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A Pittsburgh Century (cont.)

Jan. 20 -- Ronald Wilson Reagan, 17 days shy of his 70th birthday, is sworn in as President on Jan. 20. Minutes later, Iran releases 52 American hostages it had held for 444 days in the embassy in Teheran.

Feb. 7 -- The David L. Lawrence Convention Center opens.

March 30 -- President Reagan is shot and seriously wounded as he leaves a Washington hotel. On May 13, Pope John Paul II is shot and seriously hurt as he rides in an open car in Vatican City, and on Oct. 6, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat is assassinated by dissident Islamic soldiers in Cairo.

May 18 -- Former Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht is acquitted of charges that he used the city morgue for private gain.

Jan. 8 -- AT&T agrees to break itself into 10 pieces, opening the long-distance phone market to competition.

April 2 -- Argentina seizes the Falkland Islands. By June 14, British forces land on the island and recapture it.

June 30 -- The proposed Equal Rights Amendment fails as the deadline set by Congress expires, with the approval of 35 of the necessary 38 states.

Nov. 3 -- Republican Gov. Dick Thornburgh and U.S. Sen. John Heinz are reelected as the state’s unemployment hits 11.5 percent.

March 23 -- President Reagan proposes building what becomes popularly known as "Star Wars," a defensive shield that would protect the country from incoming nuclear missiles.

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A sea of umbrellas guard some of the 8,000 job applicants huddled around the City-County Building March 19, 1983, as they waited to sign up for 170 six-month cleaning jobs offered through a city of Pittsburgh emergency employment program.
  --John Sale/Post-Gazette Archives

April 6 -- President Reagan visits Pittsburgh and hears the boos of 4,000 protesters as he makes a reassuring speech about the survival of the steel industry.

Oct. 23 -- 241 U.S. Marines and Navy personnel die when an explosive-laden truck blows up in front of Marine headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.

Oct. 25 -- U.S. military forces invade and easily take control of the Caribbean island of Grenada, claiming its Marxist government was becoming a pawn of Cuba and the Soviet Union. A provisional government is in place by year’s end.

Feb. 10 -- Kroger sells its 45 supermarkets in the Pittsburgh area and 2,845 union employees who had been on strike since Jan. 19 are out of jobs.

Feb. 14 -- At Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Stormie Jones, 6, becomes the first person in the world to receive a heart and liver transplant in the same operation. She lives six more years.

April 29 -- Andre Previn announces he’s leaving his job as musical director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra after eight years to take over the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

June 15 -- Gulf Oil, one of the giants of Pittsburgh’s industrial might, is bought by Standard Oil of California for $13.4 billion.

Feb. 27 -- The Rand McNally "Places Rated Almanac" lifts Pittsburgh’s flagging spirits by naming it the most livable city among the country’s 329 metropolitan areas.

March 10 -- Soviet boss Konstantin Chernenko dies and is succeeded by reformer Mikhail Gorbachev, who will win the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in helping to end the Cold War and allowing the USSR’s empire to disintegrate peacefully.

July 3 -- Pittsburgh’s first subway opens for business.

Nov. 8 -- Pittsburgh City Council approveds Mayor Caliguiri’s proposal to sell Three Rivers Stadium, enabling the Pirates to stay in town. The $25 million the city gets for the stadium will be used to pay the for the city’s share of a public-private partnership that buys the team.

Jan. 28 -- The space shuttle Challenger explodes after takeoff, killing seven crew members, including 1970 Carnegie-Mellon University graduate Judith Resnick.

April 26 -- An explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine releases clouds of radioactive gases that force mass evacuations and contaminate the surrounding area.

July 8 -- The U.S. Steel Corp. changes its name after 85 years to USX, and announces a major restructuring.

Sept. 13 -- Gimbels department store closes after doing business on Smithfield Street for 61 years.

Feb. 22 -- Andy Warhol, the Pittsburgh boy who went to New York City, invented pop art and became an American icon, dies at age 58.

Aug. 27 -- USX closes its National plant in McKeesport, where the workforce had dwindled to 186. It once employed 4,600.

Oct. 1 -- Pittsburgh Mayor Richard Caliguiri shocks the city by announcing he has amlyoidosis, an incurable disease that attacks vital body tissues and organs.

Nov. 21 -- Volkswagen announces that its plant in Westmoreland County, which was built in 1976, will close, putting 2,500 people out of work.

Jan. 2 -- About 18,000 barrels of diesel fuel flow into the Monongahela River when an Ashland Oil tank in Robinson ruptures. Thousands of birds and fish die, and drinking water supplies are interrupted for several days.

March 25 -- Donald Wuerl is installed as bishop of the Pittsburgh Roman Catholic Diocese.

May 6 -- Mayor Richard Caliguiri dies at 56. Sophie Masloff, the first woman president of Pittsburgh’s city council, replaces him. On Aug. 25, Art Rooney, the revered founder and owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, dies at 87.

Aug. 13 -- Suffering from the worst drought since 1881, Pittsburgh records its 34th straight day with a temperature above 90.

Jan. 3 -- Broadcast newsman Bill Burns, a local living-room presence for 40 years, retires from KDKA. His on-air partner, daughter Patti, carries on alone.

March 24 -- The worst oil spill in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez runs aground in Prince William Sound off the coast of southeastern Alaska, spewing 240,000 barrels of oil along 730 miles of coastline.

June 3-4 -- Ending six weeks of massive student-led protests that were televised to the West, Chinese soldiers sweep through Tiananmen Square in Bejing. As many as 800 pro-democracy demonstrators die.

Nov. 9 -- East Germany’s new government allows its citizens to cross at will into West Germany. Within days, citizens are demolishing the Berlin Wall with sledgehammers.

Jan. 31 -- The crumbling of world communism continues as the first McDonald’s opens in Moscow and is soon serving 30,000 customers a day.

Feb. 11 -- Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s best-known anti-apartheid leader, is released from prison after 27 years.

Aug. 1 -- Despite protests from unions and the public, the Dorothy Six blast furnace at USX’s Duquesne Works is demolished.

Aug. 2 -- The Persian Gulf War starts when Iraqi forces invade and conquer Kuwait without warning.

Jan. 17 -- Allied forces led by the United States begin air attacks in the Gulf War against targets in Iraq. By Feb. 28, Kuwait is liberated and 100,000 Iraqi soldiers are dead. American losses are just 146, but include 13 Army Reserve soldiers from the 14th Quartermaster Detachment in Westmoreland County, who die when a Scud missile hits their barracks.

April 4 -- U.S. Sen. John Heinz dies when the commuter plane he is riding in collides in mid-air with a helicopter near Philadelphia.

May 25 -- The Pittsburgh Penguins win their first Stanley Cup by defeating the Minnesota North Stars. When the team flies into Pittsburgh the next day it is greeted by 20,000 fans.

Aug. 18 -- A coup attempt by hardline Communists in Moscow collapses. Boris Yeltsin, newly elected president of the Russian republic, eclipses Mikhail Gorbachev in authority and for all practical purposes, the Communist Party, which ruled the USSR with an iron fist for 70 years, ceases to exist.

April 3 -- Yugoslavia continues to break into smaller pieces as ethnic and religious fighting breaks out among Serbian, Muslim and Croatian forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serb forces shell Sarajevo and begin "ethnic cleansing" campaigns to drive out Muslims.

May 18 -- Workers at the Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette begin a strike that leaves the city without a major newspaper.

June 1 -- The Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Chicago Blackhawks and win their second straight Stanley Cup behind NHL scoring leader Mario Lemieux.

Sept. 30 -- The $800-million Pittsburgh International Airport opens, featuring one terminal for baggage pickup and ticket-buying, and another for getting on and off planes.

Jan. 18 -- Pittsburgh’s newspaper strikes ends after eight months. The owners of the morning Post-Gazette, Blade Communications, buy the afternoon Pittsburgh Press and shut it down.

Feb. 26 -- A powerful bomb planted in the basement of the World Trade Center in New York City by members of a radical Islamic group kills six and forces the temporary closing of the complex.

March 13-14 -- The Blizzard of ’93 paralyzes Pittsburgh and leaves behind two feet of snow.

June 14 -- Gov. Bob Casey receives a heart-liver transplant at Presbyterian University Hospital, creating controversy over whether he was given favored treatment.

Jan. 3 -- Tom Murphy is sworn in as Pittsburgh’s 55th mayor.

March 1 -- British Prime Minister John Major, whose father worked briefly as a bricklayer in East Pittsburgh in the 1890s, meets with President Clinton in Pittsburgh.

June 17 -- After leading police on a bizarre, nationally televised, low-speed car chase on a Los Angeles freeway, football great O.J. Simpson is arrested and charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Sept. 8 -- A USAir Boeing 737 approaching Pittsburgh International Airport on a clear day suddenly dives into a Beaver County hilltop in Hopewell, killing 131 passengers and crew. Federal officials later say the crash was probably due to a defective rudder mechanism.

April 19 -- In Oklahoma City, a huge homemade bomb in a truck parked in front of the federal office building explodes, killing 168 people. A former soldier named Timothy McVeigh is arrested two days later.

April 29 -- The new $147-million Allegheny County Jail opens on the banks of the Monongahela River.

Oct. 3 -- A Los Angeles jury finds O.J. Simpson not guilty of killing his ex-wife and her friend.

Oct. 12 -- Jonny Gammage, a black motorist, dies while being subdued during a traffic stop on Route 51 by suburban police from Brentwood and Baldwin.

Jan. 1 -- Republicans Larry Dunn and Bob Cranmer, who overturned 60 years of Democratic rule in Allegheny County with their surprise win the previous November, are sworn in as commissioners.

Jan. 28 -- In their first visit to the Super Bowl in 16 years, the Steelers lose to the Dallas Cowboys, 27-17.

July 31 -- Kurt Angle of Mt. Lebanon wins the gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, defeating Iran’s Abbas Jadidi.

Aug. 22 -- President Clinton signs a reform bill ending the welfare system as Americans had known it since the New Deal and President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs. Henceforth, welfare is limited to five years in a person’s lifetime, and states can require recipients to seek work or lose benefits.

Jan. 8 -- Six inmates escape from the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh by digging a 30-foot tunnel. All are recaptured.

March 26 -- Thirty-nine members of the Heaven’s Gate cult commit group suicide in a suburban house in San Diego in hopes of boarding a spaceship they believe is following Comet Hale-Bopp, the brightest comet to pass near the earth since the 16th century.

April 23 -- Penguins superstar Mario Lemieux plays his final game at Civic Arena and retires.

Aug. 31 -- Diana, Princess of Wales, is killed at 36 in a car crash in Paris.

April-October -- Mark McGwire of St. Louis and Sammy Sosa of Chicago top Roger Maris’ single-season home run record, hitting 70 and 66, respectively.

June 2 -- At least 14 tornadoes slice through the Pittsburgh area, with Mt. Washington hit the hardest.

April 24 -- A popular teacher, John Gillette, is shot and killed, and two students are injured, during an eighth grade graduation dance near Edinboro. A 14-year-old student, Andrew Wurst, is later charged in the crime.

Dec. 19 -- President Clinton is impeached on two counts by the House of Representatives, setting the stage for a Senate trial and possible removal from office. He is accused of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the sexual harassment case of Paula Jones.

Feb. 12 -- The U.S. Senate ends a five-week impeachment trial by acquitting President Clinton of the charges brought by the House of Representatives. On the perjury count, 10 Republicans and all of the Senate’s 45 Democrats join to provide a 55-45 not guilty vote, and on obstruction of justice, five Republicans joined the 45 Democrats for a 50-50 tie. A two-thirds majority was needed to remove Clinton from office.

April 7 -- Ground is broken for PNC Park, the Pirates new ballpark, which will open in 2001. On June 18, there is a groundbreaking for the new Steelers stadium, also to open in 2001.

April 20 -- Two teen-age boys walk into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., with guns blazing and fatally shoot 12 fellow classmates and a teacher before killing themselves.

Nov. 2 -- Republican James Roddey, an establishment Republican, edges out Democrat Cyril Wecht in the race to become Allegheny County’s first county executive.

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