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Are You Enjoying Pittsburgh's Awesome Rail Trails?

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Biking the Great Allegheny Passage. Photo Jason Pratt/Flickr Creative CommonsPittsburgh has many lovely scenic roads for biking and running, but many of us just don't like the hills, or could do without having to worry about being hit by a car. If this sounds like you, then check out one of Pittsburgh's great rail trails, most of which have grades of no more than 1-2%. One of the most popular is the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, which covers nine different trail sections in and around downtown Pittsburgh, including the North Shore Trail, the Southside Trail, the Eliza Furnace Trail and the Pittsburgh Riverwalk. Out in the suburbs, the 40+ mile Montour Trail and the 29-mile Panhandle Trail are easily accessible from a large number of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. If you live near McDonald, where the two trails cross, you're especially blessed!

And then there is the Great Allegheny Passage trail, completed in 2013 and running 150+ miles from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, The Savage Tunnel which closes for the winter is scheduled to reopen on April 3, weather permitting, so the full trail will once again be open. This trail is especially beautiful as it runs through the Ohiopyle area and up into the mountains, and it connects in Cumberland to the C & O Canal Towpath if you want to continue on all the way to Washington, D.C.

There is a lot of time and cost of upkeep of the trail surface for these great local resources - a big effort for volunteer-led organizations. If you have time, there are a number of ways that you can volunteer to get out and help clean up or even participate in construction - check out the Web sites for the Montour Trail Council, Friends of the Riverfront and Steel Valley Trail Council. The Panhandle Trail is maintained primarily by the communities through which it passes, but the Collier Friends of the Panhandle Trail is a good place to start for more information. If you don't have time, you can always just make a donation!

This Weekend: Free Admission to the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Carnegie museums of art, architecture and natural historyYou can get in free to the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History this weekend, thanks to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch which offers free admission the first weekend of each month to more than 150 museums around the United States. Present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and picture ID for one free general admission (a $17.95 value) on Friday, April 5 or Saturday, April 6. The Carnegie Museums in Oakland are open every day except Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Open late on Thursdays until 8:00 p.m.

In the Carnegie Museum of Art, a large collection of paintings, prints and sculpture by old masters, such as van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and Picasso, shares space with works by contemporary artists in the Scaife Gallery. For something a bit different, the Hall of Architecture steps back in time with more than 140 life-size plaster casts of architectural masterpieces and sculptures from around the world. The museum also features ARTventures activities for families for extra weekend family fun. Next door, at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibit features scientifically accurate, immersive environments from the Age of Dinosaurs, arranged chronologically with actively posed dinosaurs and other fossil specimens. The Hillman Hall of Gems and Minerals is always a favorite, and a new exhibit exploring RACE: Are We So Different? just opened on March 29th.

For more information on the Bank of America offer, please visit their Web site.

Upcoming Events at the CONSOL Energy Center

Friday March 28, 2014

Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesThe CONSOL Energy Center has plenty to keep us all busy over the next several months. There is awesome Pittsburgh Penguins hockey, of course! But a variety of other sporting events, plus shows and concerts are also on the calendar. Next weekend, the Shrine Circus will entertain fans of all ages. April brings with it Stars on Ice, as well as concerts by Cher, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band,  Lady Gaga, and Rod Stewart and Santana. Not enough? The Pittsburgh Power Arena Football League team kicked off its 2014 season at CONSOL earlier this month with games scheduled through July. In late July, the Walking With Dinosaurs Arena Spectacular makes its appearance. In August, the USA Gymnastics' National Championships will be held in Pittsburgh for the first time. And in October, all five members of Fleetwood Mac are back together for the first time since the late 90s as they stop in Pittsburgh with their On With the Show tour.

35 Years After Three Mile Island

Friday March 28, 2014

Jeff Fusco / Getty ImagesThirty-five years ago America experienced its worst commercial nuclear accident - an "impossible" partial meltdown of the reactor core at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania. During the tension-packed week that followed, sketchy reports and conflicting information led to panic, and more than one hundred thousand residents, mostly children and pregnant women, fled the area.

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