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Speaking Volumes
6:57 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Speaking Volumes: Eric Shiner

Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner loves memoirs, manga, and the books of John Waters.
Credit Andy Warhol Museum

Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner's reading interests are eclectic in a way that Andy would surely appreciate.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:31 pm
Sat February 23, 2013

Mike Doyle on the Sequestration Deadline

U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle talks about how the looming sequestration deadline could impact the country.
Credit US House of Representatives

Listen to the interview with Congressman Mike Doyle

Congress must enact legislation every year to provide funding for the operations of the federal government. Unfortunately, Congress is deeply divided over different philosophies about the role of the federal government. The infamous across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration are set to take effect March 1st. Could legislators be forced to finally come up with a compromise? U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle weighs in.

Mass Transit
11:09 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Conservative Think Tank: Corbett's Transportation Numbers Don't Add Up

When Governor Corbett released his proposed 2013-14 budget of $28.4 billion this month, it included a transportation investment plan.

The governor said that his five year initiative would total more than $5.3 billion--roughly an additional $250 million per year for mass transit in Pennsylvania.

But Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute, a conservative think tank, said the increased amounts don't add up.

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Joan Orie Melvin
2:57 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Melvin Convicted

Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has been convicted of six of seven campaign corruption charges while her sister Janine Orie has been convicted of the six counts she faced.

Janine Orie was an administrative assistant to Melvin.

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PA State Police
11:34 am
Thu February 21, 2013

State Police Face Shortages in Wake Of Municipal Budget Cuts

PA State Police fight for more funding to add troopers to patrol municipalities.
Credit Sean M. Flynn/Flickr

The increasing reliance on the Pennsylvania State Police isn’t letting up any time soon, in spite of the governor’s plan to put another 380 troopers on patrol.

The head of the State Police is voicing concern about the growing number of municipalities depending on the agency for their police coverage. As communities look to cut costs by shrinking their police departments, the State Police are left to pick up the slack.

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Budget Reaction
10:53 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Sen. Teplitz: "Watchdog" Agencies Could Be "Neutered" By Corbett's Budget

A Dauphin County State Senator is worried the commonwealth's “watchdog” agencies won’t be able to perform their duties if Governor Tom Corbett’s new $28.5 billion budget passes.

The Governor has called for level funding for the Auditor General ($40,777,000) and Attorney General ($78,121,000), and a $16,607,000 (1.5 percent) cut to the Treasurer’s office. The State Ethics Commission would also see level funding, and The Office of Open Records would get a small spending increase.

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Water Main Breaks
10:47 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Anatomy of a Water Main Break

A water main break rages under the South Millvale Bridge in Bloomfield in January.
Credit Photo courtesy of PWSA

You know it's winter in Pittsburgh when your car is getting beat up by pot-holes, the streets are chalky with salt, and water main breaks proliferate. But what exactly is going on below the pavement?

Clogged pipes, flooded basements and sheets of ice on roadways are some of the visible signs of water main breaks. But many leaks and breaks go undetected - including sewer line breaks which filter through the soil and along side the pipes for months or years.

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Public Safety
10:32 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Harper Out as Pittsburgh Police Chief

Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper resigned from his post late Wednesday afternoon after Mayor Luke Ravenstahl learned some confidential information from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding their investigation into Harper.  Ravensthal asked Harper to leave – and he did.

“It’s a sad day and one that has been tough for a lot of people but we’ll pick up the pieces and we’ll move on,” said Ravensthal on Wednesday evening speaking to a roomful of reporters.

Ravenstahl wouldn’t say what information he learned but he said it was enough.

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Penn State Fines
9:47 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Corbett Signs Bill to Keep NCAA Fines Against Penn State in PA

Gov. Corbett has signed legislation that would require all proceeds from the 60 million dollars in NCAA fines paid by Penn State to be used exclusively in Pennsylvania.

Penn State agreed to pay the fines levied by the NCAA as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case. 

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Orie Melvin Trial
3:21 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Orie Melvin Jury Asks Judge Question

The jury hearing the case against suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister, Janine Orie, asked the judge Wednesday to explain why the justice was singled out in one count in the campaign corruption trial.

The question came on the third day of deliberations.

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Economy & Business
1:27 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

New Building Permits Increase

A Census Bureau report has revealed that new, private, residential building permits in the Pittsburgh region totaled 3,717 in 2012—800 more than in 2011, or an increase of 20%.  

Doug Heuck, Director of PittsburghTODAY in Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research, says the numbers are a good sign that housing activity, one of the most important sectors of the regional economy, is picking up.

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Housing
10:44 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Federal Housing Regulators Clarify Anti-Discrimination Policy

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a new rule regarding the enforcement of the Federal Fair Housing Act and instances of discriminatory impact.

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Bruce Dixon
9:48 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Former Allegheny County Health Director Bruce Dixon Dead at 74

Former Allegheny County Health Department Director Bruce Dixon died early Wednesday morning according to the County Medical Examiner’s office.  The death is listed as being related to a blood infection from a sudden inflammation of his gallbladder, which caused him to be hospitalized on Tuesday.

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Marcellus Shale
9:25 am
Wed February 20, 2013

County OK's Drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport

Land owned by the Allegheny County Airport Authority could soon host oil and gas drilling pads.
Credit Corey Seeman/Flickr

The Allegheny County Council has given approval to a contract to drill for natural gas and oil at Pittsburgh International Airport.  Council voted 9-4 with one abstention Tuesday night to approve the contract with Consol Energy Inc.

The deal comes with a $50 million up front signing bonus.  Once Consol starts drilling it will give the county 18% of the revenue generated by production at the site.  It has been estimated that could amount to as much as $450 million over the next 20 years.

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Health
4:12 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

National Black Women’s Health Advocate: Pittsburgh Must Improve Womens’ Health, Education

New Voices Pittsburgh's La'Tasha Mayes (left) and President and CEO of the Black Women's Health Imperative Eleanor Hinton Hoytt
Credit Deanna Garcia/90.5 WESA News

February is Black History Month, March is Women’s History Month, and in the City of Pittsburgh February 15th through March 15th is Women of Color HERstory Month.

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Environment & Energy
3:20 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

DEP’s “Falcon Cam” is Back!

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is streaming a webcast of the peregrine falcon nest on its Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.
Credit PA Dept of Environmental Protection

For those of you missing the Wisconsin recall cam, the webcam that gave thousands of people an inside look into the life of bureaucrats, the Pennsylvania DEP’s “falcon cam” might just catch your attention with nesting falcons.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today launched its annual 24-hour a day webcast of the peregrine falcon nest on its Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.

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Developing
3:20 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Hearings Begin on PA's $28.48B Budget

Two weeks after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his $28.4 billion dollar budget proposal, state lawmakers are settling in for what could be a fight. Three weeks of House and Senate budget hearings began Tuesday in Harrisburg. 

Throughout the hearings, agency secretaries sit before the two chambers' appropriations committees to answer questions about their budgets.

Senator Jim Ferlo (D- Allegheny County) quickly set the tone for the hearings in his questioning of PA Budget Secretary Charles Zogby. 

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Marcellus Shale
1:46 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Long-term Marcellus Shale Study Underway

Geisinger Health System is using a $1 million grant to study the impact Marcellus Shale drilling has on people's health.
Credit Ari Moore / Flickr

Geisinger Health System is using a $1 million grant to study the impact Marcellus Shale drilling has on people's health.

The grant from the Degenstein Foundation will go towards building a data warehouse that will be home to healthcare, drilling, and environmental data needed for the project.

Stephen Sellers, Administrative Director of the initiative, said the project will take 20 to 30 years. He said they’re divided into 5-year phases and the grant will go towards the first.

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Environment & Energy
7:54 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Activists Lock Selves to Fence, Blocking Access to Pipeline Work in Pike County PA

A group of Pike County residents are spending President’s Day locked to a gate in the Delaware State Forest. The gate is used by pipeline workers clear cutting trees for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline northeast upgrade construction. The new Loop 323 will stretch from Milford, PA to New Jersey. Milford resident Alex Lotorto is one of the activists locked to the fence, because, he said, the impact of the pipeline will be detrimental to the area’s economy.

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Government & Politics
7:12 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Mayor Ravenstahl Hires Former DA to Probe Police Policies

As mayoral opponents and others increase their calls for the removal of Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Monday he has hired former Washington County District Attorney Steven M. Toprani to lead the City’s independent review of “Pittsburgh Bureau of Police policies and procedures related to officers who hold other jobs or own businesses not regulated by the Police Bureau.”

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Education & Learning
4:52 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

W&J College Unveils New Presidential Walking Tour

Washington & Jefferson College is unveiling a unique way to celebrate and honor past American Presidents that have spoken, stayed, or visited Washington, PA.

Professors Jennifer Harding and Thomas Mainwaring developed a walking presidential tour which offers a historical look at the connection between fifteen Presidents and the City of Washington.

She originally discovered that there had been several Presidents that had visited this city of nearly 14,000 (current population) because she was teaching the class “The American Presidency in Fact, Fiction, & Film.”

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Government & Politics
4:34 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Proposed Law Would Erase More Offenses from Criminal Records

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/Expungement Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

A criminal record is something that can follow a person forever, unless the infraction is expunged.  Currently, a conviction can only be expunged for someone if it's a summary offense and the individual has not been arrested in the succeeding five years.

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Environment & Energy
2:48 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Activists Lock Selves to Fence, Blocking Access to Pipeline Work in Pike County

Milford, PA resident Alex Lotorto and Vernon, NJ resident Allison Petryk locked themselves to an access road entry gate in an effort to halt clear cutting efforts.
Credit http://notennesseepipeline.blogspot.com/

A group of Pike County residents are spending President’s Day locked to a gate through Delaware State Forest.

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Government & Politics
2:24 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Mayor Ravenstahl Hires Former DA to Probe Police Policies

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has tapped a former District Attorney from Washington County to review police policies when it comes to officers working jobs outside of their duties on the force.
Credit Noah Brode/90.5 WESA

As mayoral opponents and others increase their calls for the removal of Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Monday he has hired former Washington County District Attorney Steven M. Toprani to lead the City’s independent review of “Pittsburgh Bureau of Police policies and procedures related to officers who hold other jobs or own businesses not regulated by the Police Bureau.”

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Health
1:27 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Penn State 'Thon' Raises Record $12.37M

A 46-hour, no-sitting-or-sleeping-allowed dance marathon at Penn State raised more than $12.37 million for pediatric cancer research and care, shattering last year's record-breaking total by nearly $1.7 million.

The announcement delivered by student organizers to more than 700 dancers and thousands of volunteers, along with cancer patients and their families, concluded the weekend-long IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon at 4 p.m. Sunday.

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