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Science & Technology
8:15 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

CMU Creates Virtual Observatory from U.S. Steel Tower View

Carnegie Mellon University is offering free sightseeing visits to the roof of the U.S. Steel Tower.

Well, sort of.

Students and staff at CMU's Entertainment Technology Center have constructed a virtual world in which the one-acre space atop the skyscraper becomes an entertainment destination.

David Bear of CMU's STUDIO for Creative Inquiry said visitors to the "High Point Pittsburgh" website can wander through a three-story glass enclosure that includes a stage, a gallery, a restaurant, and even a green space.

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Arts
8:00 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Cultural Trust Gives Sneak Peek At 2012 Arts Festival

People who were passing through Point State Park on Monday morning may have been tapping their feet a little more than usual, as they got a preview of things to come at this year's annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

One of the new attractions at this year's festival will include a day entirely devoted to Bluegrass music.

Marguerite Jarrett Marks, who oversees the programming for the Three Rivers Arts Festival, previewed all the unique festivities, art and entertainment that will be at this year's festival; which runs from June 1-10.

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Local
8:00 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

School District Wants Sandusky Subpoena Tossed

A central Pennsylvania school district on Monday asked the judge overseeing Jerry Sandusky's child sex-abuse case to throw out a defense subpoena seeking information that pertains to an alleged victim of the former Penn State assistant football coach.

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Local
7:49 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

University of Pittsburgh Subject of “Anonymous” YouTube Threat

The global cyber security and privacy activist group "Anonymous" has taken aim at the University of Pittsburgh. In a video posted on YouTube the group claims it has hacked into the university's computer system and has downloaded personal information about Pitt students, employees and alumni.

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Local
7:10 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Coalition Demands State Intervention in Highmark/UPMC Dispute

Scores of activists gathered in Market Square on Monday to clamor for government mediation in the contract dispute between Highmark and UPMC.

The Coalition for Health Care Choice wants state legislators to draft a bill that would require healthcare provider UPMC to return to contract talks with health insurer Highmark. Legislators have already written such a bill, but it is languishing in a Senate committee after passing the Pennsylvania House.

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Local
6:19 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Mayor Honors “Community Champion” and “Employee Champion”

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl honored two individuals at the Living Legend Honors Luncheon today for their involvement with the DiverseCity365 initiative launched in 2007, which is aimed at creating a more multicultural workplace environment for city jobs.

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Health
6:00 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Grace Period for School Immunizations Extended by Two Weeks

Families were given an eight-month period from the beginning of the school year to make sure their children are fully vaccinated. But enough students were not in compliance that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has extended the deadline by two weeks.

"Two weeks depends on the school district. It's eight months from the start date of school," said Department of Health Spokeswoman Christine Cronkright. "In some school districts, that day is coming today; some, it's tomorrow; it depends on when that school district began school."

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Environment
3:57 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Recent Rains Lift Water Withdrawal Suspensions, More Could Come

With last week's rains in northeastern Pennsylvania, the record low water levels in the Susquehanna River Basin have recovered and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) has lifted its order to 10 natural gas drilling companies to halt withdrawals.

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Environment
7:00 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Drought Conditions Stall Water Withdrawals for Fracking

Record low water levels in the Susquehanna River Basin have forced a halt to water removal by natural gas drilling companies.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses a mixture of water and chemicals shot deep into the ground with massive force to fracture rock shale and release the natural gas contained inside. According to a report from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), the drought conditions of this spring have temporarily suspended 17 different water withdrawals, impacting 10 drilling companies in Bradford, Luzerne, Lycoming, Susquehanna and Tioga Counties.

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Arts
7:00 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Pennsylvania Allows Vintage Plates for Vintage Cars

Owners of antique and classic cars are now allowed to place time period-correct vintage license plates on their vehicles. In other words, House Bill 1203, signed into law on Thursday, allows the car owner to use the license plate from the era in which their car was made.

State Representative John Lawrence (R-Chester) explains that the legislation does not change anything about the registration or use of antique or classic cars.

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Arts
7:00 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Recognizing The Youth Artists Of Pittsburgh

For more than 25 years, the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild has been a champion for youth, art and education in Pittsburgh. In the past, MCG has hosted an annual juried arts exhibition where talented students from the Pittsburgh Public School system competed for accolades and awards. Now, MCG is expanding the competition so more students can compete.

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Local
7:00 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Game Commission Survey Profiles Pennsylvania Deer Hunters

A survey recently released by the Pennsylvania Game Commission measures the traits, tactics and attitudes of whitetail deer hunters in the Commonwealth.

After reviewing thousands of responses, the Game Commission got a glimpse into the demographics of the state's 700,000 deer hunters. The average Pennsylvania deer hunter is about 47 years old, and has been hunting for about 29 years.

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Local
8:14 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

EPA Agreement Means Safer Drinking Water on Amtrak Trains

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Amtrak have entered into an agreement that is aimed at making sure drinking water is safe on all passenger cars. Random monitoring of drinking water has been in place since the 1980s, now an enforceable agreement will be in place for the next five years to enhance the level of protection.

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Local
7:02 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Pittsburgh Teacher Union Won’t Negotiate Seniority Rights in Furloughs

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers will not discuss with Superintendent Linda Lane the possibility of leaving seniority out of furlough considerations. Earlier this week the Pittsburgh School Board voted to direct Dr. Lane to work with the union to change the current furlough process, omitting seniority rights as a determining factor. Union President Nina Esposito-Visgitis said that's not an option, and the language in the school code and collective bargaining agreement is clear when it comes to the furlough process, and should stay as is.

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Environment
5:56 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Air Pollution Better But Still Bad

The American Lung Association's State of the Air Report shows the Pittsburgh metro area is the sixth most polluted in the country for fine particle pollution and twentieth for ozone pollution.

Fine particles are inhaled deeply into the lungs and can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma. Ozone irritates the lungs and is especially harmful to the young, the elderly, and outdoor exercisers.

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Transportation
3:55 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Beginning of the End for the Port Authority?

In the 48-year history of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, never has it faced a bigger decision and potentially even bigger fallout.

The PAT board of directors reluctantly voted Friday to cut service by 35%, which officials said would result in a loss of at least 40,000 of its 225,000 riders.

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Government
1:41 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Long-time PA House Republican Hopeful for Primary Win; Awaiting Absentee Ballot Count

Five state House incumbents have lost their seats in the primary, according to the latest vote counts. But one longtime Republican lawmaker is holding out until the absolute last vote is counted.

Rick Geist has been in the Legislature for 33 years, and if you thought his Tuesday night concession speech was the last word, well, think again. The House Transportation Committee chairman is down by 196 votes to Republican opponent John McGinnis. But there are some-470 absentee ballots that have yet to be counted.

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Local
12:05 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Pennsylvania Legislature's Reserve $184M Last Year

An annual financial audit of the Pennsylvania Legislature expected to be approved next week says lawmakers' reserve cash cushion was almost $184 million last June 30.

The chairman of the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission, Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R-Lancaster), on Thursday confirmed the figure in a copy of the preliminary financial audit obtained by The Associated Press.

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Local
9:00 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Murphy Sees Hope for 911th in National Guard Negotiations

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) is hoping that a system-wide restoration of funds originally cut from the Air National Guard budget could open the door for the 911th Airlift Wing to be saved. According to Murphy, the Air Force is restoring about $400 million to the Air National Guard because it made cuts without input from various governors.

Murphy said because some governors were able to successfully plead their case, the Air Force might be open to more talks.

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Local
9:00 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

State Agency Believes New Natural Gas Court Ruling Is Too Vague

The Public Utility Commission says a state court needs to be clearer about its decision to delay implimintation of parts of Pennsylvania's new Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling law.

Earlier this month, Commonwealth Court ordered an injunction on the portions of Act 13 that restrict local drilling rules.

PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said the agency was left wondering how to continue its job of overseeing and implementing the law.

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Local
9:00 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Pittsburgh Explores Creative Ways to Increase Revenue

Going green is often thought of as an expense-adding option, but the city of Pittsburgh is thinking of it as one of the ways to raise revenue without raising taxes. Pittsburgh City Council met today with Active Municipal Marketing to discuss different ways to find new revenue and sponsorship opportunities. Pittsburgh has been contracting with the company since 2010. The contract was one of the results of a Market Based Revenue Opportunities Task force created in 2006.

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Local
8:56 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Local Nonprofit Fights Cyber Crime Worldwide

The National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, is strengthening its international partnerships to combat global cyber crime, which is now at an all time high.

NCFTA President and CEO Ronald Plesco, Jr. said the group exists to do three things: identify cyber crimes, share intelligence between corporations and law enforcement, and neutralize cyber threats. NCFTA was established in 1997 and has since amassed 1,200 partners in public and private sectors.

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Health
8:31 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Health Care Improvement Group Applauds Work of Health Care Cost Containment Council

A report this week from The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) showed that more than 10 percent of those released from hospitals in Pennsylvania are readmitted within 30 days and that means a huge cost for taxpayers. Readmissions for Medicare patients alone accounted for more than a half billion dollars in spending in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

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Economy
6:53 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Foreclosure Filings Rise Sharply in Pittsburgh Region During First 3 Months of 2012

Foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2012 increased in 26 of the nation's 50 largest metro areas, and Pittsburgh led the way.

"We saw a 49% quarterly increase in foreclosure activity in Pittsburgh, up to about 2,300 properties with foreclosure filings in the first quarter, up from about 1,500 in the previous quarter," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, a firm that watches foreclosure data national.

The large jump is due in large part to foreclosure filings, which start the whole process.

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Local
6:32 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Sex Trafficking a Growing Problem in the Pittsburgh Region

Human trafficking is one of the largest criminal enterprises in the world, affecting every country and cities large and small. Here in Pittsburgh, efforts are underway to combat the growing problem, but lawmakers have been slow to react and police are not always properly trained.

There are no hard and fast statistics when it comes to human trafficking in the U.S. It's a hard crime to track and prosecute, and many of those affected are either not aware they are victims, or are uncooperative with authorities.

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