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Local
12:16 pm
Sun November 25, 2012

Amish Group Cuts Ties With Cambria County

An ultraconservative Amish group is moving out of west-central Pennsylvania, after nearly 15 years during which they've battled authorities over reflective triangles on their buggies and local sewage standards.

Experts say most of the 21-family Swartzentruber Amish congregation in northern Cambria County will likely wind up living near other Swartzentrubers in upstate New York. Those who don't could be heading to Maine or another New York settlement, south of Buffalo.

Environment
11:00 am
Sun November 25, 2012

7,600 Pittsburgh Area Kids At Risk For Lead Poisoning

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is urging families to have children younger than six years old tested for lead poisoning.

Nearly half a million children nationwide have elevated blood lead levels that may significantly damage their health, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health Department spokesman Dave Zazac says that the ACHD each year encourages these blood tests.

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Government
2:18 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

PA Won't Have to Limit Military Funeral Honors

A limit on taxpayer-paid military funeral honors to burials within 100 miles of Philadelphia and central Pennsylvania has been lifted by the state National Guard after it received a commitment for more federal money, a state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs spokeswoman said Friday.

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Economy
11:46 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday

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The Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is no longer in limbo.  The day sandwiched by two shopping frenzies provoked by large retailers is now “Small Business Saturday.” It’s an effort created by the federal government’s Small Business Administration.

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Government
5:39 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

Two State House Seats Still Up for Grabs

The general election is long over, but because some candidates ran successfully for two offices at the same time, a pair of special elections will have to be scheduled.  One seat will be vacated when Democratic Representative Eugene DePasquale of York County when he resigns from the House to be sworn in as Auditor General. He was elected in November, but also re-elected to his House seat. DePasquale says his office isn't rushing to finish constituent casework.
 

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Arts
2:50 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

Roethlisberger and Wife Welcome Son

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his wife Ashley are giving thanks for their new bundle of joy.

Benjamin Roethlisberger Jr. arrived Wednesday at 10:06 p.m., according to the athlete's website. The couple's first child weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and was just over 19 inches long.

The quarterback posted Thursday that mother and baby boy were doing well.

"We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, it really means a lot to us. God is so good!" he wrote.

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Economy
8:37 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Pittsburgh Ranked Best City For Veterans

Pittsburgh continues its reign as the “Most Livable City” but this time for military veterans. The USAA, a company offering banking, investing and insurance to people and families that served or serve in the military, ranked Pittsburgh as the number one city for veterans based on affordability and job and education opportunities.

Scott Hollowell, a certified financial planner for the USAA, said Pittsburgh met all of the criteria to be the best.

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Transportation
8:37 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Lucky Day: Free Parking in Pittsburgh on Saturday

Parking will be free at city-owned meters on Saturday, thanks to a resolution rushed through Pittsburgh City Council on Monday.

Councilman Bill Peduto said his bill suspends enforcement of parking meters all day on Saturday, in honor of Small Business Saturday. Peduto said it's a way to help Pittsburgh's neighborhood business districts attract shoppers just after the corporate marketing push of Black Friday.

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Government
8:37 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Auditor General Says State University Boards Need Fewer Members

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/Smaller Board Wrap Web.mp3

The four state-related schools, which receive hundreds of millions of dollars in commonwealth funding, have recently come under fire for the size of their boards of trustees.

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Economy
8:37 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Local Expert Predicts Ho-Hum Holiday for Retailers

A local marketing professor thinks national estimates for holiday sales are a bit inflated.  Duquesne University’s Audrey Guskey said while the National Retail Federation is looking for 4.1 percent growth over last year’s holiday sales, she is expecting a more modest 3.5 percent.

“With the economy being very tough we are going to see shoppers holding back a little bit and not spending as much,” said Guskey.  “So it will be a ho-hum holiday season.”

Some retailers made pre-Black Friday headlines by announcing they would begin their traditional sales Thursday evening.

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Economy
5:27 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

Chance of Economic Growth in PA Dim

The state’s nonpartisan economic analysis agency says Pennsylvania’s standing for the next five years isn’t looking particularly good.

Pennsylvania’s agency for nonpartisan economic analysis sees low revenue growth and high deficits in the commonwealth’s future. 

The Independent Fiscal Office is projecting just a zero-point-eight percent growth rate in revenue for the next fiscal year.

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Government
2:01 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

County Controller's Office Could Sustain Layoffs Due to Budget Cut

The Allegheny County Controller's office is warning of possible layoffs it would sustain if County Council passes the 2013 operating budget proposed by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

At Council's Budget and Finance Committee meeting Wednesday, Deputy County Controller Amy Griser said her office could be forced to lay off as many as twenty employees if the 10 percent cut goes through. Griser said the Fitzgerald plan would put the County Controller budget at $5.7 million, roughly $650,000 less than the current allocation.

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Government
8:23 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Putting A Yellow Dot in Your Car Window Could Save Your Life

You’re in a car accident on your way to work. Emergency responders arrive to help, but they face two challenges: they don’t know whom to contact on your behalf, and they know little about your medical history.

The Pennsylvania Yellow Dot and Emergency Contact Information programs are aimed at solving both problems.

The Yellow Dot program allows people to fill out forms with emergency an medical contacts, and their current medical information.

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Health
8:23 am
Thu November 22, 2012

National Awareness Tour Targets “Disease of Self-Sabatoge” - Lupus

Lupus affects some 1.5 million people in the US, most of them women between the ages of 15 and 45. The word “lupus” is well-known, but what it actually does is less-so.

“It is an auto-immune disease, so immune system attacking self. Your immune system is supposed to be your defense against external infections and invaders and for reasons we don’t fully understand it turns on self and mounts an attack against self,” said Dr. Susan Manzi, co-founder of the Lupus Center of Excellence at West Penn Allegheny Health System.

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Economy
8:09 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Keeping Pittsburgh Warm and Fed on Thanksgiving

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Light of Life will serve Thanksgiving dinner at its North Side mission on E. North Avenue Thursday from 1-6p.m.  to anyone in the community who wants to have a meal and will deliver meals to the elderly and disabled at 13 high rises in Pittsburgh.

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Government
8:07 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Mixed Reactions to Pennsylvania Lottery Privatization Bid

Governor Tom Corbett is reviewing a contract bid from Camelot Global Services that would put the British company at the helm of Pennsylvania's $3.5 billion lottery system. In the meantime, politicians and experts are expressing mixed reviews of the privatization bid, which promises billions of dollars in additional revenue over the next twenty years.

 

State Senator Wayne Fontana, an opponent of privatization, said it’s curious that the commonwealth has received only one finalized bid since it requested private management proposals in April.

 

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Transportation
6:27 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

PennDOT Halts Plans to Turn to Ramp Metering for Parkway East - Will Re-evaluate Plans for Easing

PennDOT has scrapped a plan to put traffic signals on the ramps leading to the Parkway East.  The goal was to improve flow but drivers were worried it would do the opposite.

A transportation study done by the University of Pittsburgh recommended a combination of ramp closures and so-called ramp-metering-- a method in which signals or other devices that gauge when a vehicle can best enter the highway are placed at ramp entrances. But, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the outcry over that plan was loud.

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Health
5:14 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

UPMC in Talks to Take Over Altoona Regional Health System

UPMC has entered into negotiations with a Blair County health system for a possible affiliation agreement. Altoona Regional Health System has been exploring affiliation options for nearly a year, UPMC beat out other large health systems, including Highmark for the right to negotiate.

“Now, the discussions get down to more specifics about what an affiliation would look like, and we’re not putting any timelines on this, so we’re not sure when the next step will be,” said Altoona Regional Spokesman Dave Cuzzolina.

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Government
1:12 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

PA Gets Single Bid to Run Lottery

The Britain-based company that runs the national lottery in the United Kingdom is pledging to produce more than $34 billion in profits over 20 years if it wins a contract to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery, Gov. Tom Corbett's administration said Tuesday as it moves toward privatizing the state's $3.5 billion system.

The administration said it will weigh the offer by Camelot Global Services, which it said is good until Dec. 31, and is the only one it said it will receive after two other companies that it would not identify dropped out.

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Environment
11:04 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden: Almost a Reality

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden has been in the works for more than 20 years without much result. Finally there's something to see with the promise of much more to come. Doug Oster, contributor to The Allegheny Front and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist, takes us on a tour of the site with Botanic Garden president Greg Nace. See photos and listen to the story at our partner Allegheny Front's website.

 

 

Government
1:03 am
Wed November 21, 2012

County Councilman Offers Alternative 2013 Budget

Allegheny County Councilman Michael Finnerty has drafted a 2013 operating budget that offers higher spending levels for the County Controller, the sheriff's office, and the Department of Human Services.

Finnerty said his plan takes roughly $236,000 from the "fringe benefits recovery" line item to pay for those spending increases. The millage rate of 4.73 and overall spending amount of $799.4 million in the Finnerty budget remain identical to the plan offered by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

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Government
9:19 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

City’s First Dek Hockey Rink Officially Open in Banksville – First of Several

The first of 12 dek hockey rinks in the region was officially opened Tuesday in Banksville Park. It’s a joint effort of the Penguins Foundation, Highmark, and the City of Pittsburgh called Project Power Play.

“A second rink is under construction at Lewis Park in Hazelwood, and there’ll be more in the city and eventually in the county also outside of the City of Pittsburgh,” said Penguins CEO David Morehouse.

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Government
9:10 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Bills May Boost Women, Minority Participation in City Contracts

Pittsburgh City Council is considering new legislation meant to boost the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in city contracts.

Councilman Ricky Burgess said his bills would create a uniform way for all city departments and authorities to report contracts with minority and women-owned vendors. He said that would make it easier for the city’s Equal Opportunity Review Commission to determine whether or not Pittsburgh is meeting its participation goals.

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Government
8:42 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Corbett: Pension Reform Top Priority, Offers No Details

90.5 WESA

Governor Tom Corbett has made it no secret that pension reform tops his legislative to-do list in 2013.  But he’s still not discussing the details of any possible solutions. 

For months, Corbett has been referring to rising pension costs as a Pac-Man poised to eat the state budget. But he says he’s still not ready to divulge what reform might look like. And to those prodding him to offer solutions for the state’s pension problem, Corbett said: slow down.

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Government
6:19 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

PA Police Go After Aggressive, Impaired Holiday Drivers

PennDOT and police statewide are joining forces for "Operation Safe Holiday," an initiative including seat-belt, aggressive-driving and impaired-driving enforcement aimed at keeping roadways safe this holiday season.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said these laws can be more difficult to enforce during the holiday season.

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