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Economy
5:01 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Corbett: PA Is "Reaping a Bounty" From Drilling

Governor  Tom Corbett today attacked anti-drilling activists at a Marcellus Shale industry conference in Philadelphia.  Corbett praised drillers for creating thousands of jobs and he called fracking opponents “unreasoning.”


"Our opponents agree that we can land a rover on Mars, but that can’t bring themselves to think that we can safely drill a mile into our own soil," said Corbett.  "After all the predictions of disaster and the fearful warnings of people with no understanding of the industry, Pennsylvania is reaping a bounty.
"

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Local
2:17 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Penn State Beginning Process To Settle Suits

Penn State President Rodney Erickson says a process is being developed for settling civil suits filed against the university by victims of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Following a student forum Wednesday, Erickson said  the university wants to develop a process "fair to everyone" and to ensure victims are dealt with in a just manner. He said the university hoped to release more details in the near future, however he did not provide a timeline.

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Government
7:35 am
Thu September 20, 2012

City Council Approves Plan to Create City Archives Commission

Pittsburgh City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to give preliminary approval to a bill that would create a Commission on City Archives.
The legislation is up for a final vote on Tuesday.

Sponsoring Councilman Patrick Dowd said the commission would be tasked with establishing a standard practice for archiving across all city departments, which currently have disparate and unofficial policies for storing old government files.  Dowd described the basement of one city building as a multi-story warehouse for "cages and cages" of dusty maps and papers.

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Environment
8:33 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Vote Delayed on New Allegheny County Air Toxics Guidelines

The Allegheny County Board of Health has postponed a vote on guidelines that would be used by the county to decide whether or not to give a permit to companies that will emit pollution into the air.  The guidelines were drafted by a task force comprised of industry representatives, academia, healthcare officials, community members, and environmental groups.  Several supporters urged the board to pass them at their Wednesday meeting, but at the request of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, that vote did not happen.

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Economy
7:24 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Energy Jobs Present Opportunity and Challenge

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The Pittsburgh region will see a growth in energy-related jobs by 2020, according to a workforce analysis presented today by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (ACCD) and the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh, but training workers to fill them will be a challenge.  

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Government
6:59 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Public Hearing Ordered for City Billboard Tax Proposal

Pittsburgh City Council has ordered a public hearing on a proposal to put a ten percent tax on the cost of advertising on billboards.

Council chambers today entertained an animated discussion of the merits and drawbacks of such a tax with members apparently split on the issue.

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Government
6:52 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Better Communications Needed In Emergency Response Network

Emergency responders testified before state lawmakers in Pittsburgh today about proposed changes to Title 35, which is a 34-year old state law covering emergency preparedness.

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Government
5:51 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Settlement In Snow Death Lawsuit

More than two-and-a-half years after a Hazelwood man died while waiting for an ambulance, the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have reached a tentative agreement to settle a lawsuit.  That’s according to the attorney for the family of 50-year old Curtis Mitchell who died from complications of heart disease February 7, 2010.

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Health
4:01 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

New Campaign Aims to Address 'Food Insecurity' in Pittsburgh

A small group of volunteers is raising money to tackle a big problem in the Pittsburgh area: food insecurity, when a family is routinely unsure of where and when it will find its next meal.

The Wake Up Call USA initiative is aiming to raise awareness of the issue with a corps of young volunteers. Three young women set up a table and refrigerator in the lobby of a PPG Place building for the "Skip Your Lunch, Feed a Child" program on Tuesday. A second crew worked at Pitt's Litchfield Towers in Oakland.

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Government
3:24 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Presidential Adviser Speaks on “Smart” Deficit Reduction and Trade with China

The Director of the National Economic Council said it is unfair for China to offer subsidies to auto plants in certain provinces because such sponsorship of automotive exports is suppressing manufacturing in the United States.

Gene Sperling, one of President Obama’s top advisers spoke at Carnegie Mellon University today about the direction of U.S. economic development.  Sperling was a guest on  WESA’s Essential Pittsburgh  and discussed trade issues with China and deficit reduction.

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Economy
3:15 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

$9 Million Renovation of Drake Well Museum Completed

The Marcellus Shale drilling boom is bringing a lot of changes to Pennsylvania. But the drilling itself isn't one of them: the state hosted the world's very first oil well in 1859 in Titusville.

A $9 million renovation of the Drake Well Museum was recently completed.  Some of the museum's more popular exhibits profile the extremes that drillers went to in order to get the oil out of the ground.

StateImpact Pennsylvania's Scott Detrow took a trip to the refurbished museum which tells the story of the first oil rush.

Government
7:35 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Task Force Wants to Stop Death Penalty...Temporarily

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A state Senate task force has sent a request to Governor Tom Corbett requesting a temporary halt to capital punishment until the group’s studies are comprehensive and complete.

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Health
7:35 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Nearly One Third of American Children Obese or Overweight

According to a new report, America is getting fatter.

The number of obese adults, along with related disease rates and health care costs, are on course to increase dramatically in every state in the country over the next 20 years. These statistics come from the new report F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012, released today by Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Environment
7:35 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Beaver Valley Nuclear Plant to Expand Storage Facilities

A regional energy company has announced plans to expand its storage capacity for nuclear waste produced from a Beaver County plant.

FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company said it plans to start construction soon on a $30 million dry storage facility. At least six above-ground bunkers will be built of steel and concrete on the grounds of the company's Beaver Valley Power Station starting this fall, with completion slated for 2014.

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Health
7:13 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

City, County Officials Urge Seniors to get Flu Shots

The national “Flu + You” campaign brought its message to Pittsburgh, stopping at the Homewood Senior Center to urge residents to get vaccinated against influenza. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald were on hand, emphasizing the importance of getting the vaccine.

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Government
6:27 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

PA High Court Vacates Commonwealth Court Ruling on Voter ID

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has sent back to Commonwealth Court a request for an injunction against the state's Voter ID law.  In doing so, the justices vacated the decision by Commonwealth Court that upheld the law that plaintiffs claimed would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters who would have difficulty getting the proper photo identification to be presented at polling places.

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Government
3:14 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Voter ID Gets Easier for Native Pennsylvanians

For registered voters born in Pennsylvania, getting a photo ID card to cast a ballot in November is about to get a little easier.

Native Pennsylvanians who need to confirm their birth certificates using the state’s records will soon be able to do so with one visit to a PennDOT licensing center.

Zack Stalberg, president of the voter advocacy group the Committee of Seventy, said state agencies have eliminated the need for Pennsylvania-born voters to make second trips once their birth records are verified.

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Government
2:30 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Terrance Williams Execution on Course

Convicted murderer Terrance Williams has been denied a request for clemency and his scheduled October third execution remains on track.   Prosecutors say it’s remarkable that, despite many reviews in court, no judge has overturned a death penalty decision for Terrance Williams. He was sentenced to death for a 1984 murder he committed as an 18-year-old.

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Transportation
7:35 am
Tue September 18, 2012

State Police and PennDOT Promote National Child Passenger Safety Week

They are in millions of cars across the country but according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) three out of four child safety seats are not properly installed.  So PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police are again partnering to offer safety seat checkups as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week.

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Government
7:35 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Reapportionment Commission to Consider School Board Election Districts

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A panel charged with redrawing the boundaries for the nine board seats for the Pittsburgh Public Schools district will get public input this evening.  The reapportionment commission appointed by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City Council and Mt. Oliver will use 2010 U.S. Census information to determine what if any changes will be made. 

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Government
8:35 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Rendell Insists Pennsylvania is Still Swing State

Some pundits have already written off Pennsylvania as a swing state, saying the state will easily go for President Barack Obama this election. However, former Governor Ed Rendell is pushing against that tide.

Rendell is using every public appearance he can to warn Obama supporters that Pennsylvania could still swing Republican and go for Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential election. As Rendell advises against complacency, he said the Obama campaign has given him some push-back.

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Government
8:16 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Audit Finds Compliance in Reassessment Contracts – But Says Bar Was Set Too Low

The office of the Allegheny County Controller has been examining the recent property reassessment process for the past four months. Controller Chelsa Wagner said the office found Tyler Technologies, which was the firm contracted to do the reassessments, technically complied with the terms of the contract, but Wagner added, the contract imposed a very low standard of accountability on Tyler.

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Government
5:32 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Foundation Sues to Remove Ten Commandments from Valley High School

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has filed a federal lawsuit against New Kensington-Arnold School District, seeking the removal of a large stone monument depicting the Ten Commandments outside the school's main entrance.

FFRF co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said her group first asked the district to remove the six-foot-tall monument in March, at the request of local families. Gaylor said the letter cited both the First Amendment to the Constitution and a 1980 Supreme Court ruling that prohibited posting the Commandments within high schools.

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Health
10:38 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Watchdog Finds Insurance Coverage Lacking in PA

A new study looking to build a baseline for future evaluations of the federal Affordable Care Act has found some deficiencies in Pennsylvania that at least one group feels need to be improved. 

“Some of the goals of the health care reform law are to provide insurance to more people and basically make the health care system more accessible to people,” said Pennsylvania Partnership for Children Spokesperson Michael Race.  “We wanted to find a way to measure the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, as its implemented, in reaching children and in insuring children.”

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Local
10:35 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Roethlisberger Shines as Steelers Rip Jets 27-10

Showing complete mastery of his new offensive coordinator's complex playbook, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback picked apart the New York Jets in a 27-10 on Sunday that doubled as a reality check for both teams.

Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 of 31 passes for 275 yards and two scores as Pittsburgh (1-1) flattened the Jets (1-1) in the second half.

"Ben is one of the top in the game," said Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace, whose leaping 37-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter broke it open. "I'll ride with him against anybody."

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