News

Pages

Environment
4:44 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Air Quality Action Day in Late October?

Pittsburghers unfortunately are used to Air Quality Action Days during the warm summer months—but in late October? The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) forecast a code orange Air Quality Action Day for fine particulate matter for today in the Liberty-Clairton area of Allegheny County.

Read more
Environment
8:32 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

State Loan to Make Schenley Park "Great Jewel"

Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park is getting a little renovation that will move stormwater through the park in a more natural way.

State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) announced the approval of a $617,540 low-interest state loan for a stormwater runoff control project in the park.

Frankel, a member of the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy Board, said the project will be completely green.

Read more
Government
8:18 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Lost Your Medicaid Benefits? You Might Get Them Back

On Friday, the Department of Public Welfare will send out around one hundred thousand letters to Medicaid recipients in Pennsylvania who lost their benefits in the past year telling them they might want to consider reapplying.  They might even get some of their debts covered.

Read more
Health
7:38 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Protesters Demand Highmark, West Penn Allegheny Negotiate an Affiliation

Chanting "Back to the table, while you're able!", protesters took to the streets of Pittsburgh on Wednesday to urge Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System to reach an affiliation agreement without going to court.

One day before a court date with Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward, the group of about forty hospital employees, community members and politicians brought a "mock negotiating table" to the doorsteps of local juggernaut health insurer Highmark and the financially ailing WPAHS.

Read more
Education
5:25 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Pocono Mountain School District Appeals Case Banning Christmas Fliers in School

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/xmas fliers wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

Should students in elementary schools be permitted to distribute fliers to their classmates inviting them to a Christmas party at a church?  That question was up for debate in federal court in Pittsburgh today. 

Read more
Government
5:14 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Without Appeal, Mt. Pleasant to Get Gas Fee

The Mount Pleasant Township man who filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has withdrawn his complaint opening the door for the state to send out more than a half million dollars in Marcellus Shale impact fees to the township. Tony Pawlosky had appealed to the commission arguing that the township’s zoning ordinance did not comply with Pennsylvania ACT 13, which regulates gas drilling in the state.

PUC spokesperson Jennifer Kocher said the $511,855.78 check will be sent out within the next 10 days.

Read more
Health
7:35 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Meningitis Cases Top 300; FDA Recommends Checking on Patients Who Received Injections

With a total of 308 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in 17 states, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending all patients who received an injectable medicine from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) be contacted and asked about their health.  So far one Pennsylvanian has contracted the disease.

Nationwide, 23 people have died from fungal meningitis after receiving steroid injections made by NECC.

Read more
Government
11:32 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Pittsburgh Public Schools Wants to be More Competitive, Fiscally Responsible

In a wide-ranging discussion of education Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council members heard about the Pittsburgh Public School District's goal of being more financially frugal and more competitive with its private counterparts.

PPS Executive Director of Strategic Priorities Cate Reed said the district's administration needs a five-year plan that would help the district be more thrifty with waning allocations from the state government.

"We need to embark on that vision, envisioning what a 21st Century educational delivery model looks like in an urban school system," said Reed.

Read more
Environment
10:02 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

New PA Water Policy Concerns Environmentalists

14 Environmental groups concerned over a new policy in Pennsylvania that they say could negativly impact public health have filed suit calling on the Corbett administartion to rescind the policy.

The recent policy change puts Department of Environmental Protection Administrators in charge of reporting water contamination complaints, which environmentalists say will lead to delays in warning the public of water pollution from oil and gas development.

Specifically, DEP administrators will handle complaints related to oil and gas drilling within the state.

Read more
Government
8:17 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Sen. Casey Makes Rare Campaign Stop

Republicans and Democrats alike have been criticizing Pennsylvania’s senior U.S. Senator for his lack of public appearances in the run-up to the November sixth election.  Now, with the election just two weeks away and polls showing an ever-tightening race, Democrat Bob Casey has hit the campaign trail with a stop in Hershey.

Casey met with union workers and later discussed how he contrasts with his Republican opponent, Tom Smith.  He said there is a stark contrast when it comes to Medicare benefits. 

Read more
Government
7:44 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Minority Businesses Want Revisions to City Contracting Practices

Minority contractors told Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday that the city is not doing enough to give women- and minority-owned businesses equal access to city contract opportunities.

The public hearing stemmed from an August report from City Controller Michael Lamb, which found that Pittsburgh's Equal Opportunity Review Commission (EORC) is failing to report exactly how much city money is paid to "Minority Business Enterprise/Women Business Enterprise" (MBE/WBE) companies.

Read more
Government
4:15 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Drowning and Gassing Cats & Dogs Would Be Illegal

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

Legislation prohibiting the use of  drowning and carbon-monoxide gassing to euthanize cats, dogs and other animals in Pennsylvania awaits Governor Corbett's signature. 

State Senator Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) first introduced the bill in March 2011, and again in October 2011 with provisions from House members.   Pennsylvania would be with 20th state to adopt a ban on animal gas chambers and individual gassing or drowning of animals.

Read more
Transportation
4:13 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Allegheny River Locks Services Changing

As part of a national effort to redirect funding from operations to maintenance,  the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh will change the hours and days of operation of several locks on the Allegheny River. Three locks will be restored to 24/7 service and Locks 6 and 7 will be reduced to commercial appointments only.

Given the deteriorating condition of the locks, services are being adjusted based on usage to help reduce costs. Jeff Hawk, Public Affairs Officer for the Corps’ Pittsburgh branch, said there is a direct relationship between funding and lock usage.

Read more
Government
4:12 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

PA Atty. Gen. Candidates Battle over Independence and Experience

It was independence versus experience as the Republican and Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania Attorney General tried to define the race on their own terms in Monday’s debate in Harisburg.  It was the only face-to-face meeting of Republican David Freed and Democrat Kathleen Kane during the campaign.  Libertarian Marakay Rogers was not part of the event.

For Kane, questions inevitably led to claims of independence.  The former Lackawanna County prosecutor said she stands on her own.

Read more
Government
8:35 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Toomey: PA's Lack of Early Voting is Reason for Few Romney Visits

Pennsylvania has been on the sidelines for the last several weeks when it comes to the presidential candidates and their TV advertising dollars.  However, Pennsylvania’s junior U.S. senator says that's because it's too soon to focus on the commonwealth because it doesn’t allow early voting. 

Pat Toomey (R-PA) says he thinks the Romney campaign is watching Pennsylvania very closely, but he suggests the GOP presidential nominee doesn’t yet have to start campaigning in earnest in the commonwealth.  

Read more
Government
8:35 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Local Foundation Funds Efforts So Women Benefit from PA's Health Exchange

A Pittsburgh area foundation want to make sure women benefit from coverage policies in the state health care exchange as well as from job opportunities that will come from establishing the exchange.

The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania is providing a half million dollars to organizations who will then lobby and work with regulators at the state or federal level on the creation of the exchanges which are part of the Affordable Health Care Act.

Read more
Government
8:03 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Pittsburgh Will Argue Monday for Removal from Act 47 Financial Oversight

Pittsburgh is well-prepared to argue next week for its removal from state financial oversight, according to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

At a Monday afternoon meeting in the City Council Chamber, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will hear why the city's administration believes Pittsburgh should be removed from Act 47 fiscal oversight. DCED Secretary Alan Walker will make the final decision on the city's fiscal independence.

Read more
Economy
5:20 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Pittsburgh Gas Prices Dropping, Still 32 Cents Higher Than A Year Ago

Pittsburgh’s retail gasoline prices have fallen 4.2 cents per gallon over the past week, averaging $3.80.  However, that drop is just half that of the national average, which has declines between 9-10 cents per gallon to $3.67 according to PittsburghGasPrices.com.

Gregg Laskoski, a Senior Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy.com, says that the fluctuations in gas prices are usually a matter of timing.

“We are fortunate to be at the time of year when winter blend gasoline is put back into the market… It is a cheaper gasoline to produce because it has fewer additives.”

Read more
Local
4:06 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

One Young World Conclusion and Reaction to Pittsburgh

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

1,300 delegates from 182 countries are departing Pittsburgh for home after the conclusion of the One Young World Summit. Pittsburgh was the first U.S. city to host the event; the previous two were held in Zurich and London.

Read more
Science & Technology
7:35 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Researchers: When Predicting-Go with Your Feelings

Wondering whether the Dow Jones will make a jump in the next week? How about what the weather will be like? One study is saying you should trust your gut.

A research team comprised of professors from the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University has found that when people trust their feelings, they can more accurately predict the outcomes of future events.

Researchers, through eight studies, asked people to predict outcomes including the 2008 Democratic Presidential nominee, the score of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the winner of “American Idol.”

Read more
Government
7:35 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Research Center Denounces New State Tax Credit Proposal

The left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PennBPC) is criticizing a new tax credit proposal passed out of the state legislature last week, saying it allows companies to "pocket" income tax withholdings of new employees with little accountability.

House Bill 2626 would create the "Promoting Employment across Pennsylvania" (PEP) program. The initiative is meant to spur job creation by allowing qualifying companies to keep new employees' income tax withholdings, which normally would go to the state.

Read more
Government
7:35 am
Mon October 22, 2012

PA Vehicle Code Gets a Size Update

Pending changes to the state’s vehicle code would allow your vehicle to be a foot-and-a-half wider, as long as it’s a piece of farm equipment.

The state’s vehicle code is about to receive the first husbandry-related updates it’s had in decades – allowing farming equipment on the roads to be up to 16 feet wide. Changes to the vehicle code would also make it legal to drive such equipment longer distances – trucks and other larger vehicles could go as far as 50 miles on the open road, up from just 25 miles under the old code.

Read more
Government
7:35 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Voter ID Causes Absentee Voting Problems

Most of the provisions of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law have been blocked for the November election, but what’s left is creating headaches for some voters trying to get absentee ballots.

Before the voter ID law was passed, voters had only to provide name, address, and birth date to get their absentee ballots. Now, voters must provide either their driver license number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

Read more
Government
7:35 am
Mon October 22, 2012

One Young World Leaves Pittsburgh

More than 1,200 young adults are heading home today after spending the last four days in Pittsburgh searching for solutions to some of the world’s most perplexing problems.  But local organizers wanted to make sure the One Young World delegates also had plenty of time to learn about the city. 

After returning to Pittsburgh from the 2011 One Young World Summit in Zurich Switzerland where she served as a delegate, Leigh Halverson decided that when the 2012 summit came to Pittsburgh, local residents needed to have more opportunities to engage one-on-one with the delegates.

Read more
Government
11:04 am
Sun October 21, 2012

Top 10 Campaign Givers in PA hit $9 Million

Ten wealthy Pennsylvanians, including a husband supporting his wife for political office and a gay man seeking equality, contributed nearly $9 million to their favorite candidates and issues since 2011.

PublicSource, working with the Investigative News Network, identified the 10 biggest campaign contributors in the state using state and federal campaign databases.

In Pennsylvania, those numbers can lag by months because they are received as written reports and entered by hand. Most states receive reports of campaign contributions electronically.

Read more

Pages