System Recheck: One final glimpse at the stories that made 2011 | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

System Recheck: One final glimpse at the stories that made 2011

There was a nasty election and a new governor, and Hines Ward became the king of the dance

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NOV. 5: Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is arrested and charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse against children. The graphic grand-jury presentment indicates that Sandusky was seen assaulting a young boy in a shower in the PSU locker room by an assistant coach. That coach reported the assault to head coach Joe Paterno, who later told athletic director Tim Curley and then-vice president Gary Shultz. Curley and Shultz were indicted on perjury charges related to their testimony to the grand jury. Sandusky was later re-arrested on additional charges, and after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing, his case was held for trial.

NOV. 8: Democrat Rich Fitzgerald trounces Republican D. Raja to win the county executive post. Fitzgerald will succeed outgoing Executive Dan Onorato. The race was one of the nastiest campaigns seen in the region in some time. 

NOV. 9: Penn State University Trustees fire head coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier for not doing more to report the alleged sexual misconduct of former coach Jerry Sandusky. Students riot in Happy Valley protesting Paterno's dismissal. Longtime assistant Tom Bradley is named interim head coach.

NOV. 14: Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who had already announced his plans to seek re-election in 2013, says he wants the city to borrow $80 million to deal with long-neglected projects in the city like street paving, demolition and repairs to the city's aging facilities, including buildings and parks. Many on city council question the amount of the proposed loan and the political timing of it.

click to enlarge Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park hit No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200. - PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL
Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park hit No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200.

NOV. 16: Blue Slide Park, the independently released album from local hip-hop artist Mac Miller hits No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200.

NOV. 17: Pittsburgh Promise chair Franco Harris steps down from his post temporarily after drawing the ire of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who criticized Harris' support of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Ravenstahl sent Harris a letter saying his comments were insensitive. Harris would be reinstated nearly a month later. 

NOV. 21: In his first game since sustaining a concussion in the last season, Sidney Crosby makes a triumphant return, with two goals and two assists in a Penguins win over the Islanders. 

NOV. 22: Facing a $40 million budget deficit, the Pittsburgh Public Schools board approves sweeping changes to the district, including shuttering seven schools, changing feeder patterns and selling unused buildings. The board also reverses recent reforms at the Academy at Westinghouse, most notably scrapping single-gender classes to avoid being sued.  

NOV. 25: Faced with a $64 million deficit in the coming year and little hope of a state transit funding solution, the Port Authority announces it's preparing for a 35 percent service reduction and massive layoffs, on top of the 15 percent cut implemented earlier this year. Formal plans and a public-hearing period will be announced in January.


DEC. 3: Dwayne Muhammad, concert promoter and founder of the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards, dies suddenly of a heart attack at age 40.

DEC. 7: After holding the line on property taxes for more than a decade, Allegheny County Council votes for a one mill tax increase.

DEC. 12: After taking a couple of hits to the head, and again experiencing concussion-like symptoms, Penguins center Sidney Crosby is removed indefinitely from the starting lineup.

DEC. 13: Steelers linebacker James Harrison is suspended for one game for a illegal hit on Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy on Dec. 8. 

DEC. 14: After a House approval, the state Senate passes a bill that would reclassify abortion facilities as "ambulatory surgical facilities" and subject them to the same costly equipment, personnel and fire standards. Women's rights advocates pound Gov. Tom Corbett's office with calls to veto the measure, and the ACLU of Pennsylvania calls the move "the worst attack on abortion rights in 20 years." As of press time, it was pending in Corbett's office.

Additional reporting by Charlie Deitch, Andy Mulkerin, Bill O'Driscoll and Chris Young

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