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Science & Technology
9:59 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Pittsburgh Company Among Tech Belt Innovators Honored

Governor Tom Corbett today honored three Pennsylvania companies for their work in developing a 21st century  innovation called "additive manufacturing", or 3D printing.

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Economy
9:23 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

More Companies Announce Special Dividends to Avoid Tax Hike

Walt Disney Corporation, Wal-Mart, Dish Network, and now Pittsburgh-based American Eagle Outfitters are just some of the many companies that have announced they are moving up their dividend payments.

American Eagle announced today they are moving up the payment of its first quarter dividend from April to December 28th.

Brian Koble, director of research at Hefren-Tillotson, an investment advisory and financial planning firm based in Pittsburgh, said companies are trying to take advantage of lower taxes on dividend payments this year.

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Government
9:05 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

No More Winner-Take-All for PA's Electoral College?

It’s been nearly a month since the election and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is taking a second run at changing the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes.

Pileggi said he’d introduce a bill next year to allocate them based on a candidate’s percentage of the popular vote.

He sponsored a similar proposal last fall, and spokesman Erik Arneson said some thought that was suspicious timing.

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Government
8:46 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Casey Holds Fiscal Cliff Hearing: Don't Break Promises

Senator Bob Casey

The Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress will convene Thursday to search for a way to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff and the chairman, Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) says he thinks a solution can be found. 

Casey said the first step is for the Republican-led House to pass a middle-class tax cut that allows income tax rates on the nation’s top earners to increase.  “Most people who are making a lot of money understand that we have a big debt and deficit and they want to help us,” said Casey.

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Education
7:49 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

From Slavery to Freedom – Heinz History Center Highlights Pittsburgh’s Role

Some 500 years of history are chronicled in the Heinz History Center’s “From Slavery to Freedom” exhibit, including the role Pittsburgh played both in slavery and in the fight for freedom.

“What we argue in this exhibit is that Pittsburgh was a destination of freedom and you will see in the exhibit, the various ways in which Pittsburghers really fought for free status, not only for African Americans, but freedom in upholding freedom as a part of the creed of the United State of America,” said Sam Black, the History Center’s director of African American studies.

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Health
7:02 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Free Lodging Offered to Long-Term VA Hospital Visitors

The Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System officially opened a "Fisher House" on the campus of its main hospital in Oakland on Tuesday. When a member of a military family from out-of-town must be hospitalized, the house will provide free rooms and meals for the rest of the family.

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Environment
4:05 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Water Testing Begins on Ohio and Allegheny Rivers

After three years of testing the Monongahela for pollution the West Virginia Water Research Institute is now turning its attention to the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers.

Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, the institute’s director, said the institute began testing the Monongahela in 2009 after high concentrations of “total dissolved solids” (TDS) began to appear. TDS include sulfide, chloride, and other chemicals that affect drinking water standards.

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Government
1:10 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Toomey Returns to Ideas in Super Committee

The state’s junior U.S. Senator is working on attracting bipartisan support for a plan to avert the fiscal cliff.

Republican Pat Toomey said the framework is based on what he proposed while serving on the so-called congressional “super committee” to reduce the national deficit last year. That panel failed to reach a consensus, which triggered the 2013 automatic spending cuts and tax hikes involved in the fiscal cliff. But Toomey said he’s pushing for his super committee proposal once more.

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Government
8:58 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Pittsburgh May Hire Contractor to Launch, Manage Emergency Alert System

If City Council passes the necessary legislation, Pittsburgh would hire a company to set up and manage an emergency alert system for its residents rather than build the system itself.  The Alert system would have the capability to send out mass phone calls, emails, and text messages.

Sponsoring Councilman Corey O'Connor said the new alert system probably would cost between $50,000 and $100,000 each year, depending on the number of city residents who sign up for the alerts and the level of competition in the bidding process.

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Government
8:43 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Senators' Wives Advocating For Completion Of Flight 93 Memorial

Eleven years after 9/11, the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Somerset County remains unfinished, and the spouses of Pennsylvania's two U.S. Senators are working to raise the remaining funds to complete the project.

Kris Toomey, wife of Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Terese Casey, wife of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)  will co-host an event tomorrow in Shanksville to raise awareness and funds.

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Government
8:42 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Pennsylvania Republican House Representative Comes Out As Gay

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The Head of the State’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens lobby is applauding the decision of a Republican state House lawmaker to come out as openly gay. Representative Mike Fleck of Huntingdon County told his local newspaper the decision was part of his effort to be authentic, and that he does not expect it to change his voting pattern.

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Transportation
7:38 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Governor Corbett: Healthy Transportation System Key to a Healthy Economy

Lawmakers are continuing to work on a comprehensive transportation funding solution, according to Governor Tom Corbett. The governor was in Wexford, highlighting the role transportation plays in the overall economy. He said Pennsylvania is currently at a very important economic juncture with the continuing energy boom as well as the growing manufacturing and technology sectors.

“The role transportation has will be putting all of these pieces together, allowing the people that are here to be able to move about from region to region,” said Corbett.

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Transportation
6:32 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

United Airlines Ranks Last in Flight Timeliness

According to analysis by the company Lets Fly Cheaper, air travelers are more likely to leave the gate late if they choose United Airlines over other carriers.

United Airlines ranked last in terms of timeliness on a list of 15 major carriers, using federal data from January to September of this year. The company's flights were on schedule roughly 76.5 percent of the time.

Just ahead of United in terms of punctuality were Express Jet Airlines (76.72% on time); American Airlines (77.86%); Frontier Airlines (79.12%); and JetBlue Airways (80.41%).

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Transportation
6:21 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Empowering Senior Drivers And Keeping Them Safe

In Pennsylvania, drivers must renew their licenses every four years.  Motorists 65 and older have the option to renew every two years but are not required to do so, and they don't have to take another driving test.

So PennDOT and law enforcement officials want to keep elderly drivers safe while preserving their independence. During this week there are several events being held across southwestern Pennsylvania to highlight safety for older drivers.

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Government
5:58 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

51 Year Old Law for Libraries Gets Modernized

Pennsylvania libraries are being given more latitude as managers try to catch up with modern patrons with a new state code that updates old requirements involving staff education, collection requirements, facilities and technology. 

“Technology continues to change,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said.  “It changes the way we are learning and advancing our learning, and it changes our libraries,” Corbett said as he signed the legislation.

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Government
8:23 am
Mon December 3, 2012

City Councilwoman Critical of Mayor's Capital Budget Plan

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak says the $64 million capital budget proposed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is amorphous and needs serious refinement.

Rudiak said many of the budget line items are devoid of important details.

"We look at bike infrastructure, we look at bridge repairs, we look at building improvements, we look at pool rehabilitation -- there's no detail in any of these categories about which pools, or which buildings, or which playgrounds are going to be focused on next year or in the next five years," said Rudiak.

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Education
8:23 am
Mon December 3, 2012

More International Students Studying In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is near the front of national trend of increasing numbers of international students attending higher education institutions. In 2011/2012 the Institute of International Education (IIE) found the number of foreign students studying in the US increased by 6% over the previous academic year, for a total of nearly 765,000 from more than 200 countries. Pennsylvania experienced an increase of 10%, with Penn State University leading the way with 6,075 international students.

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Health
8:23 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Health Officials Want to Needle You

Although no official cases of the flu have been confirmed in the Pittsburgh area yet this season, local health officials are urging residents to get a flu shot during National Influenza Week (December 2-8).

"We're approaching that time of year when you start to see influenza activity," said Guillermo Cole, spokesman for the Allegheny County Health Department.  "Influenza typically starts in late fall and peaks in the winter sometime in late January or February."

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Health
8:19 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Pitt Study Sheds New Light On Debilitating Virus

A virus that can cause brain damage lies dormant in more than half the population and scientists are working to eradicate it before it can debilitate our unborn children. It sounds like a movie plot, but it isn’t. In fact, it has already inside us and a new study shows certain cells are resistant to the virus.

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Government
8:19 am
Mon December 3, 2012

2 Year Head Start on PA's Gubernatorial Election

The 2014 gubernatorial race is officially on, with Democrat John Hanger as the first officially declared candidate.  But is it too early?

The short answer according to Terry Madonna, pollster and political science professor at Franklin and Marshall College, is, "no."

The general election is two years away, but Democrats considering a run have to get their act together for the primary, scheduled in May 2014. Candidates will have to pass around petitions for getting their name on the ballot even sooner.

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Arts
8:15 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Aaron Bisno

Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Rodef Shalom Congregation values narrative for its power "to convince someone of the meaning of an argument because of its direct implications on someone with whom they have a relationship, who they care about."

Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts

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Government
2:21 pm
Sun December 2, 2012

Former State Democratic Leader Sentenced to Prison for Corruption

A federal judge has sentenced former Democratic state Senator Robert Mellow to 16 months in prison for corruption charges.

On Friday, the judge also ordered Mellow to pay nearly $80,000 in restitution to the state Senate, along with a $40,000 fine to the federal government.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Joel Slomsky orders Mellow, long one of the most powerful figures in state government, to have supervised release after his prison sentence as well.

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Environment
1:45 pm
Sun December 2, 2012

Court Delays Decision on Proposed Tire-Burning Plant Near Meadville

A judge won't rule until next year on the fate of a proposed tires-to-energy plant in western Pennsylvania.

Thomas Renwand of the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board this week extended deadlines for submitting evidence about the proposed plant until January 18, and motions in the case until February 1.

Crawford Renewable Energy plans to build the $350 million plant in the Keystone Regional Industrial Park outside Meadville. It would burn about 900 tons of chopped-up waste tires daily to produce enough electricity for about 75,000 homes.

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Government
3:30 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Bring More Hollywood, And More Money, To Pennsylvania

To make money, you sometimes have to spend money, and the Pennsylvania film industry holds to that adage.

The Pittsburgh Film Office and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office believe the commonwealth could attract more film and television production if the legislature would consider increasing the state’s $60 million film tax credit program.

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Government
8:46 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Ravenstahl Undecided on Billboard Tax

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says he is still reviewing the billboard tax legislation passed this week by the city council.  The measure would levy a 10 percent tax on the revenue generated by any billboard within the city limits.

Currently the billboards are subject only to a property tax based on the value of the land on which they sit.

“Our law department is examining the legalities of it,” said Ravenstahl. 

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