Associated Press

Peduto Says Full-Time Team Is Working On Amazon HQ2 Proposal, Willing To Invest $500K On Bid

Pittsburgh's proposal to become the location of Amazon's second headquarters includes a full-time team of up to 20 people, Mayor Bill Peduto said Monday.

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Politics & Government

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Senate is back in session, and is gearing up to respond to a budget package the House passed last week.

Senate leaders aren’t revealing much about their plans—though they indicate they have fundamental disagreements with House leaders.

Meanwhile, the standoff is prompting credit rating agencies and budget experts to put the commonwealth on their watch lists.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Senate could vote Monday or Tuesday on whether to put the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority under state oversight.

A bill that would empower the Public Utility Commission to oversee the embattled agency has been pending before the full Senate since June 30. When the chamber returns from summer recess Monday, it will have two days to act on the measure. Without action by Tuesday, the bill will be removed from the Senate calendar with the possibility of later consideration.

Senate To Confront No-Tax Package In 80-Day Budget Fight

Sep 18, 2017
Carolyn Kaster / AP

The Pennsylvania Senate is due to reconvene in Harrisburg on day 80 of an increasingly ugly budget fight.

The Senate's chief piece of business Monday is sorting through the House's no-new-taxes plan approved last week amid a three-month stalemate over plugging a projected $2.2 billion budget hole.

Science, Health & Tech

Leftover Painkillers Driving Opioid Crisis, Penn Researcher Says

20 hours ago
Emma Lee / WHYY

A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania says one of the big narratives explaining the onset of  the opioid crisis is wrong. 

Peggy Compton, a professor at Penn's School of Nursing, said the public often misunderstands the role opioid prescriptions have played in the crisis. The epidemic wasn't caused by people taking pills prescribed by their doctor to treat pain, she said. That idea, she said during a discussion among pain researchers at Penn, is a "myth."

"Simply by giving prescribed opioids to patients with pain, we are not creating addicts," Compton said Friday.

Jacob Sippel / U.S. Navy / Creative Commons

A survey of 1,000 Pennsylvania nurses has revealed many feel they're overworked and spend less time doing patient care and more time on paperwork.

The report, released by advocacy group Nurses of Pennsylvania, reveals common complaints within the profession. It found 94 percent of nurses say their place of work does not have enough nursing staff, and 87 percent believe staffing levels affecting patient care are getting worse.

Identity & Justice

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel began his criminal justice career in 1989, just as the commonwealth's prison population began to balloon.

It was the beginning of America's mass incarceration era -- one that Wetzel said his office is only now beginning to reverse.

Lawsuit Alleges Sex Scandal In Pennsylvania Coroner's Office

Sep 18, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP, file

Workers at a coroner's office in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains respond when someone dies under unusual circumstances, but lately they've also had to respond to lurid allegations in a sex scandal that's generated two lawsuits and a police investigation.

Education

There are more nonwhite teachers than there used to be. But the nation's teaching force still doesn't look like America. One former education school dean is out to change that.

New research shows that the number of K-12 teachers who belong to minority groups has doubled since the 1980s, growing at a faster rate than the profession as a whole. But big gaps persist, with around 80 percent of teachers identifying as white.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Choose A Color And Buckle Up: Allegheny County's Belt System Is Low Tech, But Navigable

Across the street from the Trolley Stop Inn on Library Road in Bethel Park, there’s a sign. It’s white and rectangular, the lettering is fading a bit, and on the leftmost side is a large orange dot. It’s nearly the size of a basketball and the label boldly proclaims: Orange Belt.

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Development & Transportation

Mike Corder / AP Images

A route linking Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh is a semi-finalist in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge, a competition to plan and build a new high-speed transit system to move people and goods. 

Alan Levine / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Turnpike has begun removing more than 1,000 emergency roadside call boxes because too few people use them now that nearly everyone has a cellphone.

The turnpike commission says it will save about $250,000 a year by removing the boxes, which should be gone by the end of the month.

The boxes were installed in 1988 and in the year 2,000 motorists used them more than 18,000 times to call for help. Last year, the boxes were only used 772 times.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Jayson Cassidy / Kennywood

Kennywood Park near Pittsburgh is scrapping its Log Jammer ride after 42 years.

The ride, which features log-looking boats that float down a watery channel before plunging down a large hill into a pool, opened in 1975 as the park's first million-dollar attraction.

The park says Thursday that it has no "final decision" about what will replace the ride.

General Manager Jerome Gibas says, "It is a bittersweet decision, but one that in time will create some exciting opportunities for our guests."

Richard Drew / AP

Hello, Bluetiful.

Crayola announced the name of its new blue crayon Thursday. Bluetiful was the top pick of fans during two months of online voting, beating out Dreams Come Blue, Blue Moon Bliss, Reach for the Stars and Star Spangled Blue.

Environment & Energy

Marie Cusick / StateImpact PA

In March 2016, workers for one of the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline companies cut down a large swath of maple trees in Susquehanna County–a rural patch of northeastern Pennsylvania.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

As Zaheen Hussain walked through the garden at the Millvale Community Library, he pointed to a small instrument mounted on the library's outer wall.

Economy & Business

Associated Press

Pittsburgh's proposal to become the location of Amazon's second headquarters includes a full-time team of up to 20 people, Mayor Bill Peduto said Monday.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate crept downward in July, even as payrolls and the labor force shrank.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate was 4.9 percent last month, down one-tenth of a percentage point. The national rate moved up slightly in August to 4.4 percent.

A survey of households survey found that Pennsylvania's civilian labor force, employment and unemployment all shrank in August for the second straight month.

Local Headlines

Allegheny County Airport Authority

The Pittsburgh International Airport is about to have a major makeover. Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said the Pittsburgh region is "a growing, tech-focused economy" and its airport should better reflect that. The renovations are expected to cost $1.1 billion

hhm8 / Flickr

City leaders in McKeesport traced $1.4 million in unpaid taxes to a company that did business there over multiple years.

A tax collection audit firm discovered the loss, but declined to name the company responsible. In a statement Wednesday, Philadelphia-based eCollect Plus said the company is publicly traded and not local.

A partner at eCollect Plus, Michael Hill, said “a multitude” of other companies also owe unpaid taxes to McKeesport. It’s common for municipal tax revenues to go missing, usually due to inadvertent errors in tax reporting, according to Hill.

zeevveez / Flickr

Gnats!

The Philadelphia police department and other agencies in the suburbs were kept busy with calls reporting swarms of gnats which, experts say, are actually flying ants.

The reports Monday are a result of the insects mating, a one-day, once-a-year occurrence.

The swarms were reported in Philadelphia and up the Lehigh Valley into Bethlehem, as well as Bucks and Montgomery counties and other areas. Similar clouds of insects were reported in Michigan and Connecticut.

Food & Drink

Matt Rourke / AP

Prices are on the rise for some of the most popular wines and liquors sold in state stores.

It’s the first hike more than two decades, thanks to a new law passed last year that gave the LCB the ability to flexibly price its products.

National & International

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET

Hurricane Maria is barreling toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a "potentially catastrophic" Category 5 hurricane and is forecast to approach those islands Tuesday night and Wednesday.

On the island of Dominica, which was raked by the storm late Monday, the prime minister says that "initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far, we have lost all what money can buy and replace."

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