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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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Economy
5:30 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Marcellus Drilling: Economic Boost vs Environmental Threat

More than 70% of tri-state area citizens see Marcellus Shale drilling as a chance to give the local economy a boost, but eight in ten residents believe drilling poses at least a slight threat to the environment and public health.

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Government
12:55 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

SEA Hits Back Against Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority are trying to convince a judge who should pay to add 3,000 seats to 11-year-old Heinz Field.

The Steelers contend their lease requires the authority to pay about two-thirds of the $38 million the team expects it will cost to add the end zone seats and a new video scoreboard.

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Science & Technology
11:06 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Identification of Fossil Solves a Long-Time Mystery for Scientists

One of the mysteries of paleontology has persisted for more than 100 years – the classification of the Necrolestes patagonensis fossil. An international team of researchers, including Carnegie Museum of Natural History scientist John Wible, has found an answer – it’s a mammal. What it was has remained an enigma, even though three “beautiful” fossils of it were found in South America in 1891.

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Government
11:02 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

City Billboard Tax Gets Preliminary Approval

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval on Monday to legislation that would create a ten percent tax on billboard advertisements, setting up a final vote on the new excise tax at next Tuesday's Council meeting.

The bill's sponsors, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak and Council President Darlene Harris, say the tax would bring in two to four million dollars annually. They argue the tax is warranted because billboard owners pay very little in taxes for the small properties on which the large structures stand.

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Government
9:20 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

What Would You Pay to Park Near CMU?

Carnegie Mellon University researchers will be able to go through with a study of the optimum rates for parking meters near the school, after Pittsburgh City Council passed the necessary legislation Monday.

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Arts
9:16 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Spielberg Marks Gettysburg Address Anniversary

One of the world’s best-known directors helped mark the anniversary today of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  The crowd of hundreds laughed in the morning cold as the event’s keynote speaker, director Steven Spielberg, called them fellow “Lincoln obsessives.” The Oscar-winner says over the course of creating his latest film, “Lincoln,” he has come to think of the nation’s 16th president as an old friend.

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Environment
7:56 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Lawmakers, Labor Leaders, Energy Executives Urge Extension of Wind Energy Tax Credit

The decade-old Wind Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) is set to expire at the end of the year if no Congressional action is taken. In Pittsburgh Monday, elected officials, energy executives, and labor leaders urged extension of the PTC, which provides a tax credit of 2.2 cents for every 1,000 watts of wind energy produced.

“If Congress allows the tax credit to expire this year, more than 4,000 good, family sustaining, middle-class Pennsylvania jobs will be lost and 37,000 jobs nationally,” said Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA-14).

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Economy
5:37 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Turkey Dinner for the Underprivledged

Pittsburghers have been donating food and cash since October to help Urban Impact, Light of Life, and Circle of Hope ministries distribute unprepared food items to 170 local needy families and their effort culminated a busy volunteer effort Monday.  Laundry baskets overflowing with turkey, stuffing, pies, mashed potatoes and canned goods were put together and distributed by volunteers who aim to feed those who would otherwise not be fortunate enough to feast on a Thanksgiving dinner this year.

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Economy
8:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Unemployment Agency: $300 million Hard to Track

Limited employer engagement, failure to identify and share best practices, and programs operating below capacity are only a few factors causing problems for those trying to help the unemployed in southwestern Pennsylvania.  The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is conducting a survey of agencies that help the unemployed and will use the results to create a framework for Allegheny County.

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Government
8:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Billboard Tax Discussions Heat Up

Pittsburgh City Council has heard from the public on both sides of the argument over a proposed ten percent tax on billboard advertising, and now the measure will be moved to a preliminary vote.

At a public hearing on Tuesday, most people testifying supported the new levy on advertisers, with many arguing that the billboard companies pay very little in property taxes despite the size and presence of the structures.

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Transportation
8:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Traveling for Thanksgiving? Be Ready For Busy Roads

Are you one of the 43.6 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles for their Thanksgiving celebration? If so, consider traveling on an off day or be prepared to hit traffic.

Ruth Nagy, Managing Director of Travel Operations for AAA East Central, said about 90 percent of travelers, or 39.1 million, this Thanksgiving will be going by car.  She said some are flying, but limited seats being offered by the airlines have reduced that number.

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Science & Technology
8:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

DCNR’s Interactive Online Map Now Features Pennsylvania’s Geology

Ever wonder where an earthquake could strike in Pennsylvania and its magnitude?

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has centralized that data along with information about the commonwealth's bedrock geology, waterfalls, rock formations and other features into the interactive geographic information systems map (GIS).

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Arts
8:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Ruth Drescher

Ruth Drescher from Squirrel Hill will be the first to admit that Paul Auster's new memoir -- written entirely in the second person -- may not be for everyone. But she found Winter Journal unexpectedly compelling.

Paul Auster, Winter Journal

This memoir from the author of The Invention of Solitude details his mother's life and death, as well as the effects of time and aging on one's body and memory.

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Government
8:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

PA Commissioners Gather on Budget Issues

County commissioners from across the state will be swapping ideas on how to stretch a dollar this week as they gather at a fall conference. The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania will open its meeting in Hershey Monday.

Commissioners might not be sweating any kind of local fiscal cliff, but big spending decisions are due soon.  Counties must submit budget proposals by the end of the month, and final spending plans must be adopted by the end of the year. 

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Government
11:47 am
Sun November 18, 2012

City Councilman Proposes New Agency to Address Blighted Properties

One Pittsburgh City Councilman has proposed a bill that would create a Pittsburgh LandBank, a board that would bring together various city agencies and authorities to create a long-term strategy for buying and repurposing abandoned properties.

Councilman Ricky Burgess said the board would be made up of staffers from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Housing Authority, the Finance Department, and the Law Department. He said they'd write a plan for the city to address blight.

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Economy
1:39 pm
Sat November 17, 2012

PA Jobless Breaks Rising Streak as Payrolls Grow

Pennsylvania's jobless rate is down for the first time in six months as employers expanded their payrolls slightly in October.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent, as both overall employment and the number of people working or seeking work grew.

The national unemployment rate is 7.9 percent.

Pennsylvania's jobless rate had begun rising again after it dropped back to 7.4 percent from the recessionary peak of 8.7 percent in 2010.

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Education
9:36 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

State System Teachers Vote to Strike

Union faculty at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities have given their leadership the authority to call a strike.  Ninety-five percent of the faculty who voted supported the strike authorization.

“The overwhelming support for our negotiations committee and our negotiations team sends a strong message to the State System,” said Dr. Steve Hicks, president of The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. (APSCUF) “Our members are united for a fair contract that benefits all faculty and students by maintaining quality education.”

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Education
8:38 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Duquesne City Schools gets Recovery Officer

The Duquesne City School District has been placed into Financial Recovery and a Chief Recovery Officer has been chosen.  Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis today appointed Paul B. Long to the post.

The  63 year old Long is a native of McKees Rocks and graduated from Shaler High School.

“I am pleased to appoint an individual who has the experience and proven track record of stellar financial management,” Tomalis said. “I am confident that Paul will be successful at devising a plan to stabilize the district’s finances.”

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