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Government
6:58 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Bill Aimed at Making it Easier for Military Spouses to Transfer Out of State Professional Licenses.

In the hopes of making it easier for military spouses to continue to work, Pennsylvania Representative Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) has introduced a bill that would streamline the process of transferring out-of-state professional licenses into the Keystone State. About one third of military spouses in the workforce are in careers that require licensure.

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Government
1:08 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Police Bemoan Text Ban Loophole

The law prohibiting writing and sending text messages from behind the wheel was popular, passing with all but a handful of votes in both the state House and the Senate. 

But just because it sailed through the General Assembly doesn’t mean it was a good law, say police who find their hands tied when they try to cite someone for a texting violation.

If the driver says she wasn’t texting, but simply using her phone in another way, the $50 fine isn’t warranted.  The ban doesn’t apply to using a handheld cell phone while driving.

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Government
12:41 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Critics Find Problems in New ID Card Process

The Department of State’s new voter ID card hasn’t even been available a week yet.  The latest account, from close of business Tuesday, shows that 65 have been issued statewide.  But critics say they’re concerned a devil lurks in the details.

The Committee of Seventy, an advocacy group that has been opposed to the state’s new photo requirement at the polls from the get-go, has raised concerns that getting a DOS voter ID won’t be such a simple undertaking for Pennsylvania-born residents. 

Why?  The answer is somewhat involved.

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Local
11:57 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Poland Hopes to Frack Shale Deposits

Ask Poles how they feel about fracking for natural gas and responses are mixed. They hope for big money and free flowing gas. They recognize legal, environmental and societal concerns, but ask them why fracking for homegrown gas is important and the answer is the same: energy independence.

Poles from all walks of life say if they can get to the natural gas that geologists and energy companies say is trapped deep underground, Poland would be free from reliance on its neighbors to the east — Russians.

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Economy
11:56 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Amazon.com to Begin Collecting PA Sales Tax

Beginning Saturday, Amazon.com Inc. will start collecting Pennsylvania sales tax on orders that are shipped to the state, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The online retail giant had previously refused to register to collect Pennsylvania's 6 percent levy on its orders. But a spokesman said the company reversed itself because a state directive requiring it takes effect Saturday.

"We believe that customers (in Pennsylvania) will continue to come to Amazon because we offer the best prices with or without sales tax," said the spokesman, Scott Stanzel.

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Government
9:35 am
Thu August 30, 2012

A Test Drill in Lesniowice

Poland has the same kinds of natural gas shale formations we have here in Pennsylvania. Many Poles hope hydraulic fracturing technology and the resulting release of natural gas will bring the country energy independence and a financial boom, but also like here in Pennsylvania, a number of Poles have a not-in-my-backyard attitude toward the developments. 

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Government
9:06 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Pennsylvania Environmental Group Applauds New Vehicle Emissions Standards

United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood this week announced new emissions standards that will nearly double current average fuel efficiency by 2025. Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) welcomed the announcement, calling it a great success for the economy and for public health.

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Government
7:47 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

County Controller Outlines Potential PAT Revenues

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said the county transit agency could be doing more to earn itself money.

Wagner said she thinks $10 million per year is a conservative estimate of the amount the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) is "leaving on the table."

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Health
7:13 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Steelers, UPMC Urge Young Athletes “Don’t Hit the Head, Don’t Use the Head” in Play

In an effort to raise awareness about and prevent concussions, Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin is sharing one of the team’s mantras – “don’t hit the head, don’t use the head,” to young football players in the region.

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Local
6:19 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Terrell Johnson to Get New Murder Trial Next Week

A Hazelwood man will get a new trial next Tuesday in the 1994 murder case for which he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Terrell Johnson, now in his mid-thirties, will be tried again for the gunshot murder of Verna Robinson on July 21, 1994. Both prosecution and defense will each bring forward at least one new witness.

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Government
4:40 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Reaction from the GOP Convention

A Pittsburgh area delegate is pleased with the GOP National Convention so far, calling it "amazing."

Melissa Haluszczak, of Coraopolis,  is one of 72 delegates chosen to attend the convention from Pennsylvania.  She said each speaker Tuesday had a different perspective.  Former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum focused on social conservative issues while Anne Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took a different approach.

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Government
11:52 am
Wed August 29, 2012

DePasquale Signs 'Majority Party' Pledge

A relatively new political action committee focused on marrying state public policy to polling data has just gotten its first statewide candidate to sign on.

Eugene DePasquale, a state Representative from York County and the Democratic candidate for state Auditor General, put permanent pen to large, demonstrative paper today in the Capitol and aligned himself with the mission of The Majority Party PA. 

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Education
9:12 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Pitt-Johnstown Breaks Ground on Nursing and Health Sciences Building

Construction is underway at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on a $12 million building that will serve as the new home to nursing and STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The building will house 11 labs for chemistry and biology as well as a nursing simulation lab.

Bob Knipple, Pitt-Johnstown Associate Vice-President for Institutional Advancement, said the building is a result of need for space on campus.

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Local
8:18 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Ex-US Sen. Specter Says He Has Cancer Again

Former Sen. Arlen Specter confirmed Tuesday that he is fighting cancer again, calling the latest diagnosis "another battle I intend to win."

The 82-year-old Specter issued a brief statement through his Philadelphia office. A family spokesman reached by The Associated Press declined to comment on the type of cancer or confirm news reports that he had been hospitalized.

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Education
8:02 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

All Pitt Students who Complete Prep Program Guaranteed an Internship as Part of New Initiative

In an increasingly competitive job market, the University of Pittsburgh is trying to give its students a leg up by ensuring they can secure an internship. Starting this fall, any registered Pitt undergraduate on the Pittsburgh campus will be eligible to participate in the Internship Preparation Program (IPP).

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Health
7:50 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Surplus Suture Wanted

A Pittsburgh-based international medical relief agency is calling on hospitals to donate surgical suture kits to prevent surgical delays and deaths in countries including Malawi, Jamaica, and Bolivia. For the past 23 years, Global Links has provided medical materials for resource-poor countries, and while large amounts of suture have already been donated, there is still a need for more.

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Health
7:05 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Highmark Updates Takeover Request to State Insurance Dept.

Highmark has sent the Pennsylvania Insurance Department an updated version of its request to take over local healthcare providers.  The new plan increases the cost estimate to $1 billion due to the addition of another hospital takeover option and new physician agreements.

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Government
9:32 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Ravenstahl Touts Pittsburgh Successes in Washington D.C.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was one of nine speakers from around the U.S. addressing the White House Forum on Urban Innovation today. He was asked to discuss the city’s successes in job creation, economic improvement, and education, most specifically the Pittsburgh Promise.

“While the entire story was well-received I think the focus and the majority of the questions I was asked was about the Promise, how we did it, how we started it, how we funded it, how it’s working, and the like, and there seemed to be a lot of interest in that program,” said Ravenstahl.

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Government
8:30 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

PA GOP Sen. Candidate says no Exception on Abortion

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The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania said Monday that his opposition to abortion under any circumstances was something his own family had to deal with when his daughter became pregnant out of wedlock.

Tom Smith, the nominee running against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, made the comment after being asked how he would argue to keep the baby if a daughter or granddaughter were to become pregnant as a result of rape.

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Government
8:10 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Massachusetts Democrats Bash Romney on Education, Jobs

A pair of Massachusetts state representatives is touring Pennsylvania with a Democratic bus tour, criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his record as Governor of their home state.

Massachusetts Representatives James Murphy (D-Weymouth) and Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy) joined up with local Democrats outside the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers building on Monday to bash Romney's policies on education and job creation.

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Government
7:02 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

New Voter ID Cards Will Be Available Starting This Week

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A new photo identification card, strictly for voting purposes in Pennsylvania, will be available starting this week. It was created in response to the state’s voter ID law, which requires voters to show an acceptable form of photo identification before casting their ballots.

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Education
5:14 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Many Health Issues, Including HIV/AIDS, To Be Discussed At Local Symposium

The rising rates of infection of HIV/AIDS in the Pittsburgh area will be one of the main topics discussed Tuesday at a symposium in Oakland hosted by Educating Teens about HIV/AIDS, Inc (ETAH).

"Achieving Health Equity for Minority Boys & Young Men": Focus on Boys & Young Men Symposium, Part II” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. August 28 in the University Club in Pittsburgh.

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Local
5:08 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

New Pitt Football Coach Excited for Season Opener

Paul Chryst will walk the sidelines as a first-time head coach when his Pitt Panthers take on Youngstown State at Heinz Field this Saturday night.

The former Wisconsin offensive coordinator said he's glad to make the transition from the booth to the field, but he's more concerned with Pitt's performance in its season opener. Chryst said he's trying to execute the game with as few mistakes as possible.

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Government
4:50 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Ferlo Trying to Stop Highmark Premiums Hike

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Highmark is trying to raise premiums for 11 health insurance plans, but one state lawmaker is trying to put brakes on the company's request.

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Government
4:45 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Battle over PA Funeral Director Law Continues – State Ordered to Pay $1.1 Million in Legal Fees

This past spring, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III struck down 11 provisions of the law that governs Pennsylvania’s funeral homes. The judge, last week, finalized his ruling, ordering the state to pay more than $1.1 million in legal fees and barring the state from enforcing sections of the law he deemed unconstitutional.

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