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Government & Politics
6:05 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Human Trafficking Awareness a Goal In PA

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world after drug trafficking.

Senator Daylin Leach (D-PA) has been at the forefront of pushing for legislation aimed at combating human trafficking.  Leach is supportinbg 2012's House Bill 235, which in his words will “save thousands of lives in our state and bring criminal perpetrators to justice.”  However, that measure was not passed and would have to be reintroduced in the 2013-14 legislative session

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Government & Politics
2:24 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Casey Not Pleased With The Length Of Farm Bill Extension

Pennsylvania’s Senior U-S Senator says he hopes the stop gap extension of the country’s agricultural and farming policy gets a longer-term fix soon, and that a lot of work lies ahead to solidify agricultural and farming policy for the next five years

Bob Casey (D-PA) sounded the alarm loudly before the New Year, when it looked like the country wouldn’t get a new five-year farm bill, and as one consequence, would see milk prices skyrocket.

A new farm bill was passed in the Senate, but not in the House.

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Science & Technology
1:34 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

PA Soldiers Practice in Virtual World

The Pennsylvania National Guard’s training center at Fort Indiantown Gap is getting a new $500,000 virtual training device that allows its soldiers to be completely immersed in a virtual battlefield.

During a demonstration at the Lebanon County facility, soldiers wear helmets and virtual reality goggles. Their weapons are replicas, and they have nodules all over their bodies corresponding to their virtual avatar.

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Government & Politics
12:41 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Lottery Deadline Extended, Talks Continue

The Corbett administration has once again delayed a decision on whether to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery until Friday, January 11. The one-day extension of the bid by Camelot Global Services will allow talks to continue between the British-based company and the Corbett administration for an even longer-term delay.

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Government & Politics
9:28 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Jerry Sandusky's Lawyers Argue For New Trial

Jerry Sandusky emerged from prison to attend a hearing 200 miles away at which his lawyers argued Thursday he deserves a new trial on child molestation charges because they didn't have enough time to prepare for the first one.

The 68-year-old former Penn State assistant coach played no active role in the proceedings, but briefly greeted his wife and supporters beforehand.

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Government & Politics
8:46 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Homeowners Might Get Another Chance to Challenge Assessments

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has proposed legislation that would allow property owners to appeal real estate values this year.

The county’s administrative code is currently written so that annual appeals are allowed, except for years when assessment numbers go into effect, such as this year.

Fitzgerald said it’s a matter of keeping the code constant.

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Arts & Culture
8:41 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Stephen Foster's Life Remembered in Lawrenceville

The life of the country’s first professional songwriter will be remembered when historians, musicians and others gather at the Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville Friday.  The group will mark the impact that Pittsburgh-native Stephen Foster has had on the songs we hear today and the music industry in general.

Foster died 149 years ago Jan 13th.  He was 37 years old at the time, which University of Pittsburgh Center for American Music Director Deane Root thinks is remarkable given the impact he had on the world.

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Government & Politics
7:55 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

New Trial in Jordan Miles' Suit Set For July 8

Jordan Miles will have another day in court--three-and-a-half years after an encounter with police left his face swollen and bruised.  

The young African American man from Homewood, who claims he was wrongly beaten by three plainclothes white Pittsburgh police officers in January 2010, will have a new trial on two of his three civil rights claims starting July 8.

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Government & Politics
7:55 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

New Trial in Jordan Miles' Suit Set For July 8

Jordan Miles will have another day in court--three-and-a-half years after an encounter with police left his face swollen and bruised.  

The young African American man from Homewood, who claims he was wrongly beaten by three plainclothes white Pittsburgh police officers in January 2010, will have a new trial on two of his three civil rights claims starting July 8.

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Transportation
7:36 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

AAA East Central Releases List of 2013 Legislative Priorities

A recent uptick in in highway deaths has prompted AAA to continue to work with Pennsylvania legislators on tighter driver safety laws. That includes bans on texting while driving, which is already on the books in the commonwealth, primary seat belt laws and ways to increase teen driver safety.

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Education & Learning
5:58 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

CCAC Boyce Campus to Close Over the Weekend for Emergency Electrical Work

The Community College of Allegheny County Boyce campus in Monroeville will be closed from Friday at 6pm through Sunday, while crews work to update transformers.

“There are a number of transformers feeding the campus that are definitely showing their age and have been causing some power fluctuations at the facitlity,” said CCAC Spokesman David Hoovler, “workers will be replacing the faulty transformers and looking for any additional equipment that may be damaged and contributing to some of the problems.”

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Science & Technology
11:05 am
Thu January 10, 2013

CMU Gathering Funds to Construct New Research Building

Carnegie Mellon University is issuing a large bond and accepting gifts from private donors to pay for a $62 million research facility to be constructed on campus over the next few years.

The university hopes to open the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall in 2015 with office and lab space for nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, and energy research.

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Economy & Business
11:03 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Young Bucks Carry on Traditions at the PA Farm Show

The Pennsylvania Farm Show features more than 6,000 animals and many of them were reared and are being exhibited by people not long out of high school.  For many visitors to the farm show, meeting the newest crop of farmers is as exciting as checking out their animals.

Jon Kubala, a 21-year-old from Adams County, sits calmly on the hindquarters of a huge Texas longhorn steer.  It only looks dangerous to an outsider but not to the human who knows the animal best.

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Environment & Energy
9:07 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Tropical Plants Display at Phipps During Cold Months

One way to take the chill off a January in Pittsburgh is to think tropical--as in a tropical plant exhibit.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is gearing up to open its Orchid and Bonsai Show Saturday.

Georgia Wahl, orchid manager at Phipps, said the display is appealing in the wintertime because orchids come in "endless" colors, shades, and hues.

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Environment & Energy
9:50 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Allegheny County Air Rules Weakened

The ever yo-yoing Allegheny County Health Department Board changed toxic air guidelines again on Wednesday.

In a 6-0 vote with two abstentions, the board approved an amendment to shrink the “public exposure boundary,” or the area where public health risk is measured. The change shifts the boundary from the industry’s property line to the nearest habitable structure.  The board had voted in November 7-1 in favor of the tighter rules.

Ben Avon Councilman Michael Bett argued against relaxed regulations.

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Government & Politics
9:34 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Allegheny County Homeowners File Suit Against Appeals Process

A group of homeowners in Allegheny County has filed suit against the county alleging that the hearing officers presiding over some property assessment appeals did not properly apply the law when making judgments.

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Government & Politics
9:00 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

State Prison Closures Will Eliminate Hundreds of Local Jobs

The Corbett administration's plan to close two western Pennsylvania prisons would eliminate nearly 900 jobs from Westmoreland and Cambria Counties.

All of the employees at the two prisons will be offered new positions with the Corrections Department at other facilities, including the new Centre County prison that will essentially replace the two local penitentiaries. New positions may also be available at an unopened 300-bed facility in Indiana County, which could also accept some of the 2,000 inmates who would be transferred after this spring's closures.

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Education & Learning
7:43 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Free GED Program for Pittsburghers

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More than 1.6 million people in Pennsylvania do not have a high school diploma or equivalent degree.  A free program being offered by the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and Everest Institute-Pittsburgh aims to change that statistic.  

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Transportation
7:43 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Slippery Conditions Abound North of Pittsburgh

Police have been warning motorists to stay off the roads or use extreme caution in the suburbs and counties north of Pittsburgh, where rain is freezing on roadways despite above-freezing air temperatures.

The National Weather Service says the icy spots are developing because the ground remains cold enough from a recent cold spell.

State police in Butler, 30 miles north of the city, issued a plea for people to stay off the roads temporarily, and police in Punxsutawney, 60 miles northeast of the city, report they're dealing with multiple crashes.

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Government & Politics
4:02 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Dept. of Corrections to Shift Western PA Prisons

The Department of Corrections says it will close two state prisons in western Pennsylvania and open a new one in a move to cut costs.

Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said Wednesday the move will mean savings of $23 million.

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Government & Politics
11:03 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Union Offers Counter-Bid For PA Lottery

The union representing some of the state Lottery’s employees has offered its own response to counter a bid by a Britain-based company looking to privatize the program.

The Corbett administration has maintained Lottery profits, which funds senior programs, are not growing in tandem with the state’s booming senior population.

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Science & Technology
9:12 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Helium Shortage Affecting Party Balloon Business as well as Medicine and Science

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When asked what comes to mind when the word “helium” is uttered, everyone I asked had the same answer – balloons, second only to references of the “chipmunk voice” sucking on the gas gives you. Balloons and silly voices are, so far, the two things being hit hardest by the helium shortage. Rhonda Bastolla is the owner of Odd and Unique Furnishings in Homestead, which sells helium balloons.

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Education & Learning
8:12 am
Wed January 9, 2013

CCAC Uses Grant to Get Students Their Degree Faster

The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is using a developmental grant from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to design new ways to help students finish college in three years.

The grant, which is less than $10 thousand, is a part of the Community College Roadmap Project, which helps community colleges create proactive programs for academic support.

Mary Frances Archey, Vice President for Student Success and Completion at CCAC, said the money will be used in three areas to promote academic progress.

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Government & Politics
9:44 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Buncher Company Drops $50M Public Subsidy Request for Strip District Project

The Buncher Company has dropped its request for a large public subsidy to help it build a new development in Pittsburgh's Strip District. Buncher gave up on the $50 million financing deal after months of holdup in Pittsburgh City Council.

Councilman Patrick Dowd said he held up the legislation for 28 consecutive weeks because he wanted more details on how Buncher would spend the $50 million dollars in “Tax Increment Financing” (TIF) funding.

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Economy & Business
8:48 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

$1.2M Low Interest Loan Heads to Westmoreland County

The Regional Industrial Development Council (R.I.D.C.) is hopeful a new 1.24 million dollar loan from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development will help move the nearly empty former Sony plant in Westmoreland County back to full capacity. 

The funds come with a 1.5 percent interest rate and R.I.D.C President Don Smith said it will be used to build out another 26,000 square feet of space for Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), which wants to expand its operations. 

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