Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #3: gruff but humble

For people who might not read the news every day, but would still like to know what’s going on.

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The results are (mostly) in: In Pennsylvania’s Senate race, former Braddock mayor and Pennsylvania Lt. Governor, John Fetterman, cruised to victory in last week’s primary election, racking up the Democratic nomination with victories in all 67 counties across the Commonwealth. The Philadelphia Inquirer said Fetterman, with his “humble, gruff vibe,” had repudiated critics who wondered if he was electable. (One New York Times opinion wondered if Fetterman is “the future” of the Democratic party; while The Atlantic writes that Fetterman, who was just released from the hospital Sunday after a pre-election stroke and post-election pacemaker surgery, “won on vibes.”) Meanwhile, on the Republican side, there’s still no clear winner, and the Post-Gazette says “a recall looms” between candidates Dave McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz. As of Tuesday, Oz’s lead shrunk to under 1,000 votes, comfortably within the .5% needed margin to trigger an automatic recount. Buckle up.

In the governor’s race, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, will face Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano in November’s general election. The New Yorker ran a profile of Mastriano Saturday that labels the Trump-endorsed Desert War veteran as an “insurrectionist” for his presence at the January 6 US Capitol riots, and a “Christian nationalist,” a term Mastriano rejects. The article ends with a take from a political commentator who says Mastriano’s supporters “aren’t just a small number of folks from super-red counties, and it would be really, really ill-advised to discount them as kooks.”

In the region’s marquee Congressional race, Summer Lee eked out a narrow victory over her establishment-backed challenger, Steve Irwin. The Intercept called Lee’s win in PA-12 “a stinging rebuke” of the Democratic Party’s Manchin-Sinema wing, not to mention those who spent millions in attack ads looking to derail her campaign. Among those who endorsed Irwin over Lee: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; former Pittsburgh mayors Bill Peduto and Tom Murphy, the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, several major labor unions, and many more. Lee is considered a favorite in the general election over the Republican candidate, Mike Doyle, no relation to outgoing Democratic Representative Mike Doyle they both seek to replace, who is stepping down after 14 terms in office. (Rep. Doyle endorsed Irwin too.)

The Beaver County Times dives into the massive new Shell plastics plant. In a major piece of reporting that involved “months of research, three dozen interviews and an unabated dedication to southwestern Pennsylvania readers,” Chrissy Suttles interviews people who have decided leave or remain in Beaver with the $6 billion petrochemical facility poised to open, and looks at the plant’s economic and environmental impact, as well as future plans to create a petrochemical hub in Appalachia with multiple ethane cracker plants producing plastic from fracked natural gas. (Subscription required.)

The Andy Warhol Museum announced a major new North Shore development. Called “The Pop District,” the New York Times reports the $60 million initiative is intended to “to make the museum more stable financially, provide training in creative skills and play a part in shaping the future of a swath of a city that has undergone significant gentrification in recent years and accompanying displacement.” The Pop District press release states that the Warhol intends to transform a 6-block area near the museum into “a thriving hub for expansive cultural programming, creative workforce development and ultimately a new cultural tourism destination.”

The Post-Gazette reports that the Fern Hollow Bridge was in much worse shape than previously acknowledged. According to a “partially redacted inspection report” obtained from the state Department of Transportation via Right-to-Know Law request, an October 2020 report detailed a bridge in grim condition, just months before its January collapse. The reporter, Sean D. Hammill, notes that portions of the documents pertaining to the bridge’s original weight limit analysis were blacked out, leading one construction engineer interviewed for the piece to wonder: “What are they trying to hide there?”

Rostrum Records’ catalog is for sale, Billboard reports. Notably, the Pittsburgh label’s catalog includes early Wiz Khalifa and and Mac Miller releases, like Wiz’s debut Show and Prove and Mac’s 2011 breakthrough Blue Slide Park, which opened at #1 on the Billboard charts. Sources estimated the recordings could be worth up to $80 million. (Subscription required.)

Defunctland, the popular Youtube amusement park video series, released a 34 minute video about the bizarre, short-lived Garfield’s Nightmare boat ride that took over the Old Mill at Kennywood from 2004 to 2020. RELATED: Read more about the ride in City Paper’s 2020 requiem, “I hope they serve lasagna in heaven.”

Women under 40 make up about 5% of breast cancer cases. A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, in collaboration with Allegheny Health Network and the Pittsburgh Pirates, is providing free mammograms for anyone who has been denied coverage for the procedure or does not have health insurance. Call 412-315-3999 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Local billionaire Thomas Tull’s Maple House Records, the driving force behind Saturday’s Maple House Music Festival, had never heard of Millvale Music Festival until the Independent asked them about their double-booking with the grassroots community festival. Thursday, the Post-Gazette teased the matter on the front page of their weekend A/E section, asking “Millvale or Maple?” So which did the Post-Gazette choose to cover? The one with 300 Pittsburgh bands, right? Alas, the PG sent a photojournalist to Hartwood Acres, along with their pop music critic, who was backstage with Tull’s Ghost Hounds before the show and went on to call the Hounds’ performance “Stonesy,” presumably comparing the band’s set with one of the greatest and most influential rock bands of all time, or perhaps with under-appreciated 80s New Zealand rock band, The Stones.