Happy Friday, Inside Pittsburgh readers!
I had a chance this morning to take a ride on The Steel Curtain — Kennywood Park's record-breaking new roller coaster! Read on to see what I thought. The coaster opens Saturday for the public.
1. Local government and organziation leaders say they don't anticipate Pittsburgh to be part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement nationwide raids this weekend. But it didn't keep leaders from expressing their anger over the planned raids in at least 10 cities. "They’re human beings," Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said. ICE is said to be targeting 2,000 immigrants who are in the country illegally, according to The New York Times. Officials in ICE's Philadelphia office, which handles Western Pennsylvania, wouldn't offer info on what's planned. Leaders at the Jewish Family and Community Services, which helps to settle refugees in the region, said ICE officers sometimes pretend to be local police. "Because it is an intimidating situation, even if they know their rights they can be coerced and tricked into situations that are undesirable," Jamie Englert, the director of immigration and legal services. — PG
2. The trial for Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner's husband Khari Mosley began Thursday in Detroit. Mosley, 53, is charged with two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. The charges stem from a March 6 incident at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Wagner will face a separate trial. A security guard testified that Mosley was "very rude" when he was asked to leave the hotel after a disturbance. Mosley's defense team said he defended himself that night. "Just because I demand decency doesn't make me a disturbance," is what the defense team said in its opening. Mosley and Wagner, who is up for re-election in November, dispute the charges. — WTAE
3. Follow Friday: Nick Paradise, Kennywood Park's PR guy
In honor of Kennywood Park's record-breaking new coaster, I encourage you to follow Nick Paradise. As evidenced by his Twitter account, Nick has had one heck of a great day. Nick is the public relations and social media director for Kennywood Park. And while you might follow the park's Twitter account (@Kenny_Kangaroo), you can get an inside look at the park by following Nick.
A Pittsburgh native, Nick joined Kennywood Park in 2015 and has helped to usher in Noah's Ark (2016), Thomas Town (2018) and The Steel Curtain (2019).
Before joining Kennywood, he worked as a television reporter in Yakima, Washington, and Savannah, Georgia. In a 2018 interview with The Incline, Nick said he credited being away from Pittsburgh with helping to grow his love of this region.
4. Ross Township leaders signed an emergency declaration following severe flooding damage in the municipality this week. Among the damage in Ross was massive sinkhole that opened up on McKnight Circle, across from Ross Park Mall. An 8-foot-diameter storm drain line collapsed near the entrance to the Waldorf Park apartments. Ross leaders said repairing the collapse could take hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ross was among a number of communities hit hard this week by flooding, including Millvale and Etna. — WPXI
5. Speaking of rain... Pittsburgh hit a milestone on Thursday that we probably aren't too proud of. Pittsburgh's 2019 rainfall total (29.90 inches as of Thursday morning) surpassed all of the precepitation we received last year (29.35 inches), according to the National Weather Service. Congratulations?
6. A mother of two is receiving experimental treatments at UPMC for pancreatic cancer. Darlene Bossola told KDKA's Lisa Washington she was stunned when she learned she had pancreatic cancer. “When you’re diagnosed with stage 3 (pancreatic cancer), you want something to happen, for the better,” Bossola said. She began the treatment, which uses a special catheter to send chemotheraphy directly to the tumor, earlier this year. Her doctor is "amazed" with her results so far. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 56,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and about 45,800 people will die. — KDKA
7. The Sewickley-based Allegheny Land Trust is working to transform a 148-acre former golf course into a protected green space. The Churchill Valley Country Club closed in 2013 after more than 80 years in operation. “Some residents are already enjoying this large, beautiful, green oasis, taking advantage of its more than five miles of accessible, paved trails and unique plant and wildlife habitat," ALT President and CEO Chris Beichner said. But funding for the project is key. The group seeks to raise $100,000 by December. — CITY PAPER
8. Volkswagen and Ford are expanding their relationship to collaborate on autonomous and electric vehicles. Volkswagen has agreed to invest $2.6 billion in cash and assets into Ford-backed Argo AI, which is based in Pittsburgh. Ford has agreed to use Volkswagen’s MEB electric vehicle platform for an electric vehicle currently in development in Europe. VW’s Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, based in Munich, Germany, will now serve as Argo’s new European headquarters. — AUTO NEWS
This news item first appeared in Inside Auto.
9. Saturday is fry day (no, really). It's National French Fry Day and Pittsburgh City Paper has kindly rounded up a list of places to dig into some great spuds. Some of their favs include Pub Chip Shop in the South Side, Ba-Co and (my favorite) Potato Patch.
10. "Crazy" is about the only word I can use to describe The Steel Curtain, Kennywood Park's new, record-breaking roller coaster. I got a ride as part of the park's "First Ride" day on Friday (the coaster officially opens to the public Saturday). On the descent up the steel thrill's hill from the lift station, I looked out over the Mon Valley to see nothing but the ravine and Mon River below.
The Steelers-themed train offers no enclosure, so riders are left feeling vulnerable — which is part of the thrill. Only a seat belt and lap bar hold passengers in. When I looked to my left, I saw what had to have been the steepest set of stairs I've ever seen. The faint sounds of that Steelers amp-up song "Renegade" by the Styx only added to the excitement up the lifthill.
After that, the entire ride was as heart-pumping as the final seconds of a Steelers-Ravens clash, with twists, turns and inversions only fit for the toughest football fans in the nation. The zero-G inversion was thrilling, but there wasn't much time to enjoy it as we roared into a set of corkscrews. Near the end of the ride is a bump akin to the bunny hops near the end of Phantom's Revenge.
I need a few more runs (preferably in the front and back seats) to better understand this coaster. But this ride, without a doubt, is stunning.
Some current and former Steelers players took a ride today, including Cam Heyward, Craig Wolfley, Matt Feiler and John Banaszak. At 6-feet, 6-inches tall and 330 pounds, ride staffers had to configure Feiler's seat to get him through. The self-described roller coaster enthusiast told me he enjoyed the ride.
I cannot wait for the rest of Steelers Nation to experience this thrill. Check out more of my takes, photos and videos from the experience on Twitter at @GoBobbo.
If you're heading to the park soon, let me know what you think of The Steel Curtain. And if you need a ride partner, reply — I've got a Kennywood season pass and plan to be there Saturday and Monday evening.
Bobby Cherry is a senior editor at Inside.com. Follow his love of all things Pittsburgh and more on Twitter and Instagram.
Editing team: Inside Managing Editor and Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist Kim Lyons and David Stegon, senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology.