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Pennsylvania
1:15 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Suit: Pa. Child Molester Should Buy Victim's House

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The parents of a young Pennsylvania girl who was sexually molested by their neighbor have sued the man in a bid to force him to buy their house.

Sixty-five-year-old Oliver Beck pleaded guilty in September 2011 to indecent assault of a child under 13. After getting out of prison, he moved back to his home near Emmaus, about 55 miles north of Philadelphia.

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North Side
1:00 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

New Partnership Aims to Get More North Siders to Work

Northside Works! combines two workforce development entities. The NSLC facility, equipped with computer stations, will go from part-time to full-time.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The North Side Leadership Conference (NSLC) and North Shore Community Alliance (NCA) are combining to improve services for North Side residents seeking employment.

The two entities both previously offered workforce development services. NSLC has a location convenient to all bus lines on the North Side and existing computer stations.

“NCA has a more robust workforce program with many more services than what the Conference offers,” said NSLC Board Member Gloria Rayman. “So by combining our resources, we can offer so much more to all of our neighbors.”

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Liquor Privatization
6:42 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Liquor Privatization Plan Headed for Final Vote in House

A state House plan to privatize Pennsylvania’s wine and liquor system is on its way toward a final vote in the full chamber.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

A March Madness Upset

RMU basketball coach, Andy Toole speaks to the press after a shocking win over the University of Kentucky.
Credit Helen Wigger / WESA

Tuesday night, in an unlikely National Invitational Tournament first round game, tiny Robert Morris University upset the defending NCAA champion, the Kentucky Wildcats. Robert Morris University Coach Andy Toole joins us to talk about the victory.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

A Talk With The President of NOW

Members of N.O.W. at an Equal Rights Amendment rally
Credit National Organization for Women


Terry O’Neill, the President of the National Organization for Women (NOW) came to Pittsburgh this week for a talk at CCAC titled Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She joins us to talk about women in STEM, the Equal Rights Amendment and the economy.

Economy & Business
9:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pittsburgh Sues UPMC

The City of Pittsburgh has started a legal battle with UPMC over nonprofit status
Credit Emily Farah / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has announced the city’s plans to file legal challenges to UPMC’s tax exemptions. We'll get reaction from Karen Shastri, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

STEM
6:17 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

In Pittsburgh Visit, NOW President Encourages Women to Pursue STEM Fields

Terry O’ Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday to tour STEM education facilities at Community College of Allegheny County, deliver a speech and participate in a panel discussion with women who work in STEM-related fields.

O’Neill said STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education is important not just for women but also for the competitiveness of the country.

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Marcellus Shale
5:01 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

New Organization Will Independently Certify Shale Companies for Pollution Standards

A new Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization has been created to independently certify companies that develop shale natural gas based on their adherence to 15 pollution control standards.

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development was created with funding and input from southwestern Pennsylvania foundations, gas companies and environmental groups.

"Unusual bedfellows in this day and age, to be sure," said Robert Vagt, president of the Heinz Endowments.

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PASSHE
3:41 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

State System Finalizes Contracts with Professors, Coaches

With a special board vote on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) finalized new contract agreements with roughly 6,000 educators and 400 coaches across its network of 14 state-owned universities, ending a saga of negotiations lasting nearly two years.

The employees had been working without contracts since midway through 2011. In the autumn of 2012, the union authorized a strike, but no action was taken.

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UPMC Lawsuit
3:15 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pittsburgh Starts Legal Battle with UPMC over Nonprofit Status

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
Credit Emily Farah / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Wednesday the city will embark in a legal battle against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's nonprofit status.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court developed a nonprofit test as a result of the case Hospital Utilization Project v. Commonwealth. An organization must act within the following five "HUP" test parameters in order to be considered a purely public charity:

1. Advances a charitable purpose
2. Donates or renders gratuitously a substantial portion of its services

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Department of Public Welfare
3:14 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

DPW Name Change Advances Amid Cost Concerns

A measure to change the name of the state Department of Public Welfare has passed a state House committee amid concerns of the potential costs of a switch.

Earlier this week, the acting secretary of DPW said renaming the agency the Department of Human Services would cost $8 million, most of which would be spent on changes to computer programs.

But Republican state Rep. Thomas Murt of Montgomery County said he’s surprised by the estimate, given that three years ago, a fiscal analysis of such a move pegged the cost at half a million dollars.

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Property Taxes
10:21 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Wagner Urges Taxpayers 'Watch Out For Windfalls'

Most of the attention and criticism of the property tax system over the past year has been about the reassessments of more than a half million properties in Allegheny County.

"The law is very clear," said County Controller Chelsa Wagner, "specifically in Allegheny County you cannot have any windfall. That doesn't mean 1 percent, that doesn't mean 5 percent, that means zero."

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Pennsylvania
9:44 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Councilman Facing Drug Charges in Northeastern Pa.

Authorities say a northeastern Pennsylvania borough councilman faces charges after he was caught buying heroin.

The Monroe County district attorney's office says Stroudsburg Borough Council Vice President Neil Lawson Allen was arrested Sunday. Authorities say an officer went to Kay's Tavern and observed a suspected drug dealer entering Allen's vehicle and saw Allen put drugs in his pocket.

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Transportation
7:18 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Former Head of Allegheny Co. Port Authority Visits to Talk About Future of Travel

The efficient movement of people and goods is one of the essential components of sustainable regions. So, too, is keeping public transportation both accessible and operative at the most efficient levels, according to William W. Millar, a nationally known expert in the fields of public transportation and transportation policy.

Millar spoke on these and other transportation issues at the University of Pittsburgh Tuesday during his lecture, “How Will We Travel in the Future? The Role of Transportation in Building Sustainable Regions."

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Electoral Votes
6:36 am
Wed March 20, 2013

With Letter, Sen. Casey Chimes in on Plan to Change Electoral Votes Tally

“Not a priority.”

That’s what you’ll hear most often when knocking around the Capitol asking about a controversial state Senate proposal to change the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes.

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Health
3:30 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Pilot Program Aims to Provide Preventative Care Through EMTs

The newly announced Community Paramedic Program, from Pitt’s Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT), retools the image of emergency medical service personnel.

Instead of racing through city streets, sirens screaming, EMTs participating in the pilot initiative will provide regular in-home care for area residents with chronic conditions.

CONNECT is part of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs’ Center for Metropolitan Studies and represents the City of Pittsburgh and 37 contiguous communities.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:44 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Bike Sharing Program in Pittsburgh's Future

In Washington D.C. you can pay as you go to bike anywhere. This could be on the way for Pittsburgh.
Credit Carlos Reis

Could a bike sharing program allow the Steel City to follow in the bike tracks of Washington, D.C. and London? We'll find out when we talk with Scott Bricker, Executive Director of Bike Pittsburgh.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:34 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Hedrick Smith: Who Stole the American Dream?

Journalist, Hedrick Smith examines how historic policy changes have impacted the American middle class.
Credit Hedrick Smith

  Hedrick Smith is the Pulitzer Prize winning former reporter with the NY Times, Emmy Award winning reporter/producer for PBS’s Frontline. In his new book Who Stole the American Dream, the author talks with 90.5 WESA reporter Kevin Gavin about how the dream has been dismantled and we became two Americas.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:10 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

The Capitol Steps: 30 Years of Satire

Elaina Newport is a founding member of the Capitol Steps
Credit Capitol Steps

  The political performers known as The Capitol Steps, are a singing troupe that began with a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the government that employed them. Collectively, they’re said to represent 18 Congressional offices and 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. This week, members of the Capitol Steps are coming to town to perform for the Traffic Club of Pittsburgh. We'll talk with Elaina Newport, a founding member and writer who worked in the Senate as a legislative aid.

Watch the Capitol Steps' 30 Years of Satire video

Undocumented Students
4:31 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Undocumented Students Urge State Lawmakers to Grant Them In-State Tuition

Undocumented students gathered at the state Capitol Tuesday to urge lawmakers to grant them in-state tuition at Pennsylvania’s 18 state-owned and state-supported universities, citing their struggles to advance their education after high school without the same help afforded their peers.

Carina Ambartsoumian, 25, said her parents came to the United States from the former Soviet Union in 1993, fleeing religious persecution and hoping to attain refugee status. She said her family’s papers were not recognized by the newly independent Ukraine after the Soviet Union dissolved.

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Single Payer Healthcare
4:09 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Could Pennsylvania Become a Single Payer State?

State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) is once again trying to convert Pennsylvania’s healthcare system to a single payer one. Ferlo said he will reintroduce legislation that failed to come up for a vote in 2009.

Titled the Pennsylvania Family and Business Healthcare Security Act of 2013, the legislation was drawn up with the help of the non-profit single payer advocacy group Healthcare 4 All PA.

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Property Taxes
3:48 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

State-Level Bills Would Prevent Local Challenges to Nonprofit Tax Exemptions

Two bills up for full votes in the state legislature would prevent municipalities from challenging the tax-exempt statuses of nonprofit organizations by transferring that power to the General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution condemning Senate Bill 4 and its counterpart, House Bill 724. The former is up for a Senate vote on Wednesday.

Because the bill would change the state constitution, it would need to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions and be approved by a voter referendum.

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Homelessness
3:42 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Allegheny County Grabs $13.1 Million to Fight Homelessness

Allegheny County has an additional $13 million to spend on trying to combat homelessness in the region.  The funds come from a U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care grant. 

The county can use the funds to support housing and service programs including safe havens, transitional housing and permanent housing for persons with disabilities. Most of the money will be used to continue programs already being offered by the county, said Allegheny County Homeless Programs Administrator Chuck Keenan.

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Health
3:36 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Report: Pennsylvania Fails When It Comes to Hospital Transparency

A new report out this week says Pennsylvania fails when it comes to making hospital fees transparent, resulting in patients not knowing what their hospital fees are until they are billed.

Pennsylvania, along with 28 other states, got an "F." Seven states got a "D." Only 2 states got an "A."

The report was compiled and released by The Catalyst for Payment Reform, a consortium of health care providers and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, a nonprofit that works to improve the affordability and quality of health care.

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Fred Rogers' Birthday
3:20 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Pittsburgh Children's Museum Offers Free Admission for Mister Rogers Day

King Friday's Castle, from the original set of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, on display at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum
Credit Pittsburgh Children's Museum

Your friendly neighbors at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum will waive admission fees on Wednesday, March 20 — just tell 'em Mister Rogers sent you.

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Downtown Pittsburgh
12:25 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

PDP Says Downtown Pittsburgh Is On the Rise

Credit Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Local leaders in business and politics highlighted the recent successes of downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday as the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) released its annual report for 2012.

For one, Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he's happy with several new developments in the Golden Triangle, including a new skyscraper currently being built by PNC Bank and the revamped Market Square. He said some people were skeptical of the Market Square renovation at first.

"Now, they're (angry) that they can't get in for lunch or dinner," Ravenstahl said.

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Pennsylvania
9:52 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Pa. Man, 90, Jailed on Charges He Punched Trooper

ARMAGH, Pa. — A 90-year-old man has been jailed on charges he punched a state trooper called to the man's western Pennsylvania home to check on the welfare of a woman who lived there.

Troopers from the Indiana barracks don't say in a news release who asked them to check on the woman or why, or even who she is, and a barracks spokesman could not immediately be reached Tuesday.

But police do say the Russell Stiffler threatened to shoot any troopers or medical personnel who came to his home after police were asked to check on the woman just before 6 p.m. Friday.

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Government & Politics
9:06 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Former PA Governors Call for Judges to be Appointed, Not Elected

For years, a dogged group of advocates has called for appointing appellate court judges in a multi-step process called merit selection, instead of holding partisan elections.

Supporters say relying on judicial elections all but ensures that judges aren’t independent arbiters of reason, but adept fundraisers.  

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Lean In: Can Women Really Have It All?

Our Business Contributor, Rebecca Harris is the Director of Chatham University's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has been on a media blitz since the release of her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Our business contributor Rebecca Harris takes a look at the controversy surrounding Sheryl Sandberg. Can all women have it all? Or just the privileged?

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