Tube City Almanac

November 13, 2008

City's Santa Parade to Feature Publisher Scaife

Category: News || By

One of Pennsylvania's wealthiest and most publicity shy philanthropists will serve as the grand marshal of this year's "Salute to Santa" parade.

Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to the Mellon and Scaife fortunes and publisher of the Tribune-Review and Daily News, will ride in the annual holiday parade on Fifth Avenue, Downtown.

The parade begins at 12 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Palisades ballroom on Water Street.

Marching with Scaife will be eight members of the LaRosa Boys and Girls Club.

LaRosa Club Executive Director Tom Maglicco said the youths will be dressed as 1920s-era "newsies" and carrying Daily News bags.

Scaife's attendance had been rumored since last Wednesday's council meeting, when Mayor Jim Brewster inadvertently mentioned the invitation before city officials were ready to make a formal announcement.

City Administrator Dennis Pittman today confirmed Scaife's participation for the Almanac. The details are being coordinated by Daily News staff, including General Manager Rob Hammond and staff writer Jennifer Vertullo.

With a fortune estimated at more than $1.4 billion, Scaife is ranked No. 355 on Forbes magazine's list of the 400 wealthiest Americans.

In addition to his flagship Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Scaife's newspaper empire now includes dailies in Monessen, Connellsville, Tarentum and Kittanning; nearly two dozen weeklies, including the Norwin Star and West Newton Times-Sun in the Mon-Yough area; and free shoppers like the Pennysaver and 51 Corridor.

The parade appearance is a rare public event for Scaife, who has carefully guarded his privacy over the last 30 years.

But the publisher has become increasingly close to Brewster. The two dined several months ago at Pittsburgh's exclusive Duquesne Club; Brewster reciprocated by treating Scaife to dinner at Tillie's, the landmark Italian restaurant in the city's 11th Ward section.

In June, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported that the industrial park on the city's former National Works site was under consideration for a possible Tribune-Review printing plant.

And since purchasing the Daily News in April 2007, Scaife's philanthropy has more frequently touched the Mon-Yough area. He recently donated $400,000 to the LaRosa Club.

Scaife's donation will be used to erect a new 50-by-75 foot gymnasium and multi-purpose area next to the club's headquarters on Ravine Street.

"We're really grateful to him for providing additional programming activities and an additional building to enhance our programs," Maglicco said. "We have a lot of programs going on and with only one gym, we have next to zero practice time. With the additional gym we'll actually be playing hockey and soccer and baseball."

More than 600 children and young adults now belong to the LaRosa club.

The "games pavilion," to be erected on the site of an existing basketball court, will be open on two sides, he said, but provisions will be made to weather-proof the facility in the near future. A groundbreaking ceremony is likely within three weeks.

Featuring local high school bands, drill teams, emergency personnel and other civic groups, the city's annual Christmas parade is among the largest in Western Pennsylvania, and prizes are awarded to the top entries in each category.

After being organized for many years by the Downtown McKeesport Association, the parade is now under the coordination of city Recreation Director Jim Brown.

Your Comments are Welcome!

Will the parade be winding past Doug’s Motel?

Also, what in the world does the Trib need a new printing plant for? I’m looking out my window at this very moment at his facility in Warrendale — seems as though that monstrosity ought to be able to crank out enough copies to keep the Trib’s 437 devout readers satisfied.
Tammy Sue (URL) - November 14, 2008

One could see this in more than one way. In a time when such “monstrosities” may be called upon to do more than just one newspaper, so it appears Newsworks North has reached its capacity with publications in addition to the somewhat-better known Scaife holding. Recall please a recent deal about the distribution of two rival newspapers and see if something clicks regarding another monstrosity, a Newsworks South if you wish, that might be called upon to keep more devout readers satisfied than your reputed total. Call this very well educated speculation, even though I’ll ask, what do I know?
Does it matter? - November 17, 2008

Oh, one more thing, we are talking about the owner of one of McKeesport’s largest employers, whether you like the man or not. Nice coup, really, for Mayor Brewster. I’d take anything that keeps the old Tube City in his mind’s eye.
Does it matter? - November 17, 2008

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