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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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Behavioral Health
12:31 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

A Nation In Mourning: How We Cope

Many of us following the news out of Newtown, Conn., do not have a personal relationship with those murdered Friday. Some of us may not have children whom we need to guide as they see images from the scene.

Yet even without these connections, many people are looking for ways to process their grief and mourn the victims.

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Government & Politics
12:27 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

Shale drillers eager to move wastewater on barges

The shale gas drilling industry wants to move its wastewater by barge on rivers and lakes across the country. But the U.S. Coast Guard, which regulates the nation’s waterways, must first decide whether it’s safe.

“It may be hazardous,” said Commander Michael Roldan, chief of the Coast Guard’s Hazardous Material Division, stressing the word ‘may.’ “If it is, it would not be allowed to ship under bulk.”

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Government & Politics
2:41 pm
Sat December 15, 2012

County Tax Review Could Hurt Local Nonprofit Bond Ratings

Credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service says Allegheny County's review of tax-exempt property "is a credit negative" for non-profit organizations which could put more demands on their operations.

The report issued Thursday says that the county review of tax-exempt properties may have long-term financial consequences for non-profits since they will have to spend time and money to address questions about whether they deserve the exempt status.

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Newtown, Conn.
2:29 pm
Sat December 15, 2012

Small Town Tries To Cope With Unimaginable Tragedy

Newtown, Conn. is a white-collar community an hour and a half northeast of New York City. It's the kind of place where crime is rare and the biggest thing that happens each year is the Labor Day parade.

Now the peace and quiet has been shattered, and residents are trying to make sense of what's happened.

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Government & Politics
9:00 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Senator Casey Calls for Full Investigation into Legionnaire’s Outbreak at Pittsburgh VA Hospital

Following the recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at the Pittsburgh VA Health System, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has sent a letter to the inspector general of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

“We need to know what happened, why it happened and what steps will the VA take to prevent this from happening again,” he said.

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Government & Politics
9:00 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Senator Casey Calls for Full Investigation into Legionnaire’s Outbreak at Pittsburgh VA Hospital

Following the recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at the Pittsburgh VA Health System, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has sent a letter to the inspector general of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

“We need to know what happened, why it happened and what steps will the VA take to prevent this from happening again,” he said.

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Government & Politics
8:16 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Airport Goes With Low Bidder in Shale Lease

The Allegheny County Airport Authority will negotiate with Consol Energy for rights to drill for natural gas and oil at Pittsburgh International Airport even though a competitor's bid appeared to be twice as large.

The authority last week said EQT Corp. bid roughly $44 million while Consol bid $20.8 million — but also included a $2.1 million check as a deposit. Both bids also include ongoing 18 percent royalties once drilling begins.

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