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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Government
11:57 pm
Sat October 20, 2012

Ryan Touts Coal, Assaults Obama Energy Plan

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of about 500 people at a commercial hanger near the Pittsburgh International Airport Saturday, saying the country couldn't afford "four more years" of the Barack Obama administration's energy policies.  The Congressman repeatedly mentioned the importance of coal mining during the event in an effort to support his point.

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Government
12:53 pm
Sat October 20, 2012

New Voter ID Suit Asks State to Stop Spreading Misinformation

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a motion asking the court to order the state to stop spreading what the ACLU believes are misleading messages over whether voters must show photo identification on Election Day.  The motion also calls for the state to clearly broadcast the message that a photo ID isn't required.

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Transportation
1:07 am
Sat October 20, 2012

Expect 2 Hour Delays for Squirrel Hill Tunnel Closures... Again

UPDATE: This story was originally published Oct 11th.  The second weekend of work began Friday night.  The detours are once again in place and the state is warning that delays could grow throughout the day.

ORIGINAL POST:The inbound lanes of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel are closing the next two consecutive weekends in order to complete work that raises the ceiling.  PennDOT spokesman, Jim Struzzi, said to expect significant delays during the closures starting at 9 p.m. on Friday through 5 a.m. Sunday on October 12-15th and 19-22nd.

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Veterans Day Parade
9:29 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Veterans Day Parade Gets New Route and Date

The 2012 Veterans is year’s parade is being moved up a day and it will take a slightly different path.  The parade will step off the corner of Liberty Avs. and Grant street Saturday Nov. 10th at 10:30 and finish at Point Park in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Tony Filardi, chairman of the parade since 1990, said the change is designed to bring in more spectators. He said the parade usually has a large number of participants, but few people observing.

“And this year we’re hoping to stop that and get more people watching this parade,” said Filardi.

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Arts
8:03 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Downtown Partnership Offers Party for One Young World Participants

A night of music, bocce, and food awaits attendees of One Young World as they leave the David L. Lawrence Convention Center tonight.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) is organizing the One Young World Welcome Exchange.

“We have a beautiful downtown. I was lucky enough to get to go to the welcome ceremony,” said PDP President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup. “What they were saying was ‘What’s your initial reaction?’ ‘Everyone in Pittsburgh is super-friendly; your city’s beautiful and very clean.’ And those are incredible first impressions to have.”

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Arts
7:52 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Home Dinners Will Give One Young World Delegates A Taste Of America

In a city known for its love of food, international delegates taking part in the One Young World Summit this weekend will attend “home dinners” throughout Pittsburgh. The dinners will provide the young adults with a taste of authentic American cuisine and hospitality.  Some of the dinners will be at private homes, others at institutions such as Phipps Conservatory and the University of Pittsburgh.

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Government
7:51 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Mayor Ravenstahl Supports National Immigration Reform

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl signed a pledge Friday saying he supports national immigration reform.

The mayor said the reforms would increase the tax base, increase business and add diversity to the city.  Ravenstahl signed the pledge at a meeting of the nonprofit group Vibrant Pittsburgh, which believes "a more diverse and talented workforce means a more vibrant future for the Pittsburgh region meeting."

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Economy
7:41 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Pennsylvania Unemployment Up Slightly in September

Pennsylvania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed to 8.2% in September, up one-tenth of a percentage point from the August rate of 8.1%.  Resident employment was up 23,000 to 5,974,000, and the number of unemployed residents was up 5,000 to 530,000. Pennsylvania’s labor force was 130,000 above its September 2011 level.

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Government
7:32 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

ALCOSAN Told by Ratepayers to Go Green

A long line of speakers formed inside the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) boardroom this morning as ratepayers waited their turn to ask the authority’s executive director to find a “greener” solution to the region’s sewage overflow problems.  Earlier this year ALCOSAN released a draft wet weather plan that would, when implemented, end sewage overflows during heavy rains.

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Government
5:25 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

One Young World Mural Sends Snapshot to the Future

When the hundreds of teens and twenty-somethings in Pittsburgh for the One Young World Summit head for home Monday, more than just money will be left behind.  A mural celebrating the event has been installed on a building at the corner of Market Street and the Boulevard of the Allies in downtown Pittsburgh. 

Kyle Hollbrook is the artist behind the mural.  He says he and his organization, Moving the Lives of Kids, jumped at the chance to do the work. He approached the work with the idea of capturing the event as a snapshot in time.

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Government
11:29 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Sandusky Asks for Overturn of Convictons

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky asked a judge on Thursday to overturn his child sexual abuse convictions and grant him a new trial, claiming his lawyers lacked sufficient time to prepare and the statute of limitations for some charges had expired.

Sandusky's lawyers made the filing at the courthouse in Bellefonte where he was sentenced two weeks ago to 30 to 60 years in prison after being convicted of abusing 10 boys, some on Penn State's campus in State College.

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Government
11:23 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Legislature Acts On Juvenile Sentencing; Not on Transportation, Charter Schools

Pennsylvania lawmakers have ended the 2011-12 legislative session and won't return to vote on any bills after the November 6 election.  The House and Senate gave approval to several bills but took no final action on many others including charter school reform, funding for special education, and property tax reform. 

Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) said it was ridiculous that the legislature had to rush to get things done when there are so many days left in the year.

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Education
9:35 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Education Expert Gives Advice on Teaching Teachers

Dr. Sonia Nieto, professor of language, literacy, and culture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said teachers need to be more aware of their students’ communities.

Nieto is the author of four books used to prepare teachers for the classroom. She was at Duquesne University today to speak with School of Education faculty and students on how to tackle teaching challenges and best teach the next generation of educators.

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Government
7:15 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

State Senate Goes After Go Between Gun Buyers

The state Senate has unanimously passed legislation that makes it a crime to buy guns for people who cannot legally obtain them, a practice known as "straw purchasing."

House Bill 898 would create a five to ten year sentence for anyone who has been convicted previously of making a “straw purchase.” The bill now heads to the governor's desk.

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Education
7:10 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Afterschool Programs Celebrated

A nationwide effort to leave the “Lights on Afterschool” is finding a home today in southwestern Pennsylvania.   The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network is working with 200 programs across the state to sponsor rallies that will include an estimated 15,000 participants.

The goal of the day is not only  to offer some special activities for students participating in afterschool programing, but also to bring more attention to the programs themselves and the impact they have on the community.

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Environment
7:09 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Deer Must Be Processed Within Management Area

In reaction to the state’s first confirmed case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a deer, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is putting tight controls on hunters within parts of Adams and York Counties [PDF map].

CWD was found in a deer that spent its entire life in captivity, but game officials are taking steps to monitor the wild population in the area while doing everything it can to make sure the deadly disease does not spread.

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Education
5:20 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Elected Officials Asked to Commit on Education, Transportation Goals

More than 1,000 people are expected to gather this evening in Pittsburgh to call on elected officials to publicly commit to policy goals and outcomes.  Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Networks (PIIN) will address topics ranging from funding for education to next month's election during its annual "public action" event "Fire of Faith: Rekindling Democracy and Community."

Jonathan Mayo, Vice President of PIIN, said although the group is asking for support from elected officials, it will have to be a community effort to accomplish certain goals.

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Government
3:24 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Affordable Care Act Requirement Will Not be Met in PA

A state-run health insurance exchange is unlikely to be ready for a scheduled January 2014 rollout, Pennsylvania's top insurance regulator said Wednesday.

Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine said development of the online exchange — a key element of the federal Affordable Care Act — has stalled because too many questions about its cost and other operational details remain unanswered by the federal government.

"We want to make smart, informed decisions for Pennsylvanians," he said "We're not going to rush headlong into this and make poor choices."

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Government
9:38 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Lethal Injections Could Be Blocked In Pennsylvania If Witnesses Not Allowed Full Access

A federal judge is considering whether to grant a request to block executions in Pennsylvania unless the state agrees to provide full access to witnesses. Two newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Harrisburg Patriot-News, have challenged the commonwealth’s policy of shielding parts of the execution process.

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Government
8:15 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Act 13 and Zoning Goes Before State Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday over challenges to a new law that regulates the state's booming natural gas industry.

Representatives of seven municipalities said the law takes away all power to control gas drilling operations through local zoning.

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