Monday, June 18, 2007

Rite Aid coming to Wexford...

My fellow Tattlers, why does it seem that so many pharmacies in the North Hills are either moving, remodeling or being built.

Walgreens is working its way into McKnight-Siebert Shopping Center on McKnight and at the former site of the North Hills YMCA along Pine Creek. Eckerd is moving its McKnight location near Save-On-Beer.

Now, Rite Aid is making its way into Wexford.
From the North Journal:

Rite Aid is close to finalizing plans to build a pharmacy on Perry Highway by 2009.

McCandless Planning Commission approved a lot consolidation and land development application for Atwell Hicks, Inc. for the Rite Aid Corp. to build a pharmacy at the intersection of Perry Highway and Reichold Road, at the location of the former DiPietro's Ristorante and the current Wendy's.

Well, it is nice to see a new business finally moving into the vacant space but a few others things are unsettling.

With approval, the Wendy's Restaurant would have to close to make way for the new drug store. At this point, I'm unsure if the fast food chain would build in another location because it seems like that type of establishment has been in a period of decline.

This approval would also guarantee an empty spot in Wexford Plaza, which currently houses an Eckerd Drug Store. In the near future, all local Eckerds will be converted into Rite Aid Pharmacies after the chain became the third largest in the country. The drug store bought Eckerd and Brooks Pharmacy chains in August.

From RetailNet:

Upon completion of the transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, there will be approximately 5,000 Rite Aid stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia, with coverage on both the East and West coasts.

For the general consumer, these changes would not mean much but it is interesting to try and visualize how this project would change Wexford's offerings. Only time will tell.

Working to keep you posted...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ross Township may restrict sex offenders in the area...

Ross Township officials are considering an ordinance that would prohibit sex offenders from living 2,500 feet from a church, school, day care facility and other areas. It is still in the very early stages and a public hearing probably won't be held until late July.

Well, this certainly is an interesting ordinance that officials are crafting. As opposed members have said and I must agree -- this is something that should be handled by the state. However, legislators tend to move as quickly as molasses (S...L...O...W).

Unfortunately, other than finding ways to enforce this, municipal officials could only deem a violation of it as a summary offense (which is similar to a parking ticket).

This Tattler's other problems with it delve down to the fact that this should target sexual predators and not just one-time sexual offenders. Let's keep in mind that not all sexual offenders are child molesters but could have been pinched for a crime of passion.

I by no means approve of these criminals but this ordinance should narrow the scope to the real scumbags. The ordinance will also face several constitutional issues, which makes this Tattler think that there is a snowball's chance in hell that it will ever get approved.

From the McKnight Journal:

The legislation came on the radar after the realization that current laws are not restrictive enough. Megan's Law calls for sexual offenders to register in their neighborhoods, but does not restrict where offenders can live.

The law is used as a means to protect the public, especially children, from sexual victimization, according to Pennsylvania State Police. This is accomplished by tracking the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders and notifying the public of an offender living in their community.

According to Family Watchdog, nine sex offenders either live or work in Ross Township. Offenses range from rape to sexual assault of children.

Mt. Lebanon recently discussed a very similar ordinance.

The Trib reported on it:

There was also a previous article published here:

I'll let you Tattlers know if anything develops on this.

Working to keep you posted...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Aldi approval coming...

My fellow Tattlers, recently quite a few of you have made comments in regard to the possibility of an Aldi being built along McKnight Road. Well, Ross Township Board of Commissioners will be considering the issue Monday evening.

From their agenda:

SP-07-5 - Northway Group, LP requesting Site Plan approval for the purpose of constructing a
freestanding retail building on property located at 8000 McKnight Road in a C-1
Zoning District of the 9th Ward.

The board meets at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 11 at Ross Community Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Drive. If this may be a hot button issue for you, let your voice be heard!

Working to keep you posted....

Friday, June 8, 2007

Showcase Cinemas staying put for now...

For quite some time, rumors have been flying that Showcase Cinemas North in McCandless would shut its doors to make way for a new movie house to be built along McKnight Road near the intersection with Duncan Avenue.

Apparently, Showcase North is staying put but the closure seems inevitable by looking at its offerings and building enhancements.

In a brief from the North Journal:

For now, Showcase Cinemas North will remain in business.
McCandless officials say they know of no development plans for the Showcase Cinemas property, despite rumors.

According to reports, the property of the former Showcase Cinemas location in Wilkins Township is close to being sold, which has led to speculation about the McCandless site.

This Tattler strongly believes that it is only a matter of time before Showcase North closes. The building is old and is a very mediocre theater compared to others featured on the South Side and Waterfront.

Additionally, National Amusements, which owns the theater, has not invested money in the building for some time to enhance its offerings.

Ever since Duncan Avenue was connected to McKnight, a large tract of land was opened up for development, which I believe would be suitable for a new theater. If a new theater is built at Showcase Cinemas' current site or on the new parcel of land, one thing is certain -- Showcase North's days are numbered.

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Aldi update...

Apparently not everyone is happy with an Aldi on McKnight Road. A visitor to McKnight Journal's Web site wrote this:

Northway Mall's decision to offer a lease to Aldi is one Ross Township residents should be concerned about. Historically, Aldi has placed itself in less-than-desired communities. The hype of this being a prototype store is just that -- hype.

They'll still sell the same garbage all their other stores sell. It will not be an asset to this community. Northway Mall will reap what they sow. Hopefully, they've increased their mall security budget. Aldi = bad news for Ross Township.


So, my fellow Tattlers not everyone is pleased with this development. However, I still believe it fits in with the other merchants at Shoppes at Northway. That post just seems a little too "gloom and doom" to me.

What do you think?

Working to keep you posted...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Aldi coming to McKnight Road...

Late last month, officials from Shoppes at Northway (Northway Mall) brought plans before Ross Township Planning Commission to build an Aldi Grocery Store in their parking lot. There has been a lot of speculation that the shopping facility was trying to lure a chain like that for some time.

The store would open in a new building near the Northway Apartments. The building also will house America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, which was originally located inside the mall. ...

Originally, development plans called for several stores to be torn out on the Browns Lane side of the mall, between Marshall's and Dick's Sporting Goods. That portion of the project will leave an open air shopping facility in its place.
Additionally, three exterior buildings will be constructed, with two near Dick's and a third housing the new Aldi.

Aldi describes itself as a "limited assortment" supermarket, offering about 1,000 different items in each store. Most of its offerings are private-label products, made for the grocery chain. The company's cost-cutting philosophy means most products are sold right from their cartons.

The store charges for grocery bags and collects a refundable deposit for use of shopping carts. According to its Web site, Aldi doesn't offer check cashing or preferred shopper programs.

The company, founded in Germany in 1948, has more than 800 outlets in the United States.

This Tattler once visited an Aldi's in Shaler Township and thinks it would be a good addition to McKnight Road. I previously received an email from a reader who thought that it would work at the former Kuhn's site - this Tattler agrees.

The stores feature good deals for those on a budget, which falls in line with Northway's other offerings such as Value City, a humongous dollar store and Marshall's Department Store.For those seeking high quality upper end items, don't even pay Aldi a trip. But it will be a nice alternative for many local residents.

If approved, developers have a target date to open the store by the end of the year.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The totals are in...

Well my fellow Tattlers, I wish something surprising may have occurred on election day but guess what??? It was business as usual. Here is a quick rundown:

Nine challengers were seeking a seat on North Hills School Board, with the top five vote-getters earning a spot on the November ballot.

On November's Democratic ticket will be Arlene Bender (1,994 votes), Jeff Meyer (1,711 votes), Robert Barto (1,695 votes), Tara Howey (1,592 votes) and Lou Nudi (1,536 votes). Rounding out the voting were candidates Shea McKinney (1,424 votes), Ed Wielgus (1,416 votes), Lorenz Stocker (1,379 votes), Louis Krummert (1,011 votes), Sam Defrancesco (875 votes), Paul Frye (796 votes) and Dennis Gsell (354 votes).

Earning a spot on the November ballot on the Republican ticket were Meyer (1,530 votes), Nudi (1,511 votes), Wielgus (1,355 votes), Bender (1,079 votes) and Barto (921 votes). Finished behind those were Defrancesco (860 votes), Howey (842 votes), McKinney (696 votes), Stocker (661 votes), Gsell (517 votes) and Krummert (403 votes).

Next year, there will be quite a change in the make up of North Hills School Board. By looking at the politics of the candidates, it seems like voters went by name recognition rather than issues, which always happens.

For instance, longtime member Arlene Bender voted to close three elementary schools and has repeatedly voted in favor of tax increases. Even so, she received a large number of votes that places her on both the republican and democratic tickets. On the other hand, Ross resident Robert Barto was vehemently opposed to the closures and also did respectively well.

This addition of new blood to the board will hopefully increase discussions about issues the district is facing such as the elementary renovations and fiscal responsibility.

Elections in West View also will change the make up of borough council. From the McKnight Journal:

Democrat John Henry -- West View's current mayor -- earned 638 votes in the primary. He ran unopposed.

In the race for council seats, four Democrats sought three seats in West View Borough. Joseph Nowark (507 votes), Barry Schell (467 votes) and Donald Mikec (460 votes) earned spots on the November ballot. Ralph Burchell (433 votes) finished fourth.

In West View, which had only democrat candidates, the primary decided who the winners were. Even though one incumbent got narrowly beaten by a challenger -- this new member will not add a new voice to the board. At every meeting, only one person is vocal who many say is quite a puppet master.This member is like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz.

Hopefully, all members of that board will get some backbone and actually give their opinions on an issue.

So, primary day has come and gone. I'm sure some candidates are already gearing up for the general election in November. Hopefully they can receive votes for their positions and not merely name recognition.

Working to keep you posted...