Government & Politics

Government
9:05 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Patrick Fitzgerald Delivers Keynote at Law Enforcement Awards

The 15th Annual L.E.A.D. Awards for outstanding performance in law enforcement were given out Friday at the Pitt Law School.  Patrick Fitzgerald, former U.S. Attorney from Chicago, delivered the keynote address on the topic of how law enforcement has evolved in response to extremist terrorism.  

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Government
8:30 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Corbett Signs Tougher Penalties on Underage Drinking

Teenagers partying in the South Side and Oakland will get hit with harder fines if cops find them with alcohol in their bloodstream.

Governor Tom Corbett signed into law legislation that increases fines for underage drinking and public drunkenness.

Senate Bill 941 sets the fee for both infractions to a maximum of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for further offenses.  Currently the fine limit is $300 for first time violations and $500 for anything further.

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Government
7:52 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Vets Day: Remembering to Remember

A long list of events celebrating Veterans Day will be strung out over the coming days giving western Pennsylvanians ample opportunity to celebrate the holiday.  However, for many, the nearly 100-year-old tradition of remembering those who have served has become little more than a few red letters on a calendar.

Those who will celebrate the day will do so in different ways.  Some will celebrate in a public fashion by watching a parade; others will do something more subdued and solitary, such as visiting the grave of a fallen soldier.

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Government
11:21 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Mayor, City Council Members, Lawmakers Ask State to Release Pittsburgh from Act 47

At a public hearing on Thursday, Act 47 coordinators, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and others said the city is ready to be released from Act 47, the Financially Distressed Municipalities Act. Speakers recounted what landed the city its financial distress status in 2003. Back then, Pittsburgh was operating with a debt burden of more than 20% of its operating budget, pools and recreation centers had to close and hundreds of city employees, including police officers, were laid off.

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Government
10:02 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Hill District Shop-N-Save Funding Finished

“We’re going back out there, that dirt that has been sitting dormant for so long is going to be active again.”

Cheryl Hall-Russell, the CEO and President of Hill House Association, announced the completion of the funding phase for the Centre Heldman Plaza—a retail center that will also house a Shop-N-Save grocery store: the first supermarket for the Hill District in almost 30 years.

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Government
9:19 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Thomas Merton Center Honors Medea Benjamin

The Thomas Merton Center is honoring Code Pink and Global Exchange co-founder Medea Benjamin at its 40th Anniversary Celebration Thursday night. Benjamin created Code Pink after 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan. She said they chose the name based on the color-coded terrorism warning system created by the Bush Administration. Lately Benjamin has been leading a campaign to educate the public about the impact of unmanned drone strikes abroad.

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Government
9:11 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Corbett Open to Another Sandusky Investigation

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said Attorney General elect, Kathleen Kane, is welcome to make good on her promises to investigate the way the AG's office handledthe Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case under his leadership.

Kane said repeatedly on the campaign trail that she fully intends to open an investigation into why it took nearly three years to arrest Sandusky, and why the case was handled the way it was.  The Democrat also said if she found no evidence of foot-dragging, she’d move on.

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Government
8:43 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Local Vets Graduate from Veterans’ Court

Eight military veterans from the Pittsburgh area graduated Thursday from the Allegheny County Veterans Court program which started on Veterans' Day in 2009.  The initaitve offers drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services and employment help to veterans who are facing criminal charges. Veterans who complete the program can have charges dropped or their criminal record erased.

Common Pleas Judge John Zottola, who supervises the court, said Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  is common in returning vets. 

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Government
5:54 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

$15 Million Penalty Agreement Reached in Le-Nature’s Case

A Wisconsin bottling equipment firm will pay a $15 million penalty to avoid prosecution and has agreed to pay $110 million more to settle legal claims for its alleged role in a massive accounting fraud involving defunct western Pennsylvania soft-drink maker, Le-Nature's.

Franklin, Wis.-based Krones Inc. says it cut the deal to avoid the "continued uncertainty and risk" involved in the legal proceedings, but denies any role in the fraud.

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Government
5:36 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Local Group Maps Election Results in Allegheny County

Combing through a long list of confusing ward and precinct numbers followed by a slew of vote totals is enough to make most of us go cross-eyed, but if you want to know how individual neighborhoods voted that is often the only way to learn. However, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have done the number crunching for Allegheny County this year and have laid it all on an interactive map.

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Government
12:45 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Pittsburgh Officials Discuss Merits, Drawbacks of TIF Subsidies

Pittsburgh City Council's general discussion of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts on Wednesday was ostensibly not meant to focus on a single proposed TIF district, but city officials did end up sparring over the $50 million proposed subsidy for a Lower Strip District development by the Buncher Company.

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Government
9:06 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Mike Doyle: We're Ready to Deal... If They Are

Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA 14) is looking forward to getting back to work in Washington but he does not think there will be any lasting solution to the so-called fiscal cliff before the end of the year.  Doyle made his comments on Essential Pittsburgh the day after he easily won reelection to a 10th term in office.

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Government
7:36 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

State, Local Vote Totals Conflict In House Race

Whose numbers are correct? Those from the Pennsylvania Department of State? Or the numbers from the individual election divisions in Allegheny and Washington Counties?  The answers to those questions could be the key to learning who won the election for the 39th Pennsylvania house seat --Republican incumbent Representative Rick Saccone of Elizabeth or the man he upset in 2010, Democrat Dave Levdansky who had served 26 years in the House before that.

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Government
7:28 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

With Obama's Win, Health Exchange in Pennsylvania To Proceed

On Wednesday, Melissa Fox, Deputy Press Secretary for Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department said the Department has still not yet begun work on the health exchange; a sort of travleocity-esque shopping site for health insurance plans, which is a crucial component of federal The Affordable Care Act.

“Certainly the election did play a part in terms of the unknown. The Republican party did say that they would repeal 'ObamaCare' but either way, the questions that we had asked HHS were back in the summer looking for clarification and we continue to look for those answers,” said Fox.

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Government
5:52 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

911th Airlift Wing Deploys Personnel Overseas

20 Members of the 911th Airlift Wing are headed to southwest Asia, where they will regroup with unit members already deployed there. They will also relieve airmen who have been there and will now get to come home. The unit will continue to haul cargo using C-130 aircraft.

“What we pretty much haul in there are anything from what we like say from beans to bullets, so food, ammunition, equipment, personnel, you name it, if we can fit it in the back, we’re going to take it,” said Captain Shawn Walleck, 911th public affairs officer.

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Government
3:32 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Obama Wins Another 4 Years

President Barack Obama is promising Americans that the "best is yet to come."  Mr. Obama delivered his victory speech in Chicago early Wednesday to a crowd of cheering supporters.  The president said he and Republican Mitt Romney may have battled fiercely, "but it's only because we love this country deeply."

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Government
7:48 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Smith Defeats Raja in PA Senate Race

Matt Smith is elected as state senator in the 37th district, which includes parts of southwestern Allegheny County and Peters Township in Washington County. He defeated Republican nominee D. Raja and claimed one of three new desks for state Democrats in the Senate.

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Government
7:14 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Raja's "Tough Night"

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Republican D. Raja of Mount Lebanon lost his bid for the 37th state senate seat Tuesday in what was a hotly contest race.  Democrat Matt Smith, who is also from Mount Lebanon and holds a state House position, beat Raja by nearly 9% for a Pennsylvania senate seat that has been controlled by Republicans for more than three decades.  In his concession speech, Raja said it was a “tough night.”

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Government
7:09 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Maher Loses Run for Auditor General, Wins His Seat in the Legislature

Representative John Maher (R-Allegheny County) lost his bid to become the state’s next Auditor General to Democratic Representative Eugene DePasquale (York County), but he kept his seat serving in the PA House.

DePasquale, a Pittsburgh native, beat Maher 49.7 to 46.5 percent. He won with only 168,489 votes.

The Pennsylvania Auditor General is the state’s chief fiscal officer, responsible for overseeing state departments and agencies.

By law, incumbent Auditor General Jack Wagner could not run for a third consecutive 4-year term.

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Government
6:54 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Maggi Loses To Murphy in 18th Congressional District

Republican Incumbent Tim Murphy handily won reelection to the 18th Congressional District seat by beating Democrat Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi Tuesday.

Murphy will enter his sixth term in the US House of Representatives.

The 18th District covers Greene and Washington Counties as well as parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.

Murphy attributed his victory to the hard work of his team. He looked forward to his priorities for the next two years in making the nation stronger.

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Government
6:32 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Republican Rothfus Unseats Incumbent in 12th Congressional District

It was a tense evening in the North Hills as early returns showed incumbent Democrat Mark Critz with a commanding lead over North Hills businessman Keith Rothfus. That lead began to tighten and eventually Rothfus surpassed Critz. The newly-elected Congressman commended his opponent and said going forward he has some big shoes to fill.

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Government
5:59 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Democrats Win Attorney General, Auditor General and State Treasurer

Democrats swept the three state row offices in yesterday’s election.

Kathleen Kane, a former Lackawanna County assistant district attorney, became the first woman and the first Democrat to win the Attorney General’s job since the post became an elected position in 1980.  She garnered more than 2.9 million votes, or about 56 per cent of the ballots cast. Kane defeated Republican David Freed, the Cumberland County District Attorney, who received 2.1 million votes, or about 42 per cent.  A Libertarian candidate, Marakay Rogers, received less than three per cent.

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Government
5:52 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Tom Smith Concedes US Senate Race

Republican Tom Smith took to the stage at his headquarters at the Sheraton in Station Square and immediately thanked his family, his supporters and even Democratic incumbent Bob Casey, who was celebrating his victory across the state in Scranton.

"Now while Senator Casey and I disagree on many things, we both share a love for this country and for this state."

Smith, a democrat turned Tea Party conservative poured at least $16.8 million of his own coal mining fortune into the race. Tuesday night he vowed to fight on.

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Government
5:47 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Critz Loses Congressional District to Republican Rothfus

Democratic Congressman Mark Critz lost Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District to Republican challenger Keith Rothfus in Tuesday's general election.

The outgoing Democrat said his campaign nearly overcame "insurmountable odds" to beat Rothfus, who became eligible to run after state-level Republicans reapportioned the district to include GOP-controlled areas in the North Hills of Allegheny County.

"I don't think anyone would've given us a chance, considering the onslaught of money we faced," said Critz.

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Government
4:48 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Obama's Win Powered By Organization, If Not Ideas

The euphoria of Barack Obama's supporters on election night four years ago was replaced Tuesday by relief, as the incumbent president won a second term over Republican Mitt Romney in an effort powered more by organization than by ideas. 

To retain the White House, Obama managed to overcome the handicap of an economy just finding its footing after a devastating recession, and an unemployment rate higher than it's been under any president seeking re-election since Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression.

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