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Local
8:15 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Pay-By-Plate Parking Meters Will Allow Drivers To Pay By Credit Card

In the words of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, "Gone are the days when residents had to carry around bags of quarters to plug our meters."

New pay-by-plate parking meters were unveiled today on the North Shore. This technology will now have drivers paying for parking with cash or credit cards, and their license plate numbers.

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Health
6:00 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Clean Indoor Air Act, 4 Years Later

The House Democratic Policy Committee heard testimony from community members, experts, and business owners advocating for the expansion of the Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) that went into effect in Pennsylvania beginning in September 2008.

The CIAA allows establishments to permit smoking if they apply and qualify for an exemption. Some taverns, cigar bars, and tobacco shops can all qualify. As of December, more than 2,800 establishments in the commonwealth were exempt from the smoking ban. 60% of bars in Allegheny County allow smoking.

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Environment
5:45 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Commonwealth Court Strikes Down Part of Drilling Law

By a 4-3 ruling, a Commonwealth Court panel today tossed out a provision of Act 13 that would have allowed statewide zoning policies for drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation.

"We're very pleased that they upheld our suit that would basically eliminate that portion of Act 13," said Peters Township Manager Michael Silvestri.

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Government
1:20 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Opponents To Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law Make Their Case In Court

Plaintiffs in a case to strike down the state's voter ID law say they won't be able to obtain the proper photo identification needed to vote because they couldn't obtain the proper paperwork. Six people testified on the first day of a hearing in Commonwealth Court to ask that the law not be enforced in the November election.

David Gersch, one of the attorneys suing the state, said even when people do have their birth certificate or Social Security card, the documents may be at odds with their current name.

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Local
7:57 am
Thu July 26, 2012

PA's Voter ID Law Lands in Court

The first legal test for Pennsylvania's tough new voter law requiring photo identification began Wednesday, with state lawyers calling the measure a completely rational step, while opponents attacked it as an unnecessary, unjustified and partisan scheme that will deprive countless people of their right to vote.

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Local
7:00 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Holocaust Revisited

About 30 students and teachers from several Pittsburgh private schools recently had the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of a Holocaust survivor.

Members of Classrooms Without Borders traveled from Pittsburgh to Poland for a chance to visit the remains of concentration camps and ghettos. Led by Holocaust survivor Howard Chandler, they walked through camps where millions were killed during World War II.

The 84-year-old Chandler stood in a barrack of Auschwitz, telling the students and educators his experiences as an adolescent in that very camp.

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Government
8:45 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Governor Corbett Concludes River Kayaking Trip in Pittsburgh, Tours Point State Park

Governor Tom Corbett called Point State Park unique, and said there aren't too many cities with a state park in their heart. After wrapping up a three day kayaking trip on the Allegheny and Conemaugh Rivers, the governor toured the park and under-construction fountain at the point, which is slated to be completed next summer.

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Transportation
8:09 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Major Overhauls Planned for South Hills Roads

Construction crews are scheduled to overhaul three major roadways in the South Hills of Pittsburgh this year and next.

It will take a $15 million investment from state, local, and federal government to fully redo the intersection of Route 51 and Route 88 in Overbrook. In addition to bridge repairs on each highway, crews will install a jug handle to streamline traffic at the commonly congested intersection.

South Hills Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said unbeknownst to many drivers, much of the two roadways is made up of bridges running over small brooks — hence, "Overbrook."

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Local
8:00 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

City Council to Hold Public Hearing on Buncher Development

Pittsburgh City Council voted Wednesday to hold a series of meetings, some public, on a mixed-use redevelopment project planned for the Strip District. The lone "no" vote was from Councilman Patrick Dowd.

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Government
7:46 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Hearing Underway On Challenge To Voter ID Law

Opening arguments have wrapped up in the hearing over the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's voter ID law.

Legal groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have asked Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson to bar the law's enforcement in the November general election.

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Local
7:30 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

280 Pittsburgh Teachers, Other Professionals Furloughed

As expected, the Pittsburgh Board of Education Wednesday evening approved the layoffs of 280 school district employees, most of them teachers.

The vote was 6-0 with three board members absent: Mark Brentley, Regina Holley and Sharene Shealey.

"It's horrible," said Board President Sherry Hazuda. "This is very sad. No one wants to be involved in furloughing any employees at all, and because it's such a sizable number, it makes it more challenging. The good news is that it's not as many as we originally anticipated."

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Environment
6:00 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

EPA, DEP, County Health Department Fine Coke Plant on Neville Island

Shenango, Inc. has to pay up for air and water quality violations since 2005 at the coke plant on Neville Island, particularly involving their combustion stacks and pushing devices.

A consent agreement reached by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) requires Shenango to pay a $1.75 million penalty for failure to abide by those departments' environmental standards.

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Economy
5:15 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

National Bid-Rigging Scheme Settlement Pays Out

Pennsylvania is set to receive approximately $11.5 million in restitution as part of a multi-state bid-rigging case involving major financial institutions. These large-scale companies marketed and sold municipal derivative investments, which are primarily used by government agencies and non-profit groups to reinvest the proceeds of tax-exempt bonds until funds are needed.

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Local
3:30 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Two New Bridges Open on the Montour Trail

The Montour Trail Council will host an opening ceremony at Hendersonville Park at noon on Saturday for trail bridges over Georgetown and Morganza Roads in Cecil Township, Washington County.

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Science & Technology
7:00 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Natural Gas Job Growth Challenges and Opportunities Focus of Caucus in D.C.

The Congressional Natural Gas Caucus holds a hearing this morning to examine job growth in the natural gas industry — more specifically, what opportunities and potential challenges exist to growing American jobs.

"We're talking now about 1.6 million direct jobs from natural gas, 600,000 new jobs in 2010 alone. Overall we're looking at about 2.8 million jobs, a fairly stable job sector for the next 20-25 years from this natural gas development and use, and it's an exciting aspect of the United States," said Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA-18), co-chair of the caucus.

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Government
7:00 am
Wed July 25, 2012

When It Comes To Energy, Corbett Is Willing To Spend

Pennsylvania Gov­er­nor Tom Corbett cer­tainly can't be accused of being a big spender. The 2011 bud­get he signed into law cut more than $1 billion in state spending, reduc­ing fund­ing for nearly every state department.

This year's bud­get, final­ized last month, kept fund­ing rel­a­tively level, but reduced spend­ing for county-level pub­lic health pro­grams, among other items.

There's one excep­tion to this bare-bones phi­los­o­phy, though: the grants and tax breaks the Cor­bett Admin­is­tra­tion has directed to energy companies.

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Local
9:12 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Council Considers Opening City Property to Commercial Ads

Private companies would be able to advertise on city-owned property across Pittsburgh, under Councilman Bill Peduto's "Market Based Revenue Opportunity" bill introduced on Tuesday.

City-owned buildings, vehicles, park benches, and the official Pittsburgh website could pick up commercial sponsorships under the legislation.

Peduto said private companies won't be inundating Pittsburgh with petitions to advertise on city property. Rather, he said the measure allows the city to request bids for a limited number of advertising opportunities.

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Local
8:30 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Homewood Redevelopment Bill Passes, Despite Opposition

Despite opposition from a handful of community residents, Pittsburgh City Council passed a measure Tuesday that allows for a $10 million redevelopment of vacant lots in Homewood. The lone "no" vote came from Councilman Bill Peduto.

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Local
7:30 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

New Website Aimed at Tracking Down Firearm Violators in Allegheny County

The Allegheny County Sheriff's office has announced the formation of the Firearms Violation Fugitives web page. The new permanent feature of the sheriff's website provides pictures, descriptions, and charges of all new offenders wanted for firearm-related crimes.

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Local
6:30 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Pennsylvania Fire Departments Struggling To Find Volunteers

Fire departments throughout the state are experiencing steep declines in the number of volunteers, leaving the future of the volunteer firefighter concept in question. The "Pennsylvania Burning" report indicated there were about 300,000 volunteer firefighters in 1977, but according to the commonwealth's top fire official, that number has dropped to about 50,000 to 60,000 today.

State Fire Commissioner Edward Mann said there is no simple answer, and any solution will take time to develop and implement.

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Government
6:18 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Voter ID Court Hearing Begins Today

Groups opposed to the state's voter ID law plan to outline their case in Commonwealth Court beginning this morning. They're suing the state to block the implementation of the measure requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Marian Schneider of the Advancement Project, a civil rights and policy center based in Washington, said it violates the state constitution.

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Environment
5:15 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

State Looking at Air Quality in Washington County Long-Term


Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is starting a long-term air quality study to collect accurate data, monitor, and analyze potential health risks associated with "wet" Marcellus Shale gas.

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Local
5:15 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Redesigned Refueling Aircraft Could Find New Home In Pittsburgh

The U.S. Air Force is looking to land new refueling planes at a new home beginning in 2016, and they may look no farther than Pittsburgh's 171st Air Refueling Wing. The first aircraft delivery to the Air National Guard unit that is selected for the redesigned planes will be in 2017.

In a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force, Representative Mark Critz (D-PA-12) noted the large amount of activity at the base, located near Pittsburgh International Airport, and how it would benefit the new KC-46A refueling aircraft.

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Local
3:00 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

PSU Students, Alumni, React to Sanctions

The NCAA's unprecedented sanctions against Penn State will reach far beyond the Nittany Lions football team, which is central to the spirit and makeup of the campus community.

In Happy Valley, the implications of the penalties are still sinking in.

This week might have begun with stories about a statue.

Benjamin Willis, a longtime State College resident, takes pictures outside the site where the Joe Paterno statue stood until this past Sunday morning, when the university's president ordered it to be hauled off and put in storage.

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Arts
9:15 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Judge Allows for Demolition of St. Nick's Church

An Allegheny County judge has allowed for St. Nicholas Parish to demolish its historic church on Route 28 in the North Side.

On Monday, Common Pleas Judge Robert Colville ordered the Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission to grant the parish a "certificate of economic hardship" within 30 days. That document would allow the parish to bypass the deteriorating church's historic status and proceed with plans for demolition.

However, the city still has the option to appeal Judge Colville's decision.

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