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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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Government
8:43 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

President Obama Visits Suburban Philly Toy Factory, Urges Action to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

President Obama brought his message about the fiscal cliff to a toy manufacturer in Montgomery County Friday.  The visit is an attempt to leverage public opinion to get his way on a deal with Congressional Republicans. 

The president says he’s hopeful that, come January first, the country won’t wake up to more austere budgets and higher tax rates across the board. But that’s not stopping him from asking people to tweet their members of Congress to come up with a deal soon.

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Arts
8:30 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Mayor's "Award For Public Art" Presented To Bridgeville Artist

At the Greater Pittsburgh Art Council’s annual meeting today, Toby Fraley of Bridgeville was honored with the 2012 Mayor’s Award for Public Art.  Established by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in 2007, the award acknowledges the power of public art in the community and celebrates those who are committed to supporting art in the city.

Fraley said his award-winning piece entitled “Robot Repair” was highly influenced by the memories he has of his father from when he young.  

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Health
7:08 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Ultrasound: More Affordable For Breast Cancer Screenings?

For years, it has been recommended that women schedule annual mammograms to help prevent and detect breast cancer in the early stages. Now, as a result of a multinational study, researchers are finding ultrasound screenings could be more affordable and accessible to women while also being more effective.

Dr. Wendie Berg, a professor of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh and practicing radiologist at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC, led researchers through a four-year study that evaluated data from the perspective of using ultrasound as the primary screening method.  

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Economy
5:25 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Could Have "Catastrophic" Impact on Pennsylvania

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/Web Fiscal CLiff PA.mp3

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Government
12:22 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

DA Reveals Security Findings in Western Psych Shooting

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. has released consultant reports recommending security upgrades in the wake of a shooting at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in March.

A spokesman for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center didn't immediately comment on the findings by two private security consultants. They recommend $2.1 million worth of upgrades, including adding a command and operations center, a new security card access system for employees, video surveillance, panic buttons and emergency call stations.

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Arts
9:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

"Books In The Burgh" Fair Will Feature Local Authors

From fiction to food, from history to science fiction, from sports to poetry, from biographies to artwork, the Heinz History Center this weekend will host the 11th annual “Books in the Burgh” holiday book fair.  Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to meet and greet local authors.

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Education
9:04 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Singing and Dancing Planned for Pitt Nationality Rooms

Correction: Some versions of this story aired on 90.5 FM erroneously listed the open house as being held Saturday December 2 when in fact, December 2 is a Sunday.  The open house runs from noon to 4:00 on Sunday December 2.

The Nationality Rooms Program at the University of Pittsburgh will throw its doors wide open this weekend for the annual Holiday Open House.  Nearly all of the 29 rooms have been decorated in a way that celebrates a special day in that culture’s year.

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Government
9:17 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Corbett Tackles the Lottery and Agrees to Cooperate with Sandusky Investigation

The governor’s office is still reviewing the lone bid submitted to run the Pennsylvania Lottery.  The bid came from a British company after months of behind the scenes work.         

Governor Corbett is downplaying his misgivings about gambling when discussing its potential expansion in the state.

“The question is, is there more gambling?  Yes.  Is there a benefit to it?  Yes.  Am I concerned about gambling addiction?  Yes,” said Corbett. “But it is going on.  And I’m looking at, you know, can we get more revenue for senior projects, for senior programs.”

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Economy
8:50 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Salvation Army Already Behind

Holiday shoppers in Western Pennsylvania are used to seeing the yearly appearance of Salvation Army red kettles and bell ringers, but it seems that they are ignoring them a bit more often this year.

Despite reports of a Good Black Friday for retailers, the Western Pennsylvania Division of The Salvation Army said it is more than $91,000 behind last year’s Red Christmas Kettle Campaign earnings.

Major William Bode, Divisional Commander for 28 western Pennsylvania counties said while donations have been slow to come in, the needy have not.

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Health
6:50 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Hospital Acquired Infections Down in PA

Healthcare-associated infections contracted at Pennsylvania hospitals decreased by 3.1% in 2011. That is according to an annual report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) fell in three categories: catheter-associated urinary tract infections (down 32.3% from 2008-2011; central line-associated bloodstream infections (down 44% from 2008-2011); and surgical site infections (down 5.9% from 2009 to 2010).

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Government
5:20 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Pennsylvania Opens First Trade Office In Indonesia

Pennsylvania this week became the first state to open a trade-based office in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) new center will provide support and resources to business throughout the state looking to develop viable international markets and increase sales.

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Government
3:53 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

President Obama Fights the Fiscal Cliff in PA

The nice thing about bully pulpits is they’re terrifically mobile. President Obama is bringing his to Montgomery County Pennsylvania this Friday to promote his plan for averting the fiscal cliff.

Christopher Borick, a pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College, says after a first term marked by deep conflict, a trip like this is fuel for the Republican critique that the president hasn’t been easy to work with.

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Government
12:35 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Former DEP Sec Runs for PA Governor

John Hanger, a Democrat and former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, is the first to announce he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

At an event in Harrisburg, he touted his record of breaking up the electric utilities' monopoly in Pennsylvania in the 1990s and leading the charge to create a renewable energy industry in the commonwealth.

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Education
8:52 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Town Hall To Address Achievement Gap In PGH Public Schools

Parents, community members, teachers and administrators will discuss potential solutions to the achievement gap in the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) at a town hall this evening in East Liberty.

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Health
3:09 am
Thu November 29, 2012

In The Hill Dist. No Food Access Means More Health Problems

The Hill District has been without a supermarket for more than 30 years, and according to a new study, that dearth of easily available food for local residents has led to negative health impacts.

The study, Pittsburgh Hill/Homewood Research on Eating, Shopping and Health (PHRESH), sheds light on how an individual's food choices and general health are affected by the amenities of the neighborhood where they live. The study also focuses on how people adapt to living in “food deserts”: neighborhoods without access to full service markets or fresh produce.

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Government
2:54 am
Thu November 29, 2012

City Council Divided over Proposed Change to Council District Map

Pittsburgh City Council voted 5-4 on Wednesday to approve a controversial amendment to the Council District map proposed by the Reapportionment Advisory Commission (RAC) earlier this fall.

After half an hour of heated discussion, a slim majority passed the revision, which shifts around several wards in order to maintain the District 2 boundaries from the current 2002 Council District map. Councilwoman Theresa Smith represents District 2 and proposed the amendment during debate on Wednesday.

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Government
9:27 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Mother of Toddler Mauled by Zoo Dogs Will Not be Charged

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium should have launched a better immediate response to the early November incident in which a South Hills toddler was mauled to death by a pack of African painted dogs after falling into the zoo exhibit, according to District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

As he announced some preliminary results of his investigation into the incident, the DA did not say whether he would seek criminal charges against the zoo, but Zappala said he will not charge any family members.  Zappala did mention some potential charges he would review in similar situations.

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Government
8:36 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

City Council on Track to Create Equal Opportunity Department

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to legislation that would give city government the ability to crack down on contractors who flout Pittsburgh's equal opportunity requirements while doing business with the city.

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WV Mine Blast
8:25 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Charged Exec Cooperating in WV Mine Blast Probe

An executive who ran several coal companies for Massey Energy and worked closely with former CEO Don Blankenship faces criminal conspiracy charges and is cooperating with federal prosecutors, a sign that authorities may be aiming their sights even higher in the company as they probe a fatal West Virginia blast that was the nation's worst mine disaster in four decades.

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