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Local
10:09 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

PWSA Unveils First Draft for Massive Regional Sewer Overhaul

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) briefed City Council Wednesday on a preliminary plan to overhaul the region's sewer systems.

According to PWSA officials, not only will the project be expensive, but it will also require new sewage agreements between Pittsburgh and scores of other municipalities.

In order to catch up with new regulations from the federal government, Pittsburgh and its neighboring municipalities must add new sewer lines and storage tanks to prevent "combined sewer overflow" (CSO) from spilling out of sewage systems after heavy rainfall.

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Health
8:00 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Racial Disparity in Diabetes Rates Focus of Meeting at Pitt

More than 25 million people in the U.S. are living with Type 2 Diabetes. That's about 8.3% of the population, but there is one group experiencing higher rates.

"If you look at blacks over the age of 20, non-Hispanic blacks, almost 19% have diabetes," said Mim Seidel, a registered dietician with the Food Studies Program at Chatham University.

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Health
7:30 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Medicaid Expansion In PA Could Add 800,000 Recipients

State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) has introduced legislation that would allow more Pennsylvanians to be insured through Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. If his measure is passed, medical coverage would be expanded to include residents who earn less than 133% of the federal poverty level.

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Environment
5:26 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Artists Celebrate The Lives Of Aquatic Life That Perished In Dunkard Creek

Ann Payne and Wendy Henry exchange anxious glances as they walk. They are heading down a path to the bank of Dunkard Creek in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania. The two haven't been to this spot since Henry asked her friend Payne, a Morgantown artist, to look at an unfolding disaster on the creek near her home.

"Remember we walked down this way toward the creek and off to the left there was a bunch of birds and I thought good grief- there's a bunch of green herons. We got closer and they were eating bodies of dead fish" says Payne.

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Science & Technology
4:00 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

State Prison Uses Landfill Methane for Power

The state prison in Somerset County is using methane gas from a local landfill to generate the electricity and steam that power the penitentiary.

Though the methane-to-electricity plant has been online since January, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections dedicated the plant Tuesday in memory of the late DOC Operations Director Robert Calik.

With an estimated cost-savings of $68 million over the next fifteen years, the plant would pay for itself and more.

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Economy
4:00 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Pennsylvania's Debt Downgrade has Wide Impact

Pennsylvania's recent debt downgrade means it may cost the state more to borrow money, because investors will want to pay less for taking on riskier debt, but the effect of the lower score might be more political than financial.

The drop from Aa1 to Aa2 by Moody's Investor Service is likely to have a small effect on typical investors who invest in state bonds, but analysts are taking note of the major reason given for the change: ballooning pension costs expected to hit the state in increasingly large waves over the next several years.

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Environment
1:00 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Hot, Dry Conditions Halt Water Withdrawals from Susquehanna

Near-drought conditions persist throughout the Susquehanna River Basin, and businesses that usually take large amounts of water out of the system's streams and rivers are being told to stop.

It's mostly natural gas companies that have seen their water withdrawal permits suspended, but others got the kibosh as well: resorts, golf courses, a trout park and hatchery.

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Government
8:38 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Mitt Romney Outlines Five Steps to a Better Economy

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney told a large crowd of supporters in Irwin that Barack Obama has failed America and called the president's policies "job crushing." The former Massachusetts governor said the upcoming presidential election is about "the soul of America."

Romney said Mr. Obama has seen a steady unemployment rate and a decrease in median income.

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Local
6:45 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

NCAA Head: “Death Penalty" Possible, Lawyer Thinks Unlikely

The president of the NCAA said he isn't ruling out the possibility of shutting down the Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, but a well-known sports lawyer said he thinks it is unlikely that will happen.

In an interview Monday night on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show, NCAA President Mark Emmert said he doesn't want to "take anything off the table" if the NCAA determines penalties against Penn State are warranted. Emmert said he's "never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university."

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Local
6:30 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

New State Law to Promote Equity for Girls in High School Sports

Local women's rights activists are celebrating a new state law that requires every Pennsylvania public school to report the size, scope, and budget of each of its sports programs.

Women's Law Project Attorney Susan Frietsche said the new law will shed light on schools' efforts to comply with Title IX, the 1972 federal law that requires equal spending on male sports and female sports in grade schools and colleges.

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Local
6:21 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

50% Fewer “Summer Dreamers”

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Economy
5:45 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

U.S. Voters Rate Manufacturing Job Creation as Top Economic Priority

A new poll released by the American Alliance of Manufacturing finds a majority of likely voters list jobs and, more specifically, manufacturing jobs, as a top priority. 53% of those surveyed rated manufacturing as most important to the overall strength of the American economy.

"Voters are hearing more about manufacturing from a variety of sources, but they feel little is getting done. Manufacturing is seen as a critical and irreplaceable part of the economy and our place in the world," said Mark Mellman, CEO of the Mellman Group.

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Arts
5:34 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Bill Bodine

The Frick Art & Historical Center's Director says in a good museum, as in a good book, "each object has a story to tell."

Bill Bodine recommends:

Edmund DeWaal, The Hare With Amber Eyes

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Local
5:30 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

PA Legislator Pushes For Increased Children's Advocacy Centers Funding

Specialized child abuse treatment facilities in Pennsylvania could get a boost if one lawmaker's long-advocated proposal gets traction this year. State Representative Julie Harhart (R-Lehigh) said the 21 Children's Advocacy Centers in the commonwealth need more funding, judging by the rate of reported child abuse.

"Just in 2011 there were over 3,400 substantiated cases of child abuse in Pennsylvania, and over 50% of the child abuse cases, which the Department of Public Welfare classified as substantiated, classified as sexual abuse," Harhart said.

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Local
2:24 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

NCAA Head Won't Rule Out “Death Penalty” for Penn State.

The president of the NCAA says he isn't ruling out the possibility of shutting down the Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

In a PBS interview Monday night, NCAA President Mark Emmert said he doesn't want to "take anything off the table" if the NCAA determines penalties against Penn State are warranted.

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Local
9:15 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Touts Bio-Based Economy

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack brought his message of rural revitalization to Pittsburgh Monday. The former Governor of Iowa spoke before the National Association of Counties' convention, where he outlined four cornerstones on which the rural economy will grow.

Secretary Vilsack told the elected officials that the Agriculture department is stressing "production agriculture," which he says is more efficient than ever before and more efficient than in any other country.

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Economy
8:07 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Corbett Touts Ethane Cracker Tax Credit, Business Tax Changes

Governor Tom Corbett toured the US Steel Clairton Plant on Monday, taking the opportunity to praise the pro-business aspects of the new state budget.

Corbett said until the current budget year, companies had been paying more in taxes the more employees and property they'd had in Pennsylvania.

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Local
7:45 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

After-School Groups Collaborate for Community Service

Since 2006, local after-school programs gathered and collaborated for one week to work on community service activities and share resources. This year, the Greater Pittsburgh Afterschool Consortium (GPAC) has lined up 700 to 1,000 children from 10 after-school programs in the Pittsburgh area across Beaver and Allegheny Counties to participate.

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Transportation
7:30 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Monongahela Lock and Dam 4 at Charleroi Closes

Mon River traffic shut down this morning for scheduled repairs to Lock and Dam 4 at Charleroi, which should be completed August 3rd.

This work is patchwork, not the construction of new locks that was supposed to be completed in 2004 but now may not see funding until 2024 or 2025, according to Dan Jones of the Army Corps of Engineers.

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Environment
6:30 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Local Organizations Say EPA Should Raise Quality By Reducing Soot

Representatives of several Pittsburgh organizations gathered today on the South Side's Riverwalk Trail in advance of a public hearing in Philadelphia Tuesday at which the federal Environmental Protection Agency will be urged to tighten air quality standards.

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Health
11:00 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Extended Hours At Senior Cooling Centers Not Straining City Budget

With the recent record-setting temperatures across the region, senior centers throughout the city of Pittsburgh have extended their hours of operation to provide a respite to elderly residents.

Pittsburgh senior citizens 60 years of age or older can find relief from the heat in one of the Cooling Centers when temperatures reach a "real feel" of 90 degrees or warmer.

Since the beginning of the month, record daily high temperatures have been set four times: 94° F on July 1; 97° F on July 4; 98° F on July 6; and 99° F on July 7.

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Local
7:00 am
Mon July 16, 2012

New Commission Will Help Determine Schooling Needs Of Homeless Children

The phrase "back to school" could mean a whole lot more for many in Allegheny County. A new law signed by Governor Corbett Thursday will create a commission under the State Department of Education to study the demographics and school needs of homeless children.

The group will have 18 months to conduct its study and make recommendations on how to best educate children who are currently living in the streets. Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny County), the sponsor of Senate Bill 157, said it is better to address the issue now rather than later.

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Health
7:00 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Law Requires Dental Insurance to Cover General Anesthesia for Some Patients

A bill passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature and signed by Governor Tom Corbett requires insurance companies to cover the cost of general anesthesia for young children and patients with disabilities.

"If they can't be handled in a normal dental setting then their situation just gets worse and worse and worse, and then you have to deal with infection and all sorts of things that have occurred because a small cavity wasn't taken care of," said Dr. Bernie Dishler, president of the Pennsylvania Dental Association.

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Transportation
7:00 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Two Thirds of Mon Fayette Expressway Completed

Today marks the opening of another section of the Mon/Fayette Expressway that completes the 18-mile stretch between Uniontown and Brownsville. The 4-year long project makes 60 miles of continuous highway from I-68 in Morgantown, WV to Route 51 in Jefferson Hills.

Tom Fox, Public Information Manager for the Western Region Office of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, said this portion of the highway extends from U.S. Route 119 in Uniontown to Route 88 in Washington County.

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Local
8:15 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Freeh Report Recommendations Evaluated

In the wake of the report closing the internal probe into Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse allegations, the university is now considering the more than 100 recommendations made by investigators.

They include specific suggestions to practice more transparency throughout the university, including its administration, athletic department, and Board of Trustees.

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