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1979 Mar 28
America's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred inside the Unit Two reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pa., almost to meltdown. Thousands living near the plant left the area before the 12-day crisis ended, during which time some radioactive water and gases were released. A combination of mechanical and human factors allowed the Unit 2 reactor to lose cooling water. It cost more than $1 billion and more than a decade to remove the damaged nuclear fuel. A 1997 study indicated increased cancer rates for people living downwind.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Nuclear     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Jul 1
The Susan B. Anthony dollar was issued. It was the 1st US coin to honor a woman. The 1st coin was struck Feb 2 in San Francisco. The SF mint produced 100 million of the coins. Another 400 million were made in Philadelphia and Denver. It was not widely accepted and production stopped in 1981.
Links: USA, Money, Pennsylvania, Colorado, SF     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Aug
Wilson, playwright, wrote "Jitney," his first play. It was set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh and was first performed in 1982.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Playwright     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Nov 1
Mamie Doud Eisenhower (b.1896), wife of former Pres. "Ike" Eisenhower, died at a family farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, EisenhowerD     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979
The estate of Charles Bremmer Hogg Jackson, a reclusive Pennsylvania oilman, bequeathed to the Smithsonian a collection of European weapons and accoutrements, much of which was related to the Napoleonic wars.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, DC, Museums     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1979
Pennsylvania Prof. William T. Sanders (d.1008 at 82) authored “The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization.” He wrote the book following an aerial survey with colleagues Jeffrey R. parsons and Robert S. Santley.
Links: USA, Mexico, Pennsylvania, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Oct 2
US Rep. Michael "Ozzie" Myers, D-Pa., convicted of accepting a bribe in the FBI's ABSCAM sting operation, was expelled from the House, becoming the first congressman ousted by his colleagues since the outbreak of the Civil War.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, FBI, Govm’t Scandal     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Oct 24
The merchant freighter SS Poet departed Philadelphia bound for Port Said, Egypt, with a crew of 34 and a cargo of grain; it was never heard from again.
Links: Egypt, Pennsylvania, Ship     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Dec 9
In Philadelphia Mumia Abu Jamal shot and killed Officer Daniel Faulkner shortly after the officer stopped William Cook, Jamal’s brother (see July 3, 1981).
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Apr 23
The Unabomber mailed a pipe bomb from Provo, Utah, to Penn state Univ. It was forwarded to Vanderbilt Univ. scientist Patrick C. Fisher. It was later attributed to the Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski [see May 5].
Links: USA, Tennessee, Utah, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1982 Jul 3
Mumia Abu-Jamal (b.1954), radio reporter and former Black Panther, was convicted for the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner in Pittsburgh. Jamal supporters said he was framed. Prosecutors said Jamal shot Faulkner after seeing the officer struggling with Jamal’s brother, William Cook, who had been stopped for a traffic violation. In 1996 Jamal was still on death row. In 1999 Gov. Tom Ridge signed a 2nd death warrant for lethal injection on Dec 2. In December, 2001, a federal judge affirmed his murder conviction but ordered that Abu-Jamal should either receive a new sentencing hearing or have his sentence commuted to life in prison because of an error by the trial judge in presenting rules of sentencing to the jury (see March 27, 2008).
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Black History, Radio, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Sep 9
Robert Thibadeau at CMU-10A: Pittsburgh Zoo Options: The zoo is a worthwhile place to visit, but in my three years in Pittsburgh I have watched it deteriorate for lack of funds. Fortunately they have this wonderful 'adopt an animal' program. The adoption can be a day or month. Orangutanns (sic) eat light at $.75 a day or $22.50 a month, and for $15 a day or $450 a month you get yourself an entire elephant. Double that and you can probably have his name changed to Clyde. Triple it and I bet they will let you dye him pink. Visitation rights come with any adoption. The flyer is on my office door -- 5321.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Sep 19
Prof. Scott E. Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon Univ. posted an emoticon, the first online smiley face, in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m., during a discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Computer, Internet     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Sep 25
Pennsylvania prison guard George Banks killed 13 people including 4 that were his own children.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Murder, Mad Man     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982
Rich Skrenta (b.1967), a freshman in Pennsylvania, developed Elk Cloner as a practical joke. It was the 1st virus to hit computers worldwide and later became known as a "boot sector" virus. When it boots, or starts up, an infected disk places a copy of the virus in the computer's memory. Whenever someone inserts a clean disk into the machine and types the command "catalog" for a list of files, a copy gets written onto that disk as well. The newly infected disk is passed on to other people, other machines and other locations.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Computer, Teens Amuck     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1982
The Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin closed.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Journalism     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983 Nov 8
Wilson Goode was elected as the first black mayor of the city of Philadelphia.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983
The Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study was begun by Dr. Mellors in Pittsburgh. It became the largest ongoing study with med. info and blood samples over the lifetime of AIDS patients. Dr. Mellors pioneered the viral load test that showed how increased viral load hastened the HIV disease.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, AIDS     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1984 Feb 14
6-year-old Stormie Jones became the world's first heart-liver transplant recipient at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. She lived until November 1990.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, Heart     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1984 May 26
A frisbee was kept aloft for 16.72 seconds by Don Cain of Philadelphia.
Links: Pennsylvania, World Record, Games     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1984 Aug 3
In Pennsylvania Barbara Rowan (14) was raped and killed. Her body was found two weeks after she went missing in Bensalem, Bucks County. In 2015 George Franz Shaw (55) and Robert Scott Sanders were arrested for her rape and murder.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Murder, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1984
A 60-by-13-foot tile mural was created by Romare Beardon for a Pittsburgh subway station. In 2008 the mural was valued at $15 million as the station faced demolition.
Links: Artist, Pennsylvania, Ceramics     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Mar 12
Conductor Eugene Ormandy (85), director of the Philadelphia Philharmonic for more than four decades, died.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Classical Music     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 May 13
Police in Philadelphia dropped a bomb on the headquarters of the radical group MOVE. A fire resulted that killed 11 people, 5 of them children. Ramona Africa and her 13 year old son were the only two people to escape the inferno at 6221 Osage St. Africa was charged with rioting and conspiracy, was convicted and served 7 years in state prison. No charges have ever been filed against any city officials or employee. The lawsuit was re-opened in 1996. On Jun 24, 1996, a jury in Philadelphia awarded $1.5 mil to the survivors of the MOVE cult. In 2013 the documentary “Let the Fire Burn,” directed by Jason Osder, covered the MOVE story with archival footage.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Black History     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 May 31
At least 41 tornadoes hit Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and southeastern Ontario, Canada, during an eight-hour period killing 88 people with over 1,000 injured.
Links: Canada, USA, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Tornado     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1985 Jul 13
Live Aid, an international rock concert in London, Philadelphia, Moscow and Sydney, took place to raise money for Ethiopia and Africa's starving people. It was organized by Bob Geldof of Ireland.
Links: Australia, Russia, Britain, Ethiopia, Ireland, Pennsylvania, Africa, USSR, Pop&Rock     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985
Berry Prevor and Steven Shore of Long Island, NY, opened their first Steve and Barry’s store Philadelphia, selling discount Univ. of Pennsylvania apparel. In 2008 the 276-store chain faced Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Bankruptcy, Retail     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986 Jun 11
A divided Supreme Court struck down a Pennsylvania abortion law, while reaffirming its 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, Supreme Court     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986 Aug 5
It was revealed that Andrew Wyeth secretly created 240 drawings and paintings of his neighbor Helga Testorf, in Chadds Ford, Pa.
Links: Artist, USA, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986
Abhay Ashtekar, a physicist at Pennsylvania State Univ., proposed an explanation called “loop quantum gravity” to relate quantum mechanics with general relativity. This rivaled a popular alternative model called string theory.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Physics     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1986
A consent decree in Philadelphia limited the number of prisoners who could be held in city jails. Over the next 18 months police rearrested 9,732 defendants. In 2002 Ross Sandler and David Schoenbrod authored "Democracy by Decree," a critique of "institutional reform litigation."
Links: USA, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986
The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center opened.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Computer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Jan 22
R. Budd Dwyer, Penn. State Treasurer, facing prison for conspiracy & perjury, shot himself to death at a televised news conference.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Apr 1
In his first major speech on the AIDS epidemic, President Reagan told doctors in Philadelphia, "We've declared AIDS public health enemy number one."
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, AIDS, ReaganR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Sep 17
The city of Philadelphia, birthplace of the U.S. Constitution, threw a big party to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the historic document.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1987
Hawks Aloft Worldwide was conceived as a cooperative project by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, in Kempton, Pennsylvania.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Animal     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Jan 2
An Ashland Oil Company tank collapsed at Floreffe near Elizabeth, Penn., sending more than 700,000 gallons of diesel oil into the Monongahela River.
Links: USA, Oil, Environment, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Jan 4
Drinking water began to dry up in Pittsburgh suburbs because of a massive diesel oil spill two days earlier that fouled the Monongahela and Ohio rivers.
Links: USA, Oil, Environment, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Jan 12
Willie Stargell, a 21-year slugger with the Pittsburgh Pirates, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in his first year of eligibility.
Links: USA, New York, Pennsylvania, Baseball     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Jan 29
A Boston-bound Amtrak train derailed in Chester, Penn., injuring 25 people.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Train Crash     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1988 Apr 26
Vice President George Bush locked up the Republican presidential nomination with an easy win in the Pennsylvania primary. Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis won the Democratic contest.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, BushHW     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988
William Post III (1940-2006) won a $16.2 million Pennsylvania lottery jackpot. His annual installment payments of $498,000 after taxes led to problems with siblings, his wife and girlfriend, who successfully sued for a third of his earnings. In 1996 a bankruptcy judge auctioned off the remainder of his prize payments to pay off his debts leaving him with $1 million.
Links: USA, Money, Pennsylvania, Lottery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988
Some 4,000 tons of toxic ash from an incinerator in Philadelphia, that wandered the oceans since 1986, was dumped in Lapierre, Haiti.
Links: Haiti, USA, Environment, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Apr 12
Abbie Hoffman (52), radical activist, was found dead at his home in New Hope, Penn. He suffered from bipolar mental illness that was only diagnosed in 1980. In 1996 Jonah Raskin wrote: "For the Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman." In 1994 Jack Hoffman, Abbie’s brother, wrote a biography, as did Marty Jezer in 1992. His wife, Anita, died in 1998. She wrote "Trashing," a fictional memoir of her activity as a Yippie. In 1999 Larry Sloman published "Steal This Dream: Abbie Hoffman and the Countercultural Revolution in America."
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 May 11
The Franklin Mills mega-mall, the former Liberty Bell Racetrack, opened in Philadelphia.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Retail     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1989 Jul 29
Ji Yun Lee (20) died in a fire at a church camp near East Stroudsburg, Pa. Her father Han Tak Lee (54), a South Korean-born operator of a clothing store in NYC, was arrested for arson. He was convicted of murder on Sep 17, 1990. In 2006 Lee’s attorneys appealed to the state Supreme Court citing new advances in arson investigations.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Fire     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Aug 26
A team from Trumbull, Conn., became the first American team since 1983 to win the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Baseball, Connecticut, Kids     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Oct
Al Martino, pop singer, was inducted into the Philadelphia Hall of Fame.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Pop&Rock     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Nov 18
Pennsylvania became the 1st state to restrict abortions after Supreme Court gave states the right to do so.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, Supreme Court     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989
Philip Berman (d.1997 at 82), art collector and philanthropist, became chairman of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He had prospered and retired from the trucking business and led a capital campaign that raised $63.4 million for the museum between 1989 and 1993.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Museums     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1989
The Studio for Creative Inquiry was founded at Carnegie-Mellon Univ. in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Apr 25
Dexter Gordon (67), jazz saxophonist, died in Philadelphia.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Jazz     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Aug 17
Pearl Bailey (b.1918), Broadway actress, singer, died in Philadelphia from a heart attack at age 72.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Black History, Theater     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Nov 11
Stormie Jones, the world’s first heart-liver transplant recipient, died at a Pittsburgh hospital at age 13.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, Heart     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Feb
In Philadelphia a fire hit the 38-story One Meridian Plaza. Three firemen were killed and more than a dozen were injured as the fire burned to the 30th floor where a tenant installed sprinkler system doused it.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Fire     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1991 Apr 4
Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz III, a leading 3-term Republican voice on health and trade policy, and six other people, including two children, were killed when a helicopter collided with Heinz’s plane over a schoolyard in Merion, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Teresa Heinz took his place as head of the family philanthropies. In 1995 she married Sen. John Kerry.
Links: USA, Air Crash, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Jun 30
The federal base-closing commission voted to shut down 17 military bases, including the massive Philadelphia Navy Shipyard, in addition to seven facilities ordered closed two days earlier.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Jul 16
Frank Rizzo (70), (Mayor-D-Phila, 1972-80), died of a heart attack.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Oct 17
The Atlanta Braves won their first National League pennant, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-to-0 in game seven of their playoff series.
Links: GeorgiaUS, USA, Pennsylvania, Baseball     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Dec 13
In Pennsylvania the body of Myrtle McGill (76) was found shot to death in the kitchen of her White Township home. Investigators determined that she had been dead about a week. In 2016 a Minnesota man (61) was arrested and charged with the murder.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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