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Government
7:35 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Reapportionment Commission to Consider School Board Election Districts

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A panel charged with redrawing the boundaries for the nine board seats for the Pittsburgh Public Schools district will get public input this evening.  The reapportionment commission appointed by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City Council and Mt. Oliver will use 2010 U.S. Census information to determine what if any changes will be made. 

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Government
8:35 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Rendell Insists Pennsylvania is Still Swing State

Some pundits have already written off Pennsylvania as a swing state, saying the state will easily go for President Barack Obama this election. However, former Governor Ed Rendell is pushing against that tide.

Rendell is using every public appearance he can to warn Obama supporters that Pennsylvania could still swing Republican and go for Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential election. As Rendell advises against complacency, he said the Obama campaign has given him some push-back.

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Government
8:16 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Audit Finds Compliance in Reassessment Contracts – But Says Bar Was Set Too Low

The office of the Allegheny County Controller has been examining the recent property reassessment process for the past four months. Controller Chelsa Wagner said the office found Tyler Technologies, which was the firm contracted to do the reassessments, technically complied with the terms of the contract, but Wagner added, the contract imposed a very low standard of accountability on Tyler.

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Government
5:32 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Foundation Sues to Remove Ten Commandments from Valley High School

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has filed a federal lawsuit against New Kensington-Arnold School District, seeking the removal of a large stone monument depicting the Ten Commandments outside the school's main entrance.

FFRF co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said her group first asked the district to remove the six-foot-tall monument in March, at the request of local families. Gaylor said the letter cited both the First Amendment to the Constitution and a 1980 Supreme Court ruling that prohibited posting the Commandments within high schools.

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Health
10:38 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Watchdog Finds Insurance Coverage Lacking in PA

A new study looking to build a baseline for future evaluations of the federal Affordable Care Act has found some deficiencies in Pennsylvania that at least one group feels need to be improved. 

“Some of the goals of the health care reform law are to provide insurance to more people and basically make the health care system more accessible to people,” said Pennsylvania Partnership for Children Spokesperson Michael Race.  “We wanted to find a way to measure the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, as its implemented, in reaching children and in insuring children.”

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Local
10:35 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Roethlisberger Shines as Steelers Rip Jets 27-10

Showing complete mastery of his new offensive coordinator's complex playbook, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback picked apart the New York Jets in a 27-10 on Sunday that doubled as a reality check for both teams.

Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 of 31 passes for 275 yards and two scores as Pittsburgh (1-1) flattened the Jets (1-1) in the second half.

"Ben is one of the top in the game," said Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace, whose leaping 37-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter broke it open. "I'll ride with him against anybody."

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Government
7:35 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Service Authorities Can No Longer Transfer Money To Municipalities

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Pennsylvania’s municipalities are going to have a harder time getting a little help from their friends under a new state law. Municipal authorities, who provide services like maintaining water lines and sewer systems, are no longer allowed to transfer money to assist the municipalities that created them.

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Government
7:35 am
Mon September 17, 2012

New Welfare Regulations, Or Lack Thereof

A state program providing monthly cash grants to the poor has been shuttered for just more than a month, but welfare advocates are urging for its restoration.

The state's General Assistance program provided roughly 200 dollars a month to very low-income clients, some of whom were unemployed, sick, disabled, or were recovering addicts or domestic abuse victims.

Republican Representative Gene DiGirolamo of Bucks County says he’d like to see General Assistance restored, if only in part.

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Economy
7:35 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Gaming Report On Diversity, Donations And Jobs

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board says diversity hiring is rising at the 13 casinos across the state.

The board's annual Diversity Report indicates a year-to-year progression in diversity hiring.  Director of Diversity Mozelle Daniels said casinos have done an excellent job of minority hiring.

“This year we’re at 29.7 percent, or I should say 30 percent, last year we were at 25.4, and [in 2010] we were at 17 percent,” Daniels said.

While goals, or quotas, are illegal to set Daniels said, the casinos wouldn’t need them.

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Arts
7:35 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Chuck Kinder

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Science & Technology
7:35 am
Mon September 17, 2012

New Business Partnership Recycling Plastic Liners From Marcellus Drilling Sites

One of the "byproducts" of the Marcellus Shale gas drilling industry is tons and tons of used well pad liners.  Now two companies have begun collecting and recycling the plastic liners from drilling sites throughout the Marcellus region.

WellSpring Environmental Services in Orwigsburg, PA and Ultra-Poly Corporation in Portland, PA hope to take at least 20 million pounds of plastic per year out of the waste stream.

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Government
10:35 am
Sun September 16, 2012

ACLU Launches “Let Me Vote” Campaign

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is introducing new tools and information on its website so voters can be sure the ID they’re bringing to the polls this November is the right one, according to the ACLU.

Associate Director Sara Mullen said they are worried about the misinformation people are hearing about voter ID requirements. She said many believe they need a birth certificate to get a PennDOT ID.

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Local
3:35 pm
Sat September 15, 2012

Penn State Trustees Promise Close Look at Freeh Changes

Penn State trustees on Friday promised to move forward with a detailed evaluation of changes recommended by former FBI director Louis Freeh in response to the child sex-abuse scandal that tarnished the university's reputation.

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Environment
7:06 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Oak Wilt Fungus and Emerald Ash Borer Persist

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Local parks organizations are trying to inform homeowners about the dangers of two of the greatest threats to the region's trees.  A series of informational meetings about controls for oak wilt fungus and the emerald ash borer have been held in Allegheny County.  

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Government
5:26 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

911th Airlift Wing Safe – For Now

The U.S. House this week approved legislation that will keep the federal government running into next year, and will keep the 911th Airlift Wing from being closed, at least for the time being. The temporary funding measure, or Continuing Resolution, restricts the Department of Defense from retiring, realigning, divesting, or transferring aircraft of the Air Force.

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Local
5:05 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Covered Bridge Festival Celebrates SWPA's Rural Heritage

The Covered Bridge Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday in Washington and Greene Counties - and marks the counties' biggest tourism weekend of the year. The festival takes place at ten sites and celebrates southwestern Pennsylvania's rural roots and the beginning of fall.  JR Shaw with the Washington County Tourism and Information Agency said the event, now in its 42nd year, gives the public a glimpse of the past.

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Transportation
4:46 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Pittsburgh Wins Pro-Walk, Pro-Bike Conference

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A nationwide conference geared toward highlighting and brainstorming ideas for pedestrian and bicycling enhancements is coming to Pittsburgh in two years.  

Pittsburgh will host the 2014 Pro Walk/ Pro Bike Conference September 8-12, and use the opportunity to showcase bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure initiatives in the city. The biennial event has been held since 1980 and is coordinated by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking.

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Health
4:02 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

DA Recommends Stepped-Up Security at UPMC Facilities

Following the deadly Western Psych shooting in March and the recent abduction of a newborn from Magee Womens Hospital, the Allegheny County District Attorney is recommending police patrols be added inside of UPMC medical facilities.

“One of the most important considerations is the presence of a uniformed police officer,” said Zappala, “just to refresh the public’s memory, it took about 5 minutes and a little over 15 seconds for police to arrive on scene [at the Western Psych shooting] and the movement of the shooter was pretty much unlimited until that time.”

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Local
12:41 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Constitutional Questions Abound in Reapportionment Hearing

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Conflicting interpretations of the state constitution drove the discussion before Pennsylvania's high court Thursday as the justices considered a new redistricting plan that would govern legislative elections for most of the next decade.

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Local
8:57 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Leadership Conference Comes to Duquesne

Leadership, gender barriers, LGBT issues, disabilities at work; these were some of the topics discussed at the 3rd annual Pennsylvania Diversity and Leadership Conference today.  Duquesne University hosted the event, which was oriented to organizations that facilitate diversity and leadership initiatives.  The program offered more than 70 leadership and diversity sessions.

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Health
8:38 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Parkinson's in the Spotlight This Saturday in Pittsburgh

Hundreds of Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones are expected to gather at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Saturday in an effort to learn more about the disease, the latest research, and a few tricks to living with the illness.  The day-long and free Victory Summit sponsored by the Davis Phinney Foundation kicks off at 9:00am.

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Government
8:37 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Allegheny County Jail Finally Gets A New Warden

20 months and three interims later, the Allegheny County Jail has a new warden.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced today he has appointed Orlando Harper as the new warden of the lockup.

Harper comes from Washington D.C., where he started as a security officer in 1986 and worked his way up the ranks to his current position of Deputy Warden for Operations at that city's Deprtment of Corrections.  Harper’s appointment ends the seven month term of William S. Stickman III. He was the third interim warden since former warden Ramon Rustin left in January 2011.

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Environment
5:48 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Household Chemical Collection At South Park

Not sure what to do with those half-empty cans of paint and stain or those dusty bottles of automobile fluids in your garage?  The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) will host a household chemicals collection event Saturday at South Park.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an average home can easily accumulate 100 pounds of hazardous waste including paints, varnishes, cleaners, pesticides, pool chemicals and car batteries.

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Local
5:01 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Lamb Calls For Higher Homestead Exemption

Pittsburgh’s top financial watchdog says the city and school district should increase their homestead exemptions when the new property values go into effect next year.  Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb sent a letter to Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, members of Pittsburgh City Council, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane and members of the board of the Pittsburgh Public Schools proposing the idea. 

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Government
4:56 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

PA High Court Hears Voter ID Arguments

Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court justices on Thursday aggressively questioned whether a politically charged law requiring photo identification from each voter should take effect for the Nov. 6 presidential election and whether it guarantees the right to vote.

With the election just 54 days away, the justices did not say when they will decide, although lawyers in the case expected them to rule before the end of September.

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