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Environment
6:07 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Elk Hunting Season Coming Up

Each year thousands of Pennsylvanians and out-of-staters apply for a Pennsylvania elk hunting license, but only a lucky group of 65 are awarded with one.

The state’s elk population currently resides in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton and Elk Counties in northwestern Pennsylvania.  In 1913  the Pennsylvania Game Commission reintroduced elk into the state by bringing them in from Yellowstone National Park.

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Government
6:06 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

PA Missing Out on Drilling Taxes

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The Public Utility Commission reported this week that revenues from the state's impact fee on Marcellus Shale gas drillers totalled $206 million, but a liberal-leaning policy group says the commonwealth could have collected tens of millions more if it imposed a shale gas tax.   The impact fee is a flat amount assessed on wells drilled in the state with the revenues designated to offset negative effects of the drilling on municipalities and counties. 

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Government
2:34 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Former Senator Jane Orie to Appeal Prison Sentence in Corruption Case

Former state Senator Jane Orie has filed notice that she's appealing her 2½- to 10-year state prison sentence for campaign corruption and forgery charges.

Orie's two-page notice to the state Superior Court does not specify why she's appealing the sentence she received in June following her conviction on charges that she used her state-funded legislative staff to do political fundraising and campaign work.

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Government
8:23 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

City Council, Labor Leaders Push for 'Second Bill of Rights'

Pittsburgh City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to endorse a "Second Bill of Rights" that calls on the federal government to guarantee American citizens additional rights related to employment, voting, education and healthcare.

The nonbinding Will of Council document will be sent to the White House and to Pennsylvania's congressional delegation, according to sponsoring Councilwoman Darlene Harris. She said the members of the state legislature would also receive a copy.

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Environment
7:40 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Deer Disease Confirmed In Beaver County

Two deer have died from a disease not seen in southwestern Pennsylvania since 2007.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission on Monday confirmed epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) to be the cause of death for two deer in Beaver County. EHD is a disease contracted by deer through the bites of very small midges, and causes massive hemorrhaging.

Game Commission spokesperson Jerry Feaser says this disease usually results in death for the deer.

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Health
7:14 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Pittsburgh Healthcare System 1 of 40 in U.S. for Vet Research Project

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All veterans who receive healthcare from the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System have the opportunity to be one of potentially one million veterans participating in a research project at 40 locations nationwide, the Million Veteran Program (MVP).  Dr. Elif Sonel, a medical physician with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, says MVP is a national, voluntary research program.

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Government
6:43 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

City Council Considers Special Billboard Tax

A ten percent tax on billboard advertising in Pittsburgh could raise up to $4 million for the city, if Pittsburgh City Council passes a new bill introduced on Tuesday.

Sponsoring Councilwomen Darlene Harris and Natalia Rudiak said the tax revenue would be put toward the purchase of police cars, which they said must be replaced every two or three years. However, Rudiak said she could not recall if the legislation included language to codify that usage, and the text of the bill was not available on Council's website at the time of this article's publication.

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Local
5:50 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

VP Biden Visits Flight 93 Memorial

Ceremonies in New York City, Washington, D.C., and the western Pennsylvania field are a reminder that the nation hasn't forgotten survivors and relatives 11 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday.

"We wish we weren't here. We wish we didn't have to be here. We wish we didn't have to commemorate any of this," Biden told relatives and guests at the memorial for United Airlines Flight 93, the jet on which passengers fought hijackers for control amid the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

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Government
5:48 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Bill Would Make Home Invasion a Distinct Crime in Pennsylvania

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One Philadelphia state senator is hoping to make a distinct crime out of home invasions, in response to a spate of recent home invasions in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The State Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing in Philadelphia on Thursday to gather input on the legislation from State Senator Mike Stack (D-Phila.).

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Government
5:47 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Pitt Law Professor Thinks Law Enforcement Can Do More

The FBI reports that 322, 537 crimes were committed in Pennsylvania in 2010 with 14.4% being violent offenses.  According to a University of Pittsburgh law professor, more scientific methods could have been used by police to investigate those crimes.

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Transportation
3:57 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Morning Traffic Headaches For Motorists Using Veterans Bridge, Bigelow Boulevard

The most recent phase of the $36 million Crosstown Boulevard/Veterans Bridge Preservation Projects is causing morning rush hour traffic snarls for North Hills and Bigelow Boulevard commuters, and officials are looking at ways to ease the congestion.

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Government
2:26 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Corbett Tries to Free Small Businesses of Overregulation

The governor is promising a whole new ball game for small businesses who he says are trapped under the weight of state regulations. 

After touring a Lebanon County manufacturing company Monday, Governor Corbett outlined new ground rules for state regulators. They’ll have to embark on a more thorough exploration of how regulations, while still in the proposal stage, could ask too much of small businesses.

The legislation being pushed by Corbett has been stopped twice before by former Governor Ed Rendell, something Corbett said illustrates a backwards approach to governing. 

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Local
11:54 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Pennsylvania’s Impact Fee Will Generate More Than $200 Million

Penn­syl­va­nia has col­lected $197 mil­lion in impact fee rev­enue, and will take in nearly $206 mil­lion, once 23 energy com­pa­nies pay the out­stand­ing bal­ances they owe the state.

The $206 mil­lion fig­ure, released by the Pub­lic Util­ity Com­mis­sion Mon­day after­noon, mir­rors pre­dic­tions StateIm­pact Penn­syl­va­nia made in Feb­ru­ary, when the $50,000-per-horizontal well pay­ment scheme was finalized.

Environment
9:21 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Shale Gas Potential Touted at Energy Conference

Representatives of businesses, labor unions, and all levels of government gathered at the 2012 Energy and Manufacturing Summit on Pittsburgh's South Side on Monday to praise the job-creating power of the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry.

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Arts
9:05 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Allegheny County Suspends Celebration Of Lights At Hartwood Acres

Christmas will still come, but the Celebration of Lights at Hartwood Acres Park has been suspended indefinitely due to an increase in costs and a decline in sponsorships. The decision came as a result of the county’s limited financial resources after taxpayers had to cover most of the $1.5 million cost last year.

Amie Downs, Director of Communications for Allegheny County, said there is a chance the show could go on, but only if sponsors “come out of the woodwork” over the next few months.

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Government
6:38 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Current, Former DEP Secretaries Joust over National Energy Policy

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Michael Krancer argued in favor of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's energy policy at an energy summit in Pittsburgh on Monday, while former DEP chief John Hanger touted the Obama administration's energy platform.

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Government
5:25 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

PA Pension Panel Floats Idea of Controversial Bond

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If you owed 40 billion dollars on a constitutionally protected contract, you might appear to be grasping at straws, too.  That’s what it sounded like to some in attendance as the chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Employee Retirement Commission, Anthony Salomone, brought up the pension obligation bond. 

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Health
5:19 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Peters Doctor to Pay Insurers $.7 Million over Prescriptions

A Pittsburgh-area physician has agreed to repay two insurance companies $700,000 for covering powerful narcotic painkillers that he pleaded guilty to overprescribing to dozens of patients.

McMurray physician Oliver Herndon pleaded guilty in May and is will be sentenced Sept. 24. As part of his plea agreement, he's expected to serve 11 years and three months in federal prison, though a federal judge has yet to formally approve the deal.

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Government
7:35 am
Mon September 10, 2012

PEMA Pleased With Response To Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee

One year after flooding from Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) says clean-up efforts in the commonwealth aren’t done yet.
Cory Angell, a spokesman for PEMA,  says more than $1.7 million have gone toward repairing public property damaged by last year’s storms.

“Currently our numbers reflect that there are 40 public assistance projects.  Now that’s the infrastructure," said Angell.  "That would be your roads and your bridges or municipal buildings, things like that.” 

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Local
7:35 am
Mon September 10, 2012

CMU Partners With U.S. Military Academy To Tackle Amputation Complications

A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University is developing new techniques to prevent heterotopic ossification in soft tissue, a potential side-effect from orthopedic surgeries and amputations.

Heterotopic ossification, or H-O, is a condition where bone tissue grows outside of the skeleton. Dr. Jeffrey Hollinger, head of CMU’s Bone Tissue Engineering Center, says this unusual side-effect is a common occurrence in service members who lose a limb.

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Environment
7:35 am
Mon September 10, 2012

September is Local Food Month in Southwestern Pennsylvania

In an effort to boost the profile of local farmers and ranchers, September is being celebrated as local food month in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Throughout the month, activities, contests, restaurant offerings, and more will highlight food that’s grown or raised in the region.

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Government
7:35 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Potential Changes For Property Taxes Statewide

One state House member sees an opening for his proposal to switch local governments reliance from property taxes to levies on purchases and income.

Representative Seth Grove (R-York)  is calling for giving local governments the power to choose to freeze property taxes in favor of a levy on income taxes.

He says his legislation would give voters the option of allowing their counties to levy a one percent sales tax that would gradually wean its local governments off of property taxes. 

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Arts
7:35 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Tom Sweterlitsch

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Pittsburgh writer and librarian Tom Sweterlitsch has wide-ranging reading interests in fiction. Lately he's been reading:

 

Stewart O'Nan, Songs for the Missing

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Science & Technology
7:35 am
Mon September 10, 2012

CEA Selects Pittsburgh To Host Energy And Manufacturing Summit

Prominent government, business, and labor leaders gather in Pittsburgh today to discuss the importance of investing in the energy and manufacturing industries as part of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) 2012 Pennsylvania Energy and Manufacturing Summit.

Mike Mikus, Executive Director of the CEA Mid-Atlantic region, said this meeting will be similar to the Colorado and Gulf Coast Energy Summits, which were held in February and March.

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Government
10:35 am
Sun September 9, 2012

Pennsylvania State House Democrat Continues To Push Cell Phone Ban

A state House Democrat is following up the texting-while-driving ban with a proposal to outlaw all hand-held cell phone use behind the wheel.  Representative Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) acknowledged his plan is unlikely to come up for a vote, but said it should be a priority.  The House returns to session September 24, but there are only eight scheduled voting days remaining in this session.

The 15-term legislator faces a Republican challenger in the November election, but Markosek says his interest in tightening the distracted driving laws isn’t occasioned by the campaign season.

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