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Government & Politics
7:12 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

State Legislation Takes Aim at Pittsburgh’s Large Non-Profits

As part of the ongoing discussion on finding new ways to tax some of Pittsburgh’s largest non-profit organization, one state lawmaker is getting the legislative ball rolling.  State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Highland Park) is introducing a bill that would impose a new levy of .4 percent payroll preparation tax on Pittsburgh non-profits that have more than 250 employees.

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Education & Learning
5:12 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

PASSHE, APSCUF Negotiations Continue

More than six months after their old contract expired, the Pennsylvania State System for Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) are still without a new pact but the two sides will return to the table Wednesday.  

After a long break over the holidays, negotiations resumed last Friday to discuss top issues in efforts to reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. 

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Environment & Energy
9:00 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Value-Added Forests: The Working Woodlands Program

Pennsylvania forests have a new, surprising ally. You might even call it a sponsor. Chevrolet is footing the bill for a 22,000-acre parcel near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The forest is owned by the city’s water authority, which draws off tributaries in the forested watershed to supply its 115, 000 customers.

“We’re anticipating- to be on the safe side- somewhere from $75,000 to $100,000 annually.   If we get more than that… great,” said Steve Repach, Authority director.

Government & Politics
9:00 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Gilman Opens Campaign for Pittsburgh Council District 8

When Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto threw in his hat for the mayoral race, he decided against concurrently running for his council position. That left the door open for three contenders for the District 8 seat, including Peduto's nine-year chief of staff Dan Gilman, who opened his campaign last night.

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Government & Politics
9:24 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Lawmakers Take Shots At Corbett Over PA Lottery

State lawmakers have had their first chance to grill the Corbett administration over a deal to privatize the operation of the Pennsylvania Lottery, and both Republicans and Democrats took full advantage of it.

A Senate panel hearing is the first public forum on the deal between the administration and Britain-based Camelot Global Services, which could be finalized this week.

Going in, both lawmakers and Corbett cabinet members figured things would be tense at the Senate hearing.

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Government & Politics
9:21 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Families of Flight 93 Name New/Old President

A familiar face is serving as the president of The Families of Flight 93. After taking a year off due to term limits Gordon Felt has been named to lead the organization once again.  

The Families of Flight 93 is a non-profit organization dedicated to completing the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.  Its board consists of family members of those who died on Flight 93 during the September 11th attacks.

Felt previously served as treasurer and then president before stepping down for Patrick White to take up the post.

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Government & Politics
8:49 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Mayor Proposes Increases in Homestead Exemption, Senior Tax Relief, Reduction in Millage Rate

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is proposing increases in the city's Homestead exemption and Senior Tax Relief Credit, as well as a reduced millage rate. This comes in response to higher property values found through the court-appointed property reassessments.

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Economy & Business
8:30 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Red Kettle Campaign is $270K Short

Think about walking in or out of a store during the holiday season.  It almost seems incomplete without a bundled-up, bell-ringer standing next to a red, Salvation Army donation basket.

The question is:  keep moving or be charitable.  Western Pennsylvanians did more of the latter in 2012 compared to 2011, but the region's Red Kettle Christmas Campaign still came short of meeting its goal by $270,000.

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Government & Politics
8:05 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Business Owners Debate Lawrenceville Neighborhood Tax

The battle lines were quite literally set in Pittsburgh City Council Chamber on Monday as both supporters and opponents of the Lawrenceville Business Improvement District (BID) took seats on opposite sides of the room.

Though there were a few more speakers in favor, most of the public hearing was spent in a back-and-forth discussion of the Lawrenceville Corporation's plan for a BID. A Business Improvement District is a neighborhood fund that assesses a yearly fee on property owners in order to pay for extra public works services within the district.

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Government & Politics
6:19 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Obama: I Will Not Let Deficit Talks Be Tied To Another Debt Ceiling Debate

At a news conference dominated by discussion of what's expected to be Washington's next big political battle, President Obama insisted Monday that he will not let Republicans tie an increase in the federal government's borrowing limit to negotiations over cuts in future federal spending.

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Government & Politics
5:12 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Kane, DePasquale, McCord Bios

ATTORNEY GENERAL

NAME: Kathleen Kane

AGE: 46

EDUCATION: bachelor's degree in international studies, University of Scranton (1988); law degree, Temple University Law School (1993)

EXPERIENCE: Private law practice, Philadelphia (1991-95); assistant district attorney, Lackawanna County (1995-2007)

FAMILY: Kane and her husband, Chris, live in Clarks Summit, in Lackawanna County. They have two sons.

___

AUDITOR GENERAL

NAME: Eugene DePasquale

AGE: 41

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Government & Politics
12:58 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Car Chase in Pittsburgh Ends in Double Shooting

A driver and his mother remain in serious condition after they were shot by police during a chase in Pittsburgh.

Police Chief Nate Harper says the 37-year-old driver and his mother, who was his passenger, remained in serious condition Sunday after the early morning shooting. Harper says five officers fired on the car after it fled following an attempted traffic stop when it ran a red light.

Investigators say the chase stopped when officers fired at the car and it hit a parked car. The driver and his mother were taken to the hospital.

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Government & Politics
8:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Kane Readies for Swearing-in

The state’s Attorney General-elect has named her top staffers, but not the person who will investigate the handling of the Jerry Sandusky case.

Kathleen Kane said Friday she still has no timetable for the investigation she promised during the campaign, when she criticized the Attorney General’s office for taking years to press charges against Sandusky. Kane will be sworn into office Tuesday.

Gov. Corbett was Attorney General during the investigation of the former Penn State defensive coordinator. He has suggested Kane should hire outside counsel for the Sandusky probe.

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Transportation
8:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

UPMC Replacing Diesel Shuttles, Adding EV Charging Stations

The fumes emitted from diesel fuel are far from pleasant, especially when drivers find themselves following these types of vehicles down the highway. An Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will allow UPMC to replace 20 diesel-fuel shuttle buses with compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.

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Economy & Business
8:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

$350K Grant for Facelift for Downtown Pittsburgh

A grant that's going to a downtown Pittsburgh nonprofit might kick start the area's aesthetic makeover.  Pittsburgh-based Colcom Foundation awarded the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) with $350,000. PDP decided to use the funds for the Paris to Pittsburgh Facade Grant Program, which provides a 50% matching grant of up to $30,000 to downtown business owners interested in revamping their business' exterior.

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Government & Politics
8:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

PennDOT to Privatize 511?

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) wants to hand over operation and management of the state’s 511 system to a private company.

Launched in 2009, 511 provides traffic-delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speeds on urban interstates, and access to more than 670 traffic cameras.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Chizmar said they can’t make updates and changes as quickly as a for-profit could.

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Economy & Business
8:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Tourism Spending Up in Allegheny County in 2011 – Expected to Continue Upward Push

Visitors to the Pittsburgh area contributed $5.3 billion to the local economy in 2011 (the most recent year for which the study was conducted), according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office.  Overall spending by visitors to Allegheny County was up 8.9 percent over 2010.

“The money that we are supplying into the local economy is a substantial amount, and that helps to provide government services for people here locally, provided through people that don’t live here,” said Craig Davis, President and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh.

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Arts & Culture
8:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Speaking Volumes: Michele Ament

Shady Side Academy math teacher Michele Ament puts her commuting hours to good use listening to audiobooks.

Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex

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Economy & Business
10:24 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Former 'Occupy Pittsburgh' Park Slated for Spring Reopening

More than ten months after the economic protest group Occupy Pittsburgh abandoned its encampment in a downtown green space, the small park known as Mellon Green is still entirely fenced off to the encircling sidewalks.

According to BNY Mellon spokesman Ron Gruendl, the global financial firm is hoping to reopen its park in the spring.

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Economy & Business
10:24 am
Sun January 13, 2013

From Corn Belt To Main Street: The Drought's Far-Reaching Grasp

The U.S. had its hottest year on record last year. That heat, combined with the relatively dry winter that came before, has brought a historic drought.

From forest fires and low crop yields, to infrastructure and recreation, the drought has been costly, with early estimates putting the cost at between $50 billion and $80 billion.

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Government & Politics
10:24 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Democrats to Take Oath in PA's 3 Row Offices

A trio of Democrats is poised to be sworn in to Pennsylvania's three statewide row offices this week, signaling a new political dynamic in a Capitol that's otherwise under Republican control.

Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane, Auditor General-elect Eugene DePasquale and state Treasurer Rob McCord followed unique paths to the independent posts that are often springboards to higher office.

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Government & Politics
10:14 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Corbett Goes With Brit Firm to Run PA Lottery

Camelot Global Services, the British national lottery operator, is poised to take over management of the Pennsylvania Lottery after Gov. Tom Corbett's administration said Friday that it had awarded a contract to the company in a deal that pledges $34 billion in profits to the state over the next 20 years.

Pennsylvania, whose lottery is among the country's largest with $3.5 billion in sales last year, is on track to become the third state, after Indiana and Illinois, to hire a private lottery manager.

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Government & Politics
8:37 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

State Democrats Calling on Governor, Administration to Slow Down on Lottery Privatization Plan

As negotiations continue on a plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery, State Democrats are calling on the governor to slow down the process and make it more transparent. Senator Matt Smith said the proposal amounts to an improper expansion of the lottery.

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Government & Politics
8:06 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Vigil For Pittsburgh Woman Killed by Abuser

Friends and family gather Saturday for a vigil to remember Ka’Sandra Wade, formerly of Larimer.  The 33-year old Pittsburgh woman was fatally shot on New Years Eve by her ex-boyfriend Anthony Brown, who had a history of domestic abuse.  The 51-year old Brown shot and killed himself the next day when police came to his Point Breeze home.

The vigil will also mark the formal announcement of the development of “Ka’Sandra’s Law,” a proposal intended to improve police procedure and response time regarding 911 calls.

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Economy & Business
6:24 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Goes Local

When the subject of wine comes up, it usually has to do with grapes grown on the French Riviera, stateside in southern California, or even along route 79 heading towards Erie.

“[State wineries] are a robust part of the economy,” said Stacy Kriedeman, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PCLB).  “The commonwealth has more than 150 wineries, according to the Pennsylvania Winery Association, and that infuses more than $2 billion into the economy. So it’s a very valued sector of the agricultural community.”

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