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Government & Politics
8:50 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

PA Lottery Deal Might Get Hearing

Word came this week that the Corbett administration is considering extending the deadline of the private bid on the Pennsylvania Lottery, meaning a decision wouldn’t be due by the end of the year.

On Thursday, Governor Corbett says his office is thinking about holding a hearing on the matter.

The recent cracks in the administration’s resolve to lease the Lottery come amid steady streams of criticism over the pending deal.

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Education & Learning
7:44 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

NA's Carson Middle School Evacuated

Students in one of three North Allegheny School District middle schools were evacuated this morning due to a bomb threat.  Students were taken from Carson Middle School in McCandless Township to the nearby North Allegheny Intermediate school until being released at the usual time.  

The District’s administration said a “fairly detailed bomb threat” was found in a boys’ bathrooms by a student. The message was reported to a building administrator shortly before noon.

Bomb-sniffing dogs were called in to sweep the building.

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Education & Learning
7:16 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

PA Schools Reviewing Policies After Newtown

In the hours after the Friday morning shootings in Newtown, state Department of Education officials here in the commonwealth sent a notice to all school districts, private and public, to be aware of any suspicious behavior. From there, school districts reached out to parents.

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Adaptive Bikes
6:09 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Dozens of Kids with Disabilities Receive Free Adaptive Bikes

More than eighty children with disabilities in southwestern Pennsylvania took home early Christmas gifts on Thursday when a local charity gave out free adaptive bicycles.

Hailing from all over a ten-county region, the kids and their parents gathered at the IBEW Hall on Pittsburgh's South Side for an emotional event that climaxed with the children getting on the customized bikes and riding all around the hall.

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Government & Politics
4:13 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Secretary of Aging Defends Lottery Negotiations

Plans to lease the operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a private company have been met with rebukes from Democrats and a lawsuit whose petitioners include the union that represents some Lottery employees.

Amid the swirl of criticism suggesting plans to privatize the Lottery have been secretive, the state’s Secretary of Aging, Brian Duke, is defending the process and the pending deal itself. He said during an appearance on witf’s Radio Smart Talk that it’s reasonable to search for opportunities to increase profits through privatization.

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Economy & Business
2:58 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Peoples Natural Gas to Purchase Equitable Gas

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/web gas deal.mp3

<strong> UPDATED: 12:03 12/20/12 </strong>

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corporation announced it is selling its natural gas transmission business, Equitable Gas, to Peoples Natural Gas for $720 million. The deal also includes 200 miles of Pennsylvania pipelines and storage pools, and long-term commercial contracts for EQT to provide gas transmission and storage services to Peoples.

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Economy & Business
12:32 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Gun Sales Up in PA

Pennsylvanians are lining up to buy firearms in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings, but dealers say gun owners' anxiety over a potential gun-control crackdown was driving up sales before the Sandy Hook massacre.

At Staudt's Gun Shop in Harrisburg, owner Joe Staudt says he sold out his usually large stock of semi-automatic weapons by Wednesday.

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Health
12:22 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Winter Shelter for the Homeless

When winter's colder temperatures arrive in Pittsburgh, the Severe Weather Emergency Shelter, or SWES, will be ready.  For a 10th year this winter, the facility on Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh will provide shelter to homeless individuals from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. when the temperature dips to 25 degrees or below.

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Government & Politics
9:12 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Health Exchange - What Comes Next

Governor Tom Corbett announced in mid-December that Pennsylvania will not be running its own health-exchange. The online marketplace for health insurance is a crucial component of the Affordable Care Act. The exchange is scheduled to be open for enrollment by October 2013 and will be effective in January of 2014.

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Government & Politics
9:12 am
Thu December 20, 2012

A Push to Change Department of Public Welfare's Name

Pennsylvania is the last state in the country to have a “Department of Public Welfare.” Idaho comes close- it has a “Department of Health and Welfare,” but the rest of the 48 states have made the transition to names like “Department of Human Services,” “Department of Children and Families,” or “Department of Human Resources.”

The word “welfare” is burdened with negative associations, but there was a time when welfare meant something positive and wholesome.

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Government & Politics
9:06 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

City/County Financial Collaboration Advancing Despite Some Difficulties

The Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) pushed for years for the City of Pittsburgh to upgrade its information technology systems, so it could better cooperate with the county.

The ongoing effort between the city and county to collaborate on financial management and functional consolidation seems to be paying off.

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Health
8:45 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

New Cancer Center Aims to Improve Treatment Experience for Sickest Patients

The Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers opened its doors to the first round of patients this week. It’s a new facility designed specifically for patients with blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

“This was built with the idea of creating a much better patient experience for this particular group of patients because they are so ill and spend so much time in the outpatient setting. The facility is state-of-the-art in terms of the technology as well as the design of the facility,” said Dr. Stan Marks, chairman of the UPMC Cancer Center.

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Government & Politics
8:03 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

City Controller: Fire Bureau Pays Too Much in Overtime

In his first audit of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, City Controller Michael Lamb has found that the department exceeded its budget for overtime pay in 2010 and 2011, and the 2012.  So-called "premium pay" came in at an oversized $11.5 million.

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Education & Learning
6:52 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

PSU Approves 16 Percent for President

Penn State trustees have approved a 16 percent raise for President Rodney Erickson to $600,000 after a review of his performance in the year since he took office.

The university announced Wednesday that the raise was effective Nov. 1. Erickson was promoted from provost to president on Nov. 9, 2011, after predecessor Graham Spanier left under pressure in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal involving retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

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Government & Politics
6:11 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Dems: Act 47 Needs to be Updated

90.5 WESA

Democrats in the state Senate have unfurled a long list of legislative proposals that could help the state’s many cash-strapped municipalities.

The challenges facing the municipalities in or verging on financial collapse are well-known to lawmakers, who held hearings earlier this year on the shortcomings in the state’s Act 47 program, written more than 25 years ago to help communities on the brink.

“We know the problems,” said Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna). “It’s not like it’s some mystery to us. We know what these problems are.”

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Science & Technology
9:01 am
Wed December 19, 2012

At Toy Lending Library, Play Reigns Supreme

It’s the Holiday season and stores and companies are trying to outdo each other in toy sales. But at the Toy Lending Library in Shadyside, it’s not about buying or selling or what the hottest toy of the season is. It’s just about play. 

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Government & Politics
3:54 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Connecticut Shooting: "One Time Too Many"

"I was brought to the edge of tears," said Tim Stevens, co-convener of the Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence, as he recalled hearing the news of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead.  

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Arts & Culture
8:52 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Popular Downtown Statue Being Moved To Airport

Arch will be traveling to the airport.  The Allegheny County Airport Authority has approved placement of Glenn Kaino’s sculpture Arch at Pittsburgh International Airport. Currently Arch is undergoing restoration work and will likely be placed in the Landside Terminal of Pittsburgh International Airport this spring, in time for the national convention of Americans for the Arts set for Pittsburgh June 14, 2013.

Renee Piechocki, Director of Pittsburgh's Office of Public Art, said the sculpture is immediately identifiable as a city icon.

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Government & Politics
8:48 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Council Votes to Retain 6:00 Parking Meter Cutoff

After a long and rather heated debate, the Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to another six months of free parking after 6:00pm. 

Under a deal reached two years ago, the city was to have extended meter enforcement from 6:00pm until 10:00pm in seven neighborhoods.  It did extend enforcement for a short period of time, but council rolled back the hours midway through 2012.  That roll back was to have expired Dec 31st, however council today once again extended the roll back until June 30th. 

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Transportation
7:03 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Travel up for All Major Holidays in 2012 – Capped by Increased Traffic over Christmas

The nation’s roadways and airports are about to get a lot busier, as families and friends head out to spend Christmas with those they love.

“We’ll have 93.3 million who will be traveling an average of 760 miles or more away from home, 90 percent of those will be on our nation’s roadways,” said Ruth Nagy, managing director of travel operations for AAA.

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Economy & Business
4:45 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Dick's Suspends Some Gun Sales

Coraopolis-based Dick’s sporting goods has suspended sales of “modern sporting rifles” nationwide in the wake of the school shooting in Connecticut.   Dick's Sporting Goods also said it is removing all guns from display at its store closest to Newtown.

Police say the 20-year old gunman fatally shot his mother in their home and then killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. He then killed himself.

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Government & Politics
12:18 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Newtown Killings Prompt Vows to Revisit PA's Gun Laws

90.5 WESA

The shooting deaths of 27 people in Newtown, Connecticut are already spurring some state lawmakers to call for new gun safety legislation. All but the House Republicans have confirmed the shootings are likely to prompt discussion of Pennsylvania’s gun policies.

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Health
11:54 am
Tue December 18, 2012

PHC4 Releases Statewide Hospital Performance Report

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) has released its 2011 Hospital Performance Report. The document includes statewide, regional, and individual facility information about the health care outcomes for adult patients in 12 medical categories and surgical procedures. PHC4 Executive Director Joe Martin said it covers 157 hospitals across the state.

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Government & Politics
9:09 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Allegheny County Democrats Announce Nominee for 42nd House District

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee unanimously nominated Dan Miller to run for the 42nd House District. The seat was left vacant after Matt Smith won the 37th state Senate seat in November. Miller is a former Mt. Lebanon Commissioner and a current volunteer firefighter.  He said he’s honored to get the nomination, and added he’ll focus on two big issues.

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Government & Politics
9:05 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

PA Goes For Obama....Officially

Pennsylvania’'s electoral college members have made November's election results official by casting their votes for Barack Obama for president.  Mr. Obama won all 20 of the commonwealth's electoral votes by defeating Republican Mitt Romney by about 310,000 votes out of the more than 5.7 million ballots cast.

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