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Education & Learning
2:13 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Duquesne University Focuses on Africa

Duquesne University's Center for African Studies is hosting events from March 12-14 which will explore student and faculty connections to Africa.  All events begin at 4:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.  On Tuesday, March 12, in the Pappert Lecture Hall at the campus' Bayer Learning Center, Emory University professor Dr. Dianne Diakite will speak on "Mother Symbol and Africana Women's Religious Practices of Peacebuilding."  Responses from different perspectives will be offered by law professor Dr. Susan C. Hascall and English professor Dr. Emad Mirmotahari.

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CCAC
10:02 am
Fri March 8, 2013

CCAC Teachers get a Raise

Teachers at the Community College of Allegheny County will be getting a few more dollars next year as they send their students to the CCAC North Library.
Credit CCAC North Library

The Community College of Allegheny County has approved a three percent raise for about 330 faculty union members.  The deal with Local 2067 of the American Federation of Teachers is for one year only.

The trustees of the school unanimously approved the plan on Thursday night. The deal comes with a price tag of $650,000 in the 2013-14 school year.

CCAC spokesman David Hoovler said annual salaries across the bargaining unit average $65,000.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:57 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Patrick Dowd: What's Next for the City?

City Councilman Patrick Dowd discusses police force improvements council members would like to see in the wake of former Chief Harper's resignation.
Credit Patrick Dowd / Facebook

Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd discusses police force improvements council members would like to see and what Mayor Ravenstahl's decision not to run for reelection means for the city.

Medicaid
9:57 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Medicaid Debate in PA Could be Shifting

As state lawmakers wrap up three weeks of budget hearings in Harrisburg, the issue of a possible Medicaid expansion has come up framed as a matter of dollars and cents. But the possible political ramifications also loom over the issue.

Democrats have been hammering the governor on the issue of a Medicaid expansion. They support it and, in recent weeks, it looks like Corbett could be swayed. He is expected to meet with federal authorities to go over what an expansion could mean for Pennsylvania.

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Government & Politics
9:25 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Interpretation of Tobacco Settlement Ruling Begins in PA

The fate of a program receiving money from the state’s tobacco settlement is unknown, as are the Corbett administration’s next steps on how to allocate the special funding.

A judge deemed unconstitutional two state laws that diverted tobacco settlement money away from adultBasic, the commonwealth’s bygone health insurance program for adults. It was shut down in 2011 after Governor Corbett said it was no longer affordable.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Local Goodness: Maple Syrup Season is Here

Grades of maple syrup can range from light to dark coloring, which dictates the strength of the maple flavor.
Credit Wikipedia

When one thinks of pure maple syrup, Vermont often comes to mind. However, Pennsylvania's maple season is also highly anticipated for those with a sweet tooth. Our local food contributor Rhonda Schuldt shares some maple syrup cooking tips and talks about the abundance of local festivals.

Celebrate Maple Season at a local festival:

March 16 & 17 - 10th Annual NW Pennsylvania Maple Association Taste & Tour Weekend in the Erie area 

March 16, 17, 20-24 - 66th Annual PA Maple Festival in Somerset, PA 

April 6 & 7 - The Beaver County Maple Syrup Festival at Brady's Run Park in Beaver, PA

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Medicaid Expansion & Women in PA

When it comes to Medicaid Expansion, what's the potential impact on lower-income women?
Credit Ben Ostrowsky / Flickr

As more Republican governor's adopt the Medicaid Expansion, Governor Corbett is under more pressure to adopt the program. We'll discuss the impact of the Medicaid Expansion program on Pennsylvania women and low-income families with Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health Policy and Reproductive Rights for the National Women's Law Center.

Pittsburgh Politics
4:33 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Michael Lamb will get Allegheny County Democratic Committee Endorsement – by Default

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee meets this weekend for its endorsement meeting. Before Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced he was leavening the race for reelection, he was on the endorsement ballot along with City Controller Michael Lamb. Lamb now remains the only name on the ballot.

“I understand that there are several other people running in the primary, but for the actual endorsement of the party, there will only be one,” said Committee Chair Nancy Patton Mills.

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Art From the Ground Up
4:29 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

The Pillow Project "Experiments" in The East End

The improvisational, free jazz movement, performance group know as The Pillow Project performs the second Saturday of each month in the East End.
Credit The Pillow Project

It began nearly ten years ago as “an evolving experiment for improvisational free jazz movement, performance-happenings and new ideas in dance,” and The Pillow Project has never wandered far from its roots. 

Pearlann Porter heads the group that sees the word “jazz” as a verb. The group gathers the second Saturday of every month at “The Space Upstairs” in Pittsburgh's East End to perform.  Project members call the studio in a repurposed warehouse a “4,000 square foot canvas where audiences and artists interact.”

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Arts & Culture
4:14 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Thomas Merton Center to Hold Forum on Abuse of Women in the Military

Lieutenant Elle Helmer in front of the Vietnam War Memorial, from "The Invisible War"
Credit Cinedigm / Documrama Films

On Friday, March 8, in observance of International Women’s Day, the Thomas Merton Center will screen The Invisible War, a documentary about abuse of women in the American military.

The Academy Award-nominated film addresses sexual assault against women in the armed forces. According to the military’s official statistics, 20 percent of women have experienced sexual assault. An estimated 80 percent of those cases go unreported.

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Economy & Business
12:32 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Hot Dogs Here! 3 More Pittsburgh Vendor Sites Approved

A Strip District vendor sells Pittsburgh Steelers t-shirts on the roadside.
Credit Jeffrey Inscho / Flickr

Pittsburghers will have three more chances to buy hot dogs, T-Shirts and other paraphernalia after City Council gives final approval to three new vendor sites on Tuesday.

Council gave preliminary approval to the necessary legislation on Wednesday, and if approved next week, the three new vending sites will be advertised in local newspapers.

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Public Safety
12:27 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Votes to Fund CCAC Police Training Program

Although Pittsburgh City Council voted on Wednesday to fund a police education program at the Community College of Allegheny County, at least one Council Member raised questions about the necessity of a rule that requires all Pittsburgh police officers to have 60 college credits before joining the force - particularly for military members.

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Liquor Privatization
12:11 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Ferlo: Modernize, Don't Privatize Liquor Sales in PA

State Senator Jim Ferlo favors modernization over privatization of Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Board and state stores.
Credit Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

Just a day after the House Republican leader introduced another attempt to privatize liquor stores in Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh area lawmaker has unveiled legislation to modernize, but not eliminate, the state store system in the commonwealth.

"If we want to preserve and protect a great system that needs to improve, we really should be focusing in on various modernization efforts," said State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny).

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Medicaid Expansion
10:53 am
Thu March 7, 2013

No Medicaid Expansion Until PA Governor Meets with Feds

Talks on a possible Medicaid expansion on Pennsylvania appear to depend on a meeting that is not yet on the governor’s schedule.  In the meantime, state lawmakers are bickering over dueling cost estimates and whether to trust a federal funding formula for Medicaid expansion.

Governor Tom Corbett said one of the reasons he is choosing to not expand Medicaid “at this time” is because he’s unsure about relying on the federal government to foot the bill, now and in the future.

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Government & Politics
9:27 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

PA Senators Heap Praise on New DPW Chief

A state Senate hearing offered lawmakers a chance to heap anticipatory praise on the state Department of Public Welfare's brand-new chief.

The chairman of the state Senate Appropriations Committee had to ask the audience to refrain from applause - not a common request during budget hearings.

Nevertheless, lawmakers on the panel found other ways to gush. One called acting secretary Bev Mackereth tremendous. Another said she's a breath of fresh air.

Not Democratic state Senator Larry Farnese of Philadelphia.

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Government & Politics
9:25 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Approves More Money for New Financial System

Pittsburgh Council Members listen as Ravenstahl administration officials brief them on the city's switch to a new electronic financial system.
Credit Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has spent roughly $4 million since 2010 to merge its financial management system with Allegheny County's, and City Council on Wednesday approved $150,000 additional dollars for its new electronic database. Final approval is expected next Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Innovation Performance Manager Chuck Half said when it's implemented, the "JD Edwards" financial system from the software company Oracle, will save Pittsburgh money every time the city cuts a check to a city employee, a vendor, or a pensioner.

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Arts & Culture
9:20 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

125 Year Old Allegheny County Courthouse to Get Facelift

An effort to rehabilitate the Allegheny County Courthouse will include plans to stop leaks that could ruin original artwork.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

With a grand goal of restoring the Allegheny County Courthouse but few details and even less funding, an effort to rehabilitate the 125 year old building was launched Wednesday by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.  The executive has named a committee chock full of current and former elected officials to spearhead the effort.

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Weather
9:14 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Saturn Drops 6 Inches of Snow on Pittsburgh Region

The wet snow associated with winter storm Saturn made for great snowmen.
Credit Russ Lyod / 90.5 WESA

By mid morning Wednesday, the snow had moved out of the Pittsburgh region and most of the city’s streets were treated.  Pittsburgh Public Works crews used 62 trucks overnight and into the morning to clear the blanket of heavy wet snow.   

Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski reminded city residents to be careful when they start to clean their cars, sidewalks and drive ways and asks that home owners not just to drop the snow anywhere.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

The New Girl Visits the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Spring has almost sprung. Each year the National Cherry Blossom Festival brightens the winter blues.
Credit Cordelia / Flickr

One of the must see events of the season is the blooming of the cherry blossoms in our nation’s capital. However, if you plan to see them you’d better act fast. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us what you need to know in order to see the blossoms at their peak.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

What's Next for the Sequester? NPR Business Editor Weighs In

Just how bad have federal budget cuts been since last week, and how bad are they likely to be going forward?
Credit Doby Photography / NPR

The deadline for federal budget cuts, known as the sequester, has come and gone. So what's next? NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax joins us to discuss the impact of the sequestration.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Councilman & Candidate Bill Peduto Makes His Case For Mayor

Councilman Peduto talks about his plans for Pittsburgh.
Credit BillPeduto.com

Last week Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced that he will not run for re-election. Councilman and mayoral candidate Bill Peduto joins us to talk about how he would like to build on Ravenstahl's legacy, what changes need to be made, and how to move the city forward.

Economy & Business
8:49 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

It's a Sweet Year for Maple Syrup

Last year was the worst year ever for sugar content, but this year's maple syrup is back to normal, according to Everett Sechler, owner of the Sechler Sugar Shack in Somerset County.  "We've already made a third of what we made last year.  We're hoping that we do not have an early spring because if it turns to spring, that will speed up the buds in the trees, and the sugar season will be over.  The 10-day forecast looks like it's going to remain cold except for two days, and the trees should perhaps pour the sap out those two days."

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Allegheny County
4:46 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Allegheny County Board of Health OKs Minor Changes to Air Quality Standards

The Allegheny County Board of Health has approved minor changes to ambient air standards and enforcement. Going forward, instead of listing the individual ambient standards, state and federal standards will be referenced.

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AdultBasic
4:31 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

A "Victory for the Working Poor"

A day after a Commonwealth Court judge ruled that the Corbett administration has to spend tobacco settlement proceeds on health care programs such as adultBasic, plantiffs celebrated what they call a victory for the working poor.

AdultBasic, a health insurance plan, launched in 2002 for low-income people earning too much to qualify for Medicaid.  Two years ago, when the Corbett administration cancelled the program, 41,000 people lost their health insurance coverage.

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3 Rivers Quest
3:42 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Water Quality Monitors Wanted

3 Rivers Quest monitors water quality in rivers, tributaries and headwater streams that drain more than 25,000 square miles in five states.  Local watershed groups may apply for grants up to $7000 to help collect samples.  The four geographical regions and those partnering with West Virginia University in the project are the Monongahela (West Virginia Water Research Institute), Upper Ohio (Wheeling Jesuit University), Southern Allegheny (Duquesne University) and Northern Allegheny (Iron Furnace Chapter of Trout Unlimited).

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