Inside Pittsburgh - August 2nd, 2019

Inside Pittsburgh (Aug 2nd, 2019)

Peduto-Cultural Trust CEO clash / Coke machine at CMU / Cat swims / Fall Fantasy

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Happy almost weekend, Inside Pittsburgh readers!

There's no Regatta this weekend, but with low 80s temperatures expected Saturday and Sunday, it's a great weekend to get out on or near the rivers. Take a stroll in Point State Park to check out the sand sculpture that's on display despite no Regatta.

– Bobby

1. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Cultural Trust CEO Kevin McMahon are publicly squabbling over Downtown safety concerns. The clash began July 10 when McMahon allegedly sent a letter in which he said there is a “declining level of public safety” in the Golden Triangle. McMahon's letter raised concerns following a July 4 double shooting in Katz Plaza, which is owned by the Cultural Trust. He said the shooting wasn't isolated: "During the past 12 months we have seen the increase of homeless persons, very aggressive panhandlers, disorderly youth, open marijuana usage, lewd acts in the alleyways, and a drastic increase in publicly intoxicated or persons under the influence of controlled substances." Peduto, who cited a 3 percent decrease in Downtown violent and property crimes, called McMahon's sentiments "nothing short of Trumpesque." – PG

2. Janera Solomon will step down at the end of the year as executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. The theater announced the news Friday in a press release. Solomon joined the Strayhorn in 2008 and helped "the then-fledgling organization into a vibrant anchor institution in the East End, and a celebrated cultural and community hub," the nonprofit's board said in a statement. A reason for her upcoming departure was not publicly disclosed. The board highlighted her accomplishments, including increasing visibility, quadrupling the org's budget and adding the "pay what makes you happy" ticketing model. Solomon said she has a "mix of emotions" as she plans to step away. – CITY PAPER

3. Flashback Friday: Coke machine at CMU

A Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh was the world’s first IoT ("Internet of Things") device. In the early 1980s, computer science graduate student David Nichols wanted a Coke, but his office was far from the machine. He feared the machine would be empty, or if it had been recently refilled, the Coke bottles would still be warm. 

He knew the technology was available because of the computerized vending machine at Stanford. So, he teamed up with three other students and they installed a board that sensed the status of the indicator lights which turned off and on when a Coke was purchased or when a column was empty. The program tracked remaining cold Cokes and once Cokes were refilled, they were considered “cold” after three hours.

Anyone on the university’s local Ethernet could check the status of the Coke machine. It wasn’t long before a nearby M&M vending machine got similar treatment.

This item originally appeared in Inside IoT.

4. Eight players/staff (including four from the Pirates) were suspended following Tuesday night's Red-Pirates brawl. For the Bucs, the MLB laid suspensions on Keone Kela (10 games), José Osuna (five games), Kyle Crick (three games) and Clint Hurdle (two games). And Tim Benz at the Tribune-Review thinks the suspensions are a "complete joke." In a Friday column that he admitted is "very difficult to follow," Benz tried to psychoanalyze how and why MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre chose his course of action. Benz questioned the rationale behind giving Reds player Amir Garrett (who essentially started the brawl) an eight-game suspension when Kela got 10 games. "What Garrett did is still far worse in this situation. He went on the mound begging for a fight from the moment he threw his first warm-up pitch. And when no one gave him one, he created it on his own," Benz wrote. – TRIB

5. A cat in Armstrong County apparently enjoys (?) swimming. Tissy, an orange Maine Coon, apparently regularly swims in the family's pool in Bradys Bend. Tissy became interested in water when the cat was around 1 – and the cat's favorite thing to do is swim with Sonny Herr's 9-year-old daughter Taylee. The cat also wears a floatie and likes to be snuggled in the water. (And, if you're wondering, there is video). I've had multiple pet cats over the years and they've only enjoyed dumping glasses of water. – WTAE

6. Kennywood Park's 70th annual Fall Fantasy parades begin Saturday. More than 150 marching bands from across the region will perform (except, sadly, for my alum, Moon Area High School). The 18-day event features a nightly parade with themed floats, and ends with a visit from everybody's favorite jolly ol' man, Santa! Find the nightly schedule of bands here.

7. What's great about Pittsburgh? "Everything." I am here for the city's official Twitter account, which, along with providing updates about government and events, also rolls up its sleeves and has a little fun, like it did Thursday when someone asked what's good about Pittsburgh.

What do you think is good about Pittsburgh? Hit reply to let me know what you love about the 'Burgh.

8. Speaking of loving the 'Burgh... I low key geeked out this afternoon when I saw Downtown Pittsburgh in a Hallmark Channel movie. The city was stunting as Manhattan in this particular movie ("Moonlight in Vermont"). I've spotted different views of Pittsburgh and its suburbs in a number of Hallmark Channel movies over the years, including many Christmas movies. And I've covered many on-location filmings, including "The Lifeguard" (lol, it was so bad) and "Jack Reacher," among others.

9. Get out on Sunday and tour homes in Pittsburgh's Manchester neighborhood. The event benefits The Manchester Historic Society. It's held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 4 and starts at the Colonel James Anderson House at 1423 Liverpool St.

10. And finally, you can let it go, let it go at a Disney-themed bar crawl Aug. 2 in the South Side. Dress as your favorite Disney character and join the fun in a number of Carson Street (or adjacent) stops. Also, if you see Pumba and Timon walking down Carson Street alongside Buzz and Woody or Elsa and Anna, don't fret.

Bobby Cherry is a senior editor at 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.

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