapes on Monday.  The lunch (and lunch) lecture starts at 11:30 and is $35 and the 5:30 lecture is $10 (no lunch 🙂 ).  This short series is timed to coincide with the Center for Sustainable Landscapes opening in the next several weeks.  More info at Pipps’ web site or by calling 412.622.6914.

It looks like we’ve lost.  The Buncher Group, the fat cats that own all that land behind the Terminal Building in the Strip got the city approval to demolish almost a third of the Terminal Building for Buncher to place an access road there to service their new development.  I adamantly am against this.  If they want to develop access, why not improve the intersection at 15th Street and Smallman (by Lydia’s)?  Oh, that street is not in the center of their property easily dividing their development and it doesn’t go all the way up to Liberty Avenue.  So we’re going to let them demolish a third of this iconic building for the sake of convenience of the Buncher group?  When I was just in Florida, I have a series of salvage yards I go to that specialize in selling pieces of iconic buildings Florida allows developers to tear down “for the sake of development”.  I think Buncher reads my blog because just to rub salt in my wound, the first piece to be built (and the only piece at this point officially being built) is an apartment building all the way down between the convention center and the veteran’s bridge.  But they need to tear down that section of the Terminal Building this year.

I’ve spoken of the power of social media in the past, but thought it was worth revisiting since consumers have such a voice now that can count.  Twenty-three year old Stef Gray, an unemployed recent college graduate, was upset the Sallie Mae a private college education loan company was going to charge her a fee for deferring payments until she found a job.  Stef went on line, got 76,000 people that agreed with her and delivered her petition to Sallie Mae and Sallie Mae agreed not to pocket the fee, instead in the future Sallie Mae will put the fee towards the balance on the loan.  Not total vindication, but definitely a step in the right direction.  One of the most successful petition campaigns was done by twenty-two year old Molly Katchpole who was upset with Bank of America decision to start charging a $5 fee on debit cards.  She got more than 300,000 people to sign her petition last year and BoA backed off the fee.  Molly was not about to stop there, she started a petition against Verizon’s plan to start charging $2 for various ways to pay your bill.  Molly got 130,000 signatures and Verizon backed down.  In addition to the standard Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other commonly known social medias, there’s Change.org that puts like minded people in touch with each other.

Interested in buying one of the oldest barns in Allegheny County?  This 177 year old historic landmark is owned by Penn Hebron Garden Club, whose decline in membership has made the upkeep more than they can do.  The barn, at 237 Jefferson Road, Penn Hills has the original exposed hand hewn roof timbers and stone foundation.  The garden club bought the barn in 1928 and the lower level where the animals had been stabled was turned into a kitchen, dining room and lounge.  The second floor was converted into a meeting room and dance floor with stage.  There’s a pen and ink rendering on their web site, but it certainly doesn’t look much like a barn.  They say that details are on Pittsburgh’s History and Landmarks Foundation, but I wasn’t able to find anything there.

Northside’s Thaddeus Mosley has recently had a documentary made on his art and life.  I first stumbled on him in 2009 when his cousin from Maryland stayed with me for the opening of a show he had at The Mattress Factory.  Born in 1926 in New Castle, he has a degree from Pitt in English, but taught himself the art of wood carving.  Generally he uses local cherry, walnut and sycamore logs for his creations.  He taught summer wood working classes for over twenty years at Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, Fayette County.  David Lewis authored Thaddeus Mosley: African-American Sculptor through the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1997.  They claim you can view the documentary through humanitydocs.com, but I didn’t see it there.  There was some pretty cool other documentaries there you may be interested in seeing, so I included the link.

The first annual Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week from April 20 through the 28th will be celebrated in about two dozen restaurants and microbreweries (including Penn Brewery, the Church Brew Works, Rock Bottom Brewery and I assume the East End Brewery.  More info on the Craft Beer web site.

I seems we have a replacement for Right By Nature in the Strip.  Late spring, Marty’s Market will be taking over the space.  They don’t have a web site yet, but this link tells a lot about what Regina Koetters plans to do.  She wants to do a fresh, local grocery store option.  I would think with the Cork Factory, Otto Milk as anchors right there and all the other housing options springing up in the Downtown/Strip area a grocery store should be a compliment to the specialty stores of the Strip.

I opened the Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City and had a fairly short stint working for Donald and, at that time, Ivana.  What “interesting” people to work for.  Since then, his fame has dramatically increased as has his annoying behaviors.  It’s his way, only.  His latest is he has laid out a blistering attack on Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond over the Scottish plans to build a wind farm off the coast of his latest golf resort.  Despite environmentalist concerns about Trump bulldozing the rare sand dunes and other destructive building practices, Mr. Salmond gave Trump the OK to do this and they were best buddies.  Mr. Salmond has decided to support an off coast wind farm to help Scotland towards it’s goal of clean energy and energy independence.  Trump says the First Minister is “hell bent on destroying Scotland’s coast-line  and therefore Scotland itself.”  Don’t you think it’s a bit of a stretch that a wind farm is going to cause the decline of Scotland?

In preparation for it’s 22nd annual Mt Lebanon Public Library Garden Tour on July 8, once again they are leading up to it with several gardening lectures and workshops.  First up is a free series featuring a master gardener that will be teaching a three part course on sustainable design, use of hardy native plants, ground covers and the use of rain barrels geared toward novices.  the classes start at 6 p.m. and will be held on March 5, 12 and 19.  On June 9 they will be hosting the Pittsburgh Rose Society’s June Rose Exposition (kind of extra words 🙂 ).  This all day event includes lectures and plants on display.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.531.1912.  On March 10, the Mt Lebanon Courtyard Gardens will have it’s fifth annual vegetable and herb seed-sharing event.  This begins at 9:30 a.m., requires preregistration and costs $7.  It is limited to 20 participants.  To register, contact Mary Beth at 412.736.8216 or e-mail her at mbthakar@yahoo.com.  Somewhat related to this, the Mt Lebanon Historical Society is hosting a lecture by Tribune Review columnist John Conti “Ideas that shaped Mt Lebanon”, celebrating their 100th anniversary.  This event will take place March 28 at 7:30.  More info on their web site or by calling 412.563.1941.

Have a great weekend,



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