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Education
6:40 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Legislator Harshly Critiques State Standardized Tests

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State Senator Jim Brewster (D-McKeesport) is a former mayor with a teaching degree, so he thinks his prior experience provides an interesting take on the expansion of standardized testing in Pennsylvania schools.

From a former mayor’s point of view, he says the tests go beyond evaluating student and teacher proficiency.

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Government
6:39 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Committee Proposes New City Council Districts

A committee using the 2010 Census to redraw the nine Pittsburgh City Council Districts has submitted its final proposal to Council, conceding a large population disparity among some districts in order to maintain two black-majority Council territories.

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Government
6:09 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Pennsylvania Career Coach: New Online Tool

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Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry has rolled out a new online tool aimed at helping students and job seekers make lasting career choices and making sure they get the right training.  

Pennsylvania Career Coach provides information about growth careers, like Marcellus Shale, STEM occupations, and green sector jobs, according to Labor and Industry press secretary Sara Goulet.  

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Arts
12:24 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Grant Street Is A "Great" Street

Pittsburgh’s Grant Street has been recognized as one of the greatest streets in America.

The American Planning Association (APA) designated Grant Street as one of 10 great streets for 2012 under the organization’s Great Places in America program. The program looks for architecture and infrastructure that exemplifies exceptional character while also highlighting the role planning and planners play in communities.

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Local
12:17 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Residents and Business Owners Reflect on East Liberty's Latest Transformation

Once a vibrant commercial district, Pittsburgh's East Liberty businesses began losing ground to suburban malls in the 1950s and 60s. Officials tried to reverse the trend by remaking the community: bulldozing property, reconfiguring traffic patterns, and building high-rise rental units. The changes only accelerated the neighborhood’s deterioration and it was not until the 90s that stakeholders began to slowly turn the tide.

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Local
11:59 am
Wed October 3, 2012

McQueary Files Defamation Suit Against Penn State

A former Penn State graduate assistant who complained he saw former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a young boy on campus and testified at his sex abuse trial sued the university on Tuesday for what he calls defamation and misrepresentation.

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Government
9:29 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Voter ID Advertisements to Continue Despite Injunction

A Commonwealth Court judge ruled Tuesday that the state must put its new voter identification requirement on hold until after the November election, but the judge also told the state to continue advertising the law — an order that opponents say will cause confusion in the general election.

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Government
9:08 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Senate Takes Up Anti-Gang Bill

The Pennsylvania State Senate will vote on HB 1121 Wednesday, according to Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne County) who amended two of his proposals into the original legislation.

The bill would define criminal gang activity, call on the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to toughen penalties to those involved in gangs, and make it illegal to recruit new members into a gang.

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Local
8:35 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Highmark Files Suit to Prevent West Penn Allegheny Health System from Forming New Alliances

Highmark has filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas to prevent West Penn Allegheny Health System from forming alliances with other entities. 

Last year, Highmark said it was purchasing the financially struggling hospital system. On Friday, West Penn Allegheny announced it was breaking ties with Highmark and searching for other fiscal partners because the insurer wanted the health care provider to file for bankruptcy, which ammounted to a breach of contract.

Michael Weinstein, spokesperson for Highmark said that’s not true.

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Local
7:52 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

PA Man Charged with Using Dead Baby's Identity

A Fayette County man used the identity of a baby who died in 1953 to get a second state identification card from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Fifty-nine-year-old Raymond Davis Buck, of Grindstone, didn't immediately return a call for comment Tuesday, nor did his defense attorney.

He's scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday before a district judge in Fayette County on identity theft, records tampering and other charges.

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Government
7:38 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Opinions Abound on Voter ID Ruling

Elected officials and organizations interested in the future of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law are weighing in on Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson’s ruling on a request to force the state to hold off on the implementation of the law.  The judge decided Tuesday that a valid photo ID does not have to be shown at the polls in November but that the law will be in effect for 2013 elections.  The law’s constitutional validity is still to be decided by the courts.

PA Governor Tom Corbett:

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Government
7:27 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Armed Security, Metal Detectors among the Changes Proposed for UPMC Medical Facilities

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala is recommending a number of security upgrades following the March 8, 2012 shooting at Western Psych, and a report released this week by OSHA on the incident. While the shooting was an isolated incident, Zappala said his recommendations extend to all UPMC facilities in Oakland.

“An issue as far as I was concerned, which is not negotiable, was that there would be an armed presence, uniformed or otherwise, on these campuses,” he said.

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Government
2:09 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Judge Halts PA's Voter ID Law

A judge postponed Pennsylvania's controversial voter identification requirement on Tuesday, ordering the state not to enforce it in this year's presidential election.

The decision by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson on the law requiring each voter to show a valid photo ID could be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The law could go into full effect next year, under Simpson's ruling.

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Health
7:35 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Hospitals Face Penalties for High Medicare Readmissions Rates

Starting this month, hospitals will not get as much money from the federal government if they have too many too many Medicare patients readmitted within a month of being discharged.  More than a hundred Pennsylvania hospitals will face this penalty.

Hospitals with high readmission rates for Medicare patients treated for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia who return for care within 30 days of discharge will lose up to one percent of their regular reimbursement from the federal government.

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Government
10:59 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Allegheny County Issues First New Voter IDs through CCAC

Update (Oct. 2, 2012 4:45pm): Following the judge’s ruling to put on hold the implementation of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law until after the November election, Allegheny County suspended the issuance of voter-only IDs at CCAC campuses and Kane Regional Centers. According to Allegheny County spokesperson Amie Downs, any ID’s issued in the first day and a half of the program will remain valid until November of 2017.

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Government
10:03 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Pittsburgh Area Jobless Rate Rises

Unemployment in the seven county Pittsburgh labor market rose two tenths of a percentage point in August.  The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reports the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate for the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) increased to 7.3% in August from July's 7.1%.

In the region, Butler County had the lowest jobless rate at 6.7%, unchanged from the previous month; Fayette County had the highest at 9.4%, up one tenth of a percentage point. Allegheny County's unemployment rate held steady in August at 7.1%.

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Health
7:07 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Rite Aid is Very Different 50 Years Later

The residents of a Pittsburgh area senior high-rise helped to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a Pennsylvania-based company Monday by rolling up their sleeves.  Rite Aid Corporation marked its birthday by giving free flu shots to seniors across the country.

Rite Aid Pharmacy District Manager Brian Bobby vaccinated dozens of elderly residents of Town North Tower in Ross Township. He said the event is an example of how the pharmacist's role is different now than it was fifty years ago.

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Transportation
6:28 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Pittsburgh Airport Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Looks Ahead to the Next 20 Years

A cake shaped like Pittsburgh International Airport greeted visitors Monday as they arrived for a celebration marking the facility’s 20th year. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the economic impact of owning and developing the land upon which the airport sits has resulted in great successes for the county over the last two decades.

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Education
5:37 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Pittsburgh is #5 College Town

Academics are a key factor, but others like quality of life and professional opportunities are also taken into consideration in the American Institute for Economic Research's (AIER) College Destinations Index.  Pittsburgh ranks as the 5th best mid-size college town out of 20 in the nation.

Steven Cunningham, Director of Research and Education for AIER said Pittsburgh is a “good solid area” for college students.

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Arts
7:35 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Bruce Boni on Banned Books

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In recognition of Banned Books Week (9/30-10/6), we talk literary censorship with Bruce Boni of the American Civil Liberties Union of PA.

The following titles are just a few of the hundreds challenged or removed from U.S. schools and libraries in 2011, but you can still find them at your local CLP branch:

 

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Health
7:35 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Today marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Susan B. Komen for the Cure Pittsburgh has planned several events including the 4th annual Paws for the Cure, a dog walk through Hartwood Acres on October 7th, and the Tickled Pink Survivor Luncheon at the Omni William Penn on October 20th, along with other local events. 

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Government
7:35 am
Mon October 1, 2012

New Medicaid Co-Pay

A new Medicaid co-pay will require some parents of disabled children to pay out of pocket for services. While The Department of Public Welfare calls the amount a “fair share” some parents say it will infringe on their ability to provide care to their children.

Parents of some children in Pennsylvania with physical, intellectual and mental disabilities will have a new concern going forward – finding the money to pay for services that up until now, were paid for by the state.

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Science & Technology
7:35 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Human Workers Can Learn From Ants And Bees

How bees, wasps, and ants think, and how that heightens their work efficiency is the focus of a discussion Monday at Carnegie Science Center at 7 p.m.

“The Wisdom Of The Bee: How To Organize A Team When No One Knows What She Is Doing” will show how these swarm insects have one of the most successful workforces on the planet, despite every single worker not knowing all of the information required to normally make a decision.

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Education
7:35 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Chatham University Adds New Sustainability Track

Chatham University is offering a new program that it believes will push the school to the forefront of new business ideology.

The sustainable business track, which will complement programming within the School of Sustainability and the Environment, will attempt to expand students’ business knowledge.

Bruce Rosenthal, Director of the Department of Business and Entrepreneurship at Chatham, said it used to be that businesses only looked at profit margins, but now they look at the three P’s: people, planet, and profit.

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Science & Technology
7:35 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Pitt Engineer Working With Homeland Security On Laser Technology

The Mars Rover Curiosity recently used a high-powered laser beam to blast and analyze a Martian rock. 140 million miles away, an engineer at the University of Pittsburgh is working with the Department of Homeland Security to improve that technology to make Earth safer.

The blasting method used by Curiosity that employs a beam of light is called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), which can detect the composition of soils and rocks without ever touching them.

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