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Government
6:20 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

State Senator Wants More Places to Get Voter ID

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Now that a Commonwealth Court judge has denied a request to block Pennsylvania's new Voter ID law from taking effect, State Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) has sent a letter to Governor Corbett asking for more places to be designated for people to obtain proper photo identification needed for the November election.  Fontana suggested the district offices of representatives and senators in the General Assembly be made into places to get voter IDs.

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Government
6:07 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Property Tax Committee Starts Working

A hearing on legislation designed to bring about property tax reform on the local level was held today in Harrisburg.  State Representative Thomas Quigley (R-Montgomery) said the House Select Committee on Property Tax is a bipartisan panel whose members will investigate and review the inner relationship between the current sources of school and local government tax revenue with a focus on property taxes.  

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Government
1:17 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Unemployment is More than a National Debate

The jobs report for last month didn'’t bring good news for Pennsylvania, and the Mitt Romney campaign was quick to use rising unemployment to point the finger at President Obama.  But state Senate Democrats are using those same jobless numbers to criticize the Corbett administration.  Christopher Borick, a pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Lehigh County, says the unemployment rate is problematic for Governor Corbett, but since he’'s only halfway into his term, the focus isn’'t on him.

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Science & Technology
12:44 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Linkage Between Stress Disorder and Concussions Found

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and University of Pittsburgh found a link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and concussions.

Dr.  Anthony Kontos, of Assistant Research Director for the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program said the study involved more than 27,000 U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) personnel.  

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Local
12:44 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Rent, Clothing, Medical Costs Rising in Pittsburgh

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported the Pittsburgh area's Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 4.3 percent from the first half of 2011 to the first half of 2012. The increase was above average, as the national CPI increased by only 2.3 percent.

According to BLS economist Kara Markley, the rising costs are largely due to "core inflation" -- that is, increasing costs for goods other than energy and food.

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Government
12:41 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

House Lawmakers Review Pension Reform Proposals

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Health
12:40 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Health Department Tries To Vaccinate Raccoons

So far this year, four rabid raccoons have been spotted in Allegheny County down from 23 that were found in 2002. To reduce those numbers even further, the Allegheny County Health Department will conduct its 11th annual raccoon rabies vaccine baiting program. From August 20-24, Health Department workers, part of the “Rabies Control Team”, will place nearly 230,000 baits in all municipalities.

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Education
12:40 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Pittsburgh Girls Battle Age-Old Stereotype that Females aren't as Good at Math and Science as Boys

There’s an old notion that girls are not as good at math and science as boys. That thought still persists today even among teachers – according to a study by the University of Texas.  Girls and educators in the Pittsburgh region are working against that stereotype.

“Girls can do anything that guys can do, and maybe even better…especially science,” was the answer given by a group of girls at Carnegie Science Center’s Click! Camp for Girls, when asked if they thought boys were better at math and science.

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Arts
12:30 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Patricia DeMarco

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring. The landmark work by southwestern Pennsylvania native and Chatham University alumna Rachel Carson helped launch the modern environmental movement, and still enjoys a large and avid readership after half a century in print. 

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Transportation
12:16 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Union Approves PAT Contract

Workers of the Pittsburgh-area transit agency have ratified a new four-year contract that will head off job and service reductions.

The 2,300 workers cast their votes on Sunday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The pact includes a wage freeze, more pension contributions by workers, and health care concessions.

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Economy
8:25 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Coal Summit Calls on Legislators

A bi-partisan and multi-faceted summit on the coal industry Friday in Pittsburgh allowed government officials, workers, and corporations to comment on the issues surrounding the burning coal for electricity.  Everything from jobs to clean coal technology was discussed.  There was no clear general consensus, but all seemed to agree coal remains a large industry in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says a national energy policy should work towards clean coal burning.

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Science & Technology
8:09 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

"Tech Belt" Recieves Federal Grant To Boost Manufacturing And Job Creation

A $30 million Defense Department grant has been awarded to a new public-private partnership that includes manufacturers from Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio and West Virginia.  The funds will promote advanced manufacturing technology in the region.

to develop an Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (AMII). The institute will create a plan to promote additive manufacturing technology, advance innovation, and create a workforce capable on meeting industry needs.

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Local
7:52 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Treasure Or Just Old Stuff

An estimated 2,000 people are expected to bring some of their prized possessions to the Heinz History Center Sunday between 10 and 4 for the 5th annual "Pittsburgh's Hidden Treasures."  The center's president Andy Masich said nearly 50 appraisers will assess the historic significance and monetary value of the visitors' items."

"One of the things we discovered is people have old stuff, antiques, heirlooms, things hidden in their basements and under their beds, and they want to know more about it."

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Economy
6:00 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

PA Unemployment Rate Up For 2nd Straight Month

Despite staying under the national rate of 8.3 percent, Pennsylvania’s jobless rate jumped from 7.6 percent in June to 7.9 percent in July. Over the past four months, the number of jobs in the state has decreased, following a two month increase in February and March. The unemployment rate was down 0.2 percent from July 2011.

The State Department of Labor and Industry reported 10,000 more people were looking for jobs in July while resident employment was down 10,000. The number of unemployed residents rose by 21,000. The labor force was up 110,000 above July 2011’s level.

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Government
5:53 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

New Commissary Coming For Pittsburgh Area Military and Vets

It’s been in the works for years, but a new military commissary in Moon is becoming a reality. Members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation gathered at the future site this morning for the official groundbreaking.

“This has been long in the making and I’m tickled that we’re finally able to be here for the second best day for this facility, because the best day will be in or about November of next year when we do the ribbon cutting and move in,” said Major General William D. Razz Waff, commanding general, 99th Regional Support Command.

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Government
4:02 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Changes To State Public Pension Forfeiture Act Presented To House

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Pennsylvania has a law to make sure state workers who use the resources or circumstances of their public employment to commit a crime do not collect a state-paid pension. Any one of a list of crimes results in pension forfeiture.

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Government
9:01 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

One Pittsburgh Urges Congressman Doyle to Support Raising the Minimum Wage

The current federal minimum wage $7.25 per hour. A group of Pittsburgh residents marched on the South Side Thursday, urging Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) to support a bill that would raise that to just under $10 over a three year span. The group marched to the congressman’s Southside Works office, where 12 of them had been granted a face-to-face meeting. Before that meeting, Doyle came out to address the crowd.

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Education
8:19 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

PA Democrats Argue Creative Solutions Could Restore Education Funding

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As the school year approaches, public school officials are scrambling to find new ways to pinch pennies and Pennsylvania Democrats are insisting they shouldn’t have to.

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Local
8:08 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Motions hearing in Curley, Schultz Penn State Case Wrap Up

Attorneys for two Penn State administrators charged in connection to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case await a judge’s ruling on whether charges will be dropped in response to pre-trial motions, which wrapped up today.

Prosecutors charged retired Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley back in November for failing to report allegations that Sandusky abused a child -- and then, lying about what they knew to a grand jury.

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Health
6:22 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

First Liberty Mile Run Will Feature Olympic-Caliber Talent

Pittsburgh continues to grow as a racing town as the city hosts the inaugural Liberty Mile run this Friday, August 17. Top competitors from across the country as well as recreational runners will participate in the event that is a partner of the Bring Back the Mile campaign. The closest race distance to the mile is the 1500 meter, about 0.93 of a mile. The 1500 has been an Olympic event since the 1896 summer games.

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Government
4:34 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Controller Finds Pittsburgh’s Equal Opportunity Review Commission Failing in its Mission

In the first audit of the agency that “assists Minority Business Enterprise/Women Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE) with prime contracting opportunities,” city Controller Michael Lamb found it is not living up its mission. The Equal Opportunity Review Commission (EORC) is required by law to produce an annual report and three quarterly reports.

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Environment
12:01 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Gas Fume Vapor Systems Have Net Negative

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The federal  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires gas stations surrounding areas historically recognized as having air quality issues to equip gasoline pump nozzles with vapor recovery systems intended to siphon off fumes while pumping gasoline. But now Pennsylvania will no longer require new gas stations to have the vapor capture technology.

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Transportation
8:30 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

State Lawmakers Examining Tax Options for Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Gasoline and diesel fuel vehicles still make up the majority of those on the state’s roadways, but as more transportation entities look to alternative fuel vehicles, gas tax revenue might take a hit. A hearing of the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee took on that issue in downtown Pittsburgh Wednesday. Chair, Representative Richard Geist (R-Altoona), asked an official from the Department of Revenue how many electric cars are on the state’s roadways. That wasn’t clear, so Geist took a different track.

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Local
7:30 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Dublin, Ireland Man Charged with Pitt Bomb Threats

A 64-year-old man has been charged with sending more than 40 email bomb threats targeting the University of Pittsburgh this spring.

Adam Stuart Busby of Dublin, Ireland faces 35 total counts of wire fraud, maliciously conveying false information, and international extortion for the Pitt bomb threats, made in March and April.

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Government
6:29 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Reaction to Voter ID Court Ruling Roll in

Lawmakers and non-profit groups across the state are responding to Wednesday’s court ruling against a request to prevent the implementation of Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law.  The law requires all voters in the state to show a government-approved photo ID before stepping into the voting booth.  Supporters say it is needed to prevent voter fraud, opponents say it will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters.

Senator Jay Costa

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