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11:00 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Lori Jakiela

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Lori Jakiela is a poet, a memoirist, and a devotee of sparse, unsentimental prose. A few of the books you might encounter in her writing class at Chatham or Pitt-Greensburg:

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

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Government
12:11 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Correction Reform Legislation Passed As Result Of Bipartisan Efforts

Pennsylvania is expected to save approximately $300 million as a result of a bipartisan effort to pass corrections reform legislation. The final component of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) redirects and increases funding for non-violent offender programs while reducing spending on and the number of inmates in state prisons.

The reinvestment portion of the reform was unanimously passed in the Senate and House in the last days of the 2012 session. The first half of the JRI was passed in July 2012. Both have been signed by the governor.

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Economy
12:07 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Pittsburgh Region Has Full Year Of Real Estate Sales Growth

For a 12th straight month there have been year-over-year increases in home sales for the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.  Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties all experienced dollar gains in existing home sales.

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Education
12:07 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Volunteers Needed for Discussions of Social Issues with Pittsburgh Youth

Pittsburgh Cares is calling for volunteers to speak about societal issues with ninth-graders in the Pittsburgh Public School District (PPS).

The fifth annual "9th Grade Nation In-School Roundtable Discussions" will take place in high schools across the city this winter, with adult volunteers moderating discussions amongst freshmen.

Pittsburgh Cares Youth Programs Manager Nina Zappa said the discussion topics vary.

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Government
12:06 am
Mon October 29, 2012

New State Law Meant to Curtail Human Trafficking

In 60 days, Pennsylvania bars, restaurants, massage and nail parlors, and other venues will be required to prominently display a human trafficking hotline number, thanks to a new state law signed last week by Governor Tom Corbett.

Sponsoring state Senator Daylin Leach said many victims of human trafficking are forced into labor or prostitution, most often at these sorts of establishments. Leach said the bill is meant to throw a lifeline to those victims of human trafficking who may feel hopeless.

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Government
12:06 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Is Pittsburgh No Longer "Financially Distressed?"

Update 10:10 a.m.

Due to the severe weather from Hurricane Sandy that's expected to hit the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has postponed the hearing scheduled for 4 o'clock this afternoon in the City Council Chamber on removal of the city of Pittsburgh from Act 47 oversight and lifting of the "financially distressed" designation.

"In light of the declaration of a state of emergency for PA and the danger posed by the pending storm, we are postponing today's Act 47 hearing in Pittsburgh."

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Steelers
10:22 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Steelers Shut Down RG III

The Pittsburgh Steelers turned Robert Griffin III into just another rookie quarterback.

The Steelers swarmed Washington's precocious star Sunday, keeping Griffin in check during a dominant 27-12 victory. Griffin completed just 16 of 34 passes for 177 yards and a score while managing 10 yards rushing.

Ben Roethlisberger had no such issues against Washington's depleted defense, throwing for 222 yards and three touchdowns as the Steelers (4-3) won consecutive games for the first time this season.

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Government
10:00 am
Sun October 28, 2012

County Jail Gets $1.2 Million to Reduce Return Customers

As Allegheny County moves into its third year of a three-year program aimed at reducing recidivism rates, it has learned that it will have more money than it expected to support the effort.  The U.S. Department of Justice Second Chance Act Demonstration Program has increased its grant for the Allegheny County Reentry Initiative to $1.2 million, an increase of $370,000 over last year. 

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Government
7:57 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

Voter I.D Issues Continue

Last week, the  people who brought the protracted legal challenge to the voter I.D law took issue with the state again.

They asked a judge to order the state to stop misleading ads and correct false messages to make sure voters know they don’t need photo ID to vote in November.

They specifically mention outdated mailings and misleading robocalls planned for the very near future.

The judge has given the state a chance to respond, with its deadline one week before Election Day.

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Education
3:16 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

Penn State to Host Conference on Child Sex Abuse

After having its reputation tarnished by a child sexual abuse scandal, Penn State wants to become a national leader in researching and preventing such abuse and sees a conference it's hosting this weekend as a major step toward that goal.

Organizers of the three-day gathering called "Child Sexual Abuse Conference: Traumatic Impact, Prevention and Intervention," hope the event sheds more light on a problem that gained national attention after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sex abuse charges last November.

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Economy
7:35 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Fall Food Drive Underway

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Arts
7:34 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Bruce Springsteen Offering Benefit Concert For Rainbow Kitchen

Bruce Springsteen will take the stage in Pittsburgh Saturday night, but it will not be just another concert. The music icon has partnered with Rainbow Kitchen Community Services to help benefit its food pantry. The organization will be collecting monetary donations and non-perishable food items during the show at the Consol Energy Center.

The Homestead based charity offers several anti-hunger programs and support services for local families focused primarily on helping low-income people to achieve and maintain an improved quality of life and self-sufficiency.

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Government
5:18 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Casey, Smith Spar But Barely Scratch Surface

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey tried to paint his Republican challenger Tom Smith as someone who would worsen partisanship in Congress, while Smith contended he knows better than Casey how to improve the economy, as the two candidates largely stuck to rehearsed scripts in their first and only debate Friday.

The hour-long debate broke little ground in their campaign discussion, and a panel of questioners from WPVI-TV in Philadelphia tried several times to ask questions that would produce more in-depth information.

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Science & Technology
4:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Carnegie Science Center To Host First-Ever Great Pumpkin Smash

What do you do with a jack-o’-lantern after Halloween is over? How about rolling it off the roof of the Carnegie Science Center!

The first ever Great Pumpkin Smash will feature explosive pumpkin-related demos throughout the day and is free with paid general admission.

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Transportation
3:55 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Locals Prepare for "Frankenstorm"

The pre-Halloween hybrid weather monster that federal forecasters call "Frankenstorm" is looking more ominous by the hour for the East Coast, and utilities and local governments are getting ready.

“We actually begin preparing for winter well before the fall months,” said PennDOT District 11 spokesperson Jim Struzzi.  “Right now we are just double checking everything to make sure all the equipment is as it should be.”

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Government
3:18 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Statewide Team Formed to Fight Methadone Abuse

Deaths from methadone overdose increased six-fold between 1999 and 2009 according to Pennsylvania State Senator Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) who sponsored legislation recently signed by the governor, which creates a Methadone Death and Incident Review Team with the goal of reducing deaths and injuries.

The team would review all fatalities in the state where methadone is the primary or secondary cause of death and track methadone-related incidents that cause serious injuries.  That could include sales of methadone outside of a methadone clinic.

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Government
11:47 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Sandusky Questions to Corbett Have Become "Personal"

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Governor Corbett is again finding himself having to defend the handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case by the state Attorney General’s office.

The handling of the case was most recently questioned by the Democratic candidate for state Attorney General. 

Saying the criticism becomes personal after a while, Governor Corbett asked, where’s the evidence of a conspiracy?

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Government
8:40 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

For the 8,500 Local Kids Left Behind, Prison Takes its Toll

Bullying, trust issues, poverty—those are some of the problems that can affect a child whose parent is incarcerated.

The results come from a report released today by a Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation (PCGF) initiative examining how parental incarceration impacts a child.

According to the report, 2.7 million children in the U.S., including 100,000 in Pennsylvania, have a parent or parents in prison.  In Allegheny County, there are 8,500 children who are separated from one or both parents because of imprisonment.

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Environment
8:40 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

$1.6 Million in Grants to Trim Diesel Emissions

The Breathe Project and Allegheny County Health Department are providing $1.6 million to small companies to make their diesel construction vehicles more environmentally friendly.  This is the second round of grants to the Small Construction Contractors Retrofit Program which is operated by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association.

Caren Glotfelty is the senior director of The Heinz Endowments’ Environment Program, which is a Breathe Project coalition sponsor.  She says retrofits can be costly.

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Government
6:13 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

State Takes Election Complaints Online

Registered Pennsylvania voters who see suspect behavior on Election Day or encounter unhelpful poll workers will be able to submit their complaints online for the first time this year.

The Department of State has developed a new section on its website to make it easier to lodge a complaint. But the state’s website is only a clearinghouse for voter beefs.

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Environment
5:50 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Environmental Groups Call for More Oil and Gas Industry Reporting

A group of seventeen environmental groups has taken its fight for more openness in the nation’s oil and gas fields to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In a filing led by the Environmental Integrity Project, the EPA is being asked to include gas extraction and processing in its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements.

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Science & Technology
4:51 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Duquesne Speaker Says America’s Most Trusted Foundations Led Fight for Eugenics

The Rockefeller, Russel Sage, and Carnegie Foundations were some of the biggest supporters of the eugenics movement and they need to apologize for the repercussions of their advocacy, according to William Schambra.

Schambra, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renwal, spoke at Duquesne University’s third annual Pascal Day Wednesday night with a focus on large philanthropic orginizations’ past support for the eugenics movement.

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Environment
4:44 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Air Quality Action Day in Late October?

Pittsburghers unfortunately are used to Air Quality Action Days during the warm summer months—but in late October? The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) forecast a code orange Air Quality Action Day for fine particulate matter for today in the Liberty-Clairton area of Allegheny County.

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Environment
8:32 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

State Loan to Make Schenley Park "Great Jewel"

Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park is getting a little renovation that will move stormwater through the park in a more natural way.

State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) announced the approval of a $617,540 low-interest state loan for a stormwater runoff control project in the park.

Frankel, a member of the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy Board, said the project will be completely green.

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Government
8:18 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Lost Your Medicaid Benefits? You Might Get Them Back

On Friday, the Department of Public Welfare will send out around one hundred thousand letters to Medicaid recipients in Pennsylvania who lost their benefits in the past year telling them they might want to consider reapplying.  They might even get some of their debts covered.

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