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Inside Pittsburgh (Aug 7th, 2019)

Hey, Inside Pittsburgh readers!

It's hot again and I am ready for winter.

Be sure to check out the "Get Aht" item below for some events you've got to put on your calendar.

As always, email me at bobby@inside.com with ideas! See you around tahn!

– Bobby

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1. Sen. Pat Toomey is against banning assault weapons because they are "extremely popular," he told Fox News. Toomey, who has a C rating from the NRA, first introduced gun control legislation following the 2012 mass shooting at a Newton, Connecticut, elementary school. Toomey does support expanding background checks, however. In speaking with Fox News on Monday, the Republican senator said guns “described as assault weapons are almost invariably no more powerful than regular hunting rifles.” But in a press conference after the Dayton, Ohio, mass shooting, police Chief Richard Biehl said that if that the shooter had filled the bullet magazines completely, he could have had a max of 250 rounds on him. “To have that level of weaponry in a civilian environment, unregulated, is problematic,” Biehl said. It should be noted that Toomey's claims of assault weapons being popular are factually unknown since the government is not permitted to collect that data. – BILLY PENN

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2. Allegheny County officials identified a Shaler man shot and killed by police during a domestic dispute Tuesday as Donald Babbit, 49. He was a Penn Hills High School math teacher, according to Penn Hills district officials. “Don was a beloved member of our staff and had the distinct reputation among students, families, and colleagues as being an exceptional teacher." Police from a number of North Hills departments were dispatched to the Spencer Woods development home after county 911 dispatch received a call from a woman who said her husband was “behaving erratically" and had access to weapons. The incident remains under investigation. – TRIBUNE-REVIEW

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3. For just $2.3 million, you could own Big Ben's Hampton home. The eight-bedroom, seven-bath home owned by the Steelers quarterback is on the market and, as Jessica Sinichak notes in Pittsburgh Magazine, Ben Roethlisberger kicked the price down $400,000 from when it was first in June. Photos on the Realtor.com listing show an indoor children's slide, a two-story (huh?!) gourmet kitchen and a state-of-the-art golf simulator. There's also a pool, of course. But wait, there's more... the pool has a swim-up bar. Big Ben bought the mansion in 2006 for $2.2 million. Also, not to be outdone, Patriots QB Tom Brady's house is for sale, too, for $39.5 million.– PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE

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4. Kennywood Park put its buzzworthy new coaster The Steel Curtain on the disabled list after it had been closed since Saturday for apparent maintenance issues. In a Facebook post Wednesday, the park said crews are "continuing work on some adjustments to the ride." Park officials did not specify what issues the record-breaking coaster faces. Closures of new rides are common among amusement parks, Kennywood noted. Steel Curtain includes nine inversions, including the world’s tallest at 197 feet high. It's currently the tallest coaster in Pennsylvania. The ride, which replaced the Log Jammer as part of a themed area called Steelers Country, opened to much fanfare last month. Other additions to Steelers Country include an indoor entertainment center and activities. – WTAE

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5. Git Aht: Here's a look at some events you should get out (or "aht") to see:

  • Put on your Sunday clothes because "Hello, Dolly!" is playing at the Benedum Center through Sunday. The revival show tour features the iconic Betty Buckley as Dolly Levi. The PG has a raving review of the musical.
  • Carnegie Borough is celebrating 125 years with special events Aug. 9-11.
  • Fresh Fest 2019 will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Aug. 10 at Nova Place. The event features black-owned breweries as well as breweries collaborating with black artists and entrepreneurs from Pennsylvania and beyond. 
  • Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Summer 2019 begins Aug. 12. Get the details here.
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6. InstaBurgh: This is a then and now post from Port Authority (@pghtransit), showing the Station Square trolley station in August 2018 followng the train derailment and recent photos of what it looks like now.

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7. Two steadfast Pittsburgh area journalists died in recent days – and both had a lasting impact on my life and career and on our suburban communities. Bob Pastin, 70, was a longtime editor with the Trib's weekly newspapers, and served as my editor at The Signal Item in Carnegie. Bob never minced his words, often having shouting matches with elected officials who stormed our newsroom angry over coverage. Bob always was right in those arguments. His gruffness always seemed like a cover, though – he cared about the reporters, the readers and the newspapers. A positive comment always seemed followed up with expecting more.

Dona S. Dreeland, whose age she tried so hard to keep underwraps, died July 27. It took me until this morning when I read her obituary to know that the "S." in her byline stood for "Storm." She served as the editor of the Sewickley Herald from the late 90s through much of 2008. She had been a reporter at the newspaper for many years before that. Dona cared so deeply about the community she served (a trait that is lost in a speedy, clicky world of news today). She treasured relationships and yearned for a simpler time (without gadgets and things).

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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.

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