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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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Government
8:25 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Gov. Corbett Sees No Rush to Open Health Care Exchange

President Obama’s re-election means the implementation Affordable Care Act will move forward, but Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett says he sees no reason to rush to implement one of its centerpieces: a health care exchange in Pennsylvania.  U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told governors Thursday evening that the department is extending the deadline to declare their intentions from Friday to Dec. 14.

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Environment
5:25 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Greening the East Busway

Nearly 300 trees will line the Martin Luther King Jr. Busway in Homewood to add greenery and reduce noise for the residents who live between North Braddock Avenue and North Homewood Avenue.

The project is a collaboration among the city of Pittsburgh, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Tree Pittsburgh, and Operation Better Block (OBB). 

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Economy
4:06 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Cardboard City To Highlight Homelessness

While Rome wasn’t built in a day, this cardboard city will be built and taken down in one.

Beginning at 6 p.m. today and ending at 6 a.m. Saturday, Somerset County will be home to this cardboard city, which will be located at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Somerset.

Roofs Over Our Families (R.O.O.F) will host the event as part of a series of activities for National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.

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Education
2:30 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Penn St. Trustees Set to Search For New President

Penn State trustees are set to formally begin the search for a new president against the backdrop of renewed scrutiny of university governance in light of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

Trustees are scheduled Friday to wrap up two days of regularly-scheduled meetings with a full assembly of the board. A vote to officially approve the search for President Rodney Erickson's replacement is on the agenda.

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Health
12:12 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Pennsylvania’s Rehabilitation, Psychiatric Hospitals on Strong Financial Footing

Non-general acute care facilities in Pennsylvania, such as rehabilitation and psychiatric hospitals, remained financially sound during fiscal year 2011. That’s according to the most recent report from The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). The strongest category was rehabilitation hospitals which saw statewide operating margins improve 3.76 percentage points.

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Government
9:57 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Working America Worries Over Cuts to Social Programs

Activists, labor allies, and staff members of Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, gathered outside U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s (D-PA) Pittsburgh office today to deliver letters asking that he save “family protecting programs.”

Working America Member Coordinator Liz Laycak said the main programs they are concerned about are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  

She said Casey promised organized labor last week that he will fight to protect those federal programs.

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Education
9:02 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Goals, Budget Details in “State of the District” by Superintendent Linda Lane

Pittsburgh Public School Superintendent Linda Lane will discuss the district’s progress and future direction during her state of the district address Thursday evening. She said five key areas will be the focus: finance and enrollment, achievement, effectiveness, equity, and satisfaction. The district faces several challenges including declining enrollment and budget deficit, but Lane said rather than looking at the challenges, she is looking at opportunities for growth.

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Arts
8:53 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Mister Rogers’ Sweater Drive Welcomes Every Neighbor

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh kicked off its 13th annual Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive today, hoping to “warm up the winter for a family in need.”  The iconic Fred Rogers began each television show by putting on a pair of sneakers and a cardigan sweater.  One of his sweaters is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History.

Marketing Director Bill Schlageter said the Children's Museum is proud of how many people have participated through the years.

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Government
7:15 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Corbett's Numbers Are Up, So Is Apathy

A new poll suggests voters have a higher opinion of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s job performance in the wake of super storm Sandy.  However, nearly 1 in 4 say they just don’t care.

Forty percent of respondents in a Quinnipiac University poll say Corbett’s doing all right on the job compared to 38 percent who don’t care for the job he’s doing.  The remainder of those polled had no opinion of the governor at all.

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Government
7:14 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Cooperating on Transportation, Economic Development

Citizens and elected leaders from the city of Pittsburgh and 36 inner ring suburbs will discuss mutual concerns including public transportation and development at the second annual Community Briefing and Reception hosted by The Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) this evening in Oakland.

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Local
7:10 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Families Serving the Community Together

50 adults and 50 children from all over Pittsburgh will gather at the Lincoln Park Community Center in Penn Hills Saturday to help organize and refurbish the community center, as well as help out with the food pantry operated by the center. 

Pittsburgh Cares, a philanthropic organization for the area, will host the event.  While Family Volunteer Day is a national event, this will mark the first time Pittsburgh has participated.

Holly McGraw-Turkovic, the Director of Youth Programs for Pittsburgh Cares, said the day is simply about helping as a family.

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Arts
5:45 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Get Ready to Light Up Friday

The holiday season will officially hit Downtown Pittsburgh tomorrow as Christmas trees are lit, bands begin to play, and the city celebrates the 52nd annual Light Up Night.

This year’s Light Up Night begins at noon Friday as Mayor Luke Ravenstahl lights the City's official Christmas tree at the City-County Building and the U.S. Steel Plaza dedicates its crèche simultaneously.  The county lights its tree later that afternoon.

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Government
5:30 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

2 PA House Dems Want Probe of Voting Glitches, Misinformation

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Government
11:21 am
Thu November 15, 2012

City Council Considers Buying New Emergency Alert System

Pittsburgh would contract with a private vendor to implement a state-of-the-art emergency alert system under new legislation in City Council.

Councilman Corey O'Connor's bill would allow the city's Emergency Management Agency to send out a request for proposals (RFP) to technology companies that deal in emergency alert software.

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Education
12:47 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Higher Education Commission Issues 19 Proposals

A state-appointed commission on higher education has made its recommendations as to how Pennsylvania could improve the quality of colleges, universities, and trade schools while reducing student costs.

The Advisory Commission on Post-Secondary Education was created by Governor Tom Corbett in February, and submitted its final recommendations Wednesday, one day before the deadline. The panel was made up of 31 commissioners, including university presidents, education experts and business leaders.

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Government
9:27 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Saccone Lead Grows in 39th House District

There might be an official winner soon in the 39th Pennsylvania legislative district.  Representative Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny) is trying to fend off a challenge from the man who held that seat for 26 years.

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Education
9:26 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Penn State Post-Sandusky Has Not Changed, Says Auditor General

The Pennsylvania Auditor General is calling on the governor and the General Assembly to push for changes in the leadership structure at Penn State.  Auditor Jack Wagner released a report Wednesday with additional recommendations, including creating uniform term limits for all board members and preventing staff members from becoming trustees and vice versa with ease.
 

He says half of his recomendations require legislation, and the others would require action from the Penn State Board of Trustees. 
 

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Health
7:32 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Hospital Advocacy Group Outlines Future Challenges

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The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, an advocacy organization, has outlined how the fiscal cliff, deficit reduction, tax cuts and the Affordable Care Act could impact Pennsylvania's hospitals as they strive to meet financial demands while providing quality care to patients and communities.  

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Government
7:14 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Invest in Downtown Pittsburgh, Here + Now

The Downtown Retail Task Force released its recommendations Wednesday to attract and retain retailers in the Golden Triangle.  A year in the making, the task force, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) created 5 strategies to encourage retail investment downtown. 

The first step is enhancing street infrastructure.  Ravenstahl said the focus of the plan is on creating a welcoming environment with additional streetlights and trees as well as more pedestrian pathways. 

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Government
6:55 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

City Settles G20 suits for $215,000

The city of Pittsburgh has agreed to a settle a pair of lawsuits stemming from the actions of police officers before and during the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 summit.  The city admitted no wrongdoing in the cases but has agreed to pay out a total of $215,000 to the plaintiffs.

“As I think most often happens when you have a settelment, no party is exstatic and no party is upset but its probably a good resolution for both sides,” said  ACLU of Pennsylvania Legal Director Vic Walczak.

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