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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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Health
8:16 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Talking to Kids Following Traumatic Events

Friday’s deadly school shooting in Connecticut left many parents and children nervous heading into schools across the country Monday. It also left many parents wondering how to talk to their children about what happened. Dr. Anthony Mannarino is co-founder of Allegheny General Hospital’s Center for Traumatic Stress in Children. He said when children ask hard questions, answers should be age-appropriate.

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West Penn Power Co.
7:54 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

West Penn Appeals $109M Death Verdict

West Penn Power Co. has appealed a $109 million verdict for the surviving family of a Hempfield Township woman who was fatally burned by a downed power line in her backyard as her two young daughters and mother-in-law looked on.

The jury award earlier this month in the death of 39-year-old Carrie Goretzka was the largest ever in Allegheny County.

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Government & Politics
5:26 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Proposed Reforms Target State-Related Universities on Transparency

Democratic state Representative Scott Conklin of Centre County has announced his plan to propose legislation to reform governance at Pennsylvania’s state-supported universities.

The legislation will be based on recommendations handed down by the state’s Auditor General, Jack Wagner, whose office issued a report on the problems with Penn State’s governance structure in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

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Environment & Energy
5:23 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Southwestern PA Coal Waste Dump to Close

A federal judge has signed off on a deal for FirstEnergy Corp. to close a coal slurry dump along the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border in about four years. The Little Blue Run dump in Beaver County collects slurry pumped from the Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Once closed, the dump will stay in place, but no additional waste will be added.

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Government & Politics
9:01 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Coalition Forms to Stop Lottery Privatization

As the December 31st deadline nears for Pennsylvania to respond to a British company's bid the state’s largest employees’ union and the Alliance for Retired Americans are teaming up to stop the privatization of the lottery. 

The Corbett administration is considering a bid from Camelot Global Services, which promises to produce more than $34 billion over 20 years as the state looks into expanding into online gambling and Kino.

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Government & Politics
9:01 am
Mon December 17, 2012

'Ban the Box' Bill Ready to Become Law in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh City Council appears ready to pass legislation that would prohibit any criminal background inquiries on initial job applications for positions in city government, deferring those questions until the verbal interview process.

The measure unanimously passed a committee vote on Wednesday and is up for final approval today. Proponents of the legislation say it will allow ex-offenders to have a second chance for employment when they normally wouldn't be considered for an interview.

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Government & Politics
9:01 am
Mon December 17, 2012

“Right-to-Work” in PA?

With Michigan becoming the 24th state in the nation to adopt “right-to-work” legislation some organizations are looking to Pennsylvania to become number 25.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) is urging Governor Tom Corbett to change his stance on a “right-to-work” (RTW) bill in Pennsylvania.

The measure would make it illegal for workplaces to require employees to pay union dues for the cost of being represented.

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Government & Politics
9:01 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Hundreds of City Homeowners Winning Assessment Appeals

As the Allegheny County reassessment appeals process draws to a close on December 20th, about 2,500 Pittsburghers are saving an average of $26,484 on their higher reassessments.

This comes after the city controller’s office, in conjunction with City Council members William Peduto and Corey O’Connor began a program in February offering free assessment appeal services.

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Arts & Culture
9:01 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Megan Ward

Point Park University English professor Megan Ward is a Victorianist, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that her reading includes a lot of 19th century British fiction. She also loves the fiction of Michael Chabon, which Ward finds "Dickensian in its exuberance... its intricacies and weirdness."

Lately she's been reading:

George Eliot, Middlemarch

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Government & Politics
12:42 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

President Obama's Cabinet 2.0 Coming Into Focus

In the category of unintended consequences, Susan Rice's announcement about her future could — under one scenario — mean a Republican in President Obama's inner circle, decorated Vietnam veterans overseeing the nation's military and its foreign policy, and another special election for Senate in Massachusetts.

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Government & Politics
12:35 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

Judge OKs $18M Settlement in 'Kids For Cash' Case

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has given final approval to a settlement that will pay out nearly $18 million to juveniles who allege they were wrongly jailed by corrupt judges.

The approval granted Friday in Scranton allows attorneys to begin distributing money to about 1,600 teens and their parents.

The funds come from developer Robert K. Mericle (MEHR'-ih-kuhl), who built a pair of for-profit youth detention centers.

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