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10:56 am
Sun March 18, 2012

Vocal Seminar Teaches Worshippers to Sing, Speak Correctly

More than 80 worship leaders are set to meet with experts at the University of Pittsburgh's Voice Center on Sunday for a seminar on vocal health.

Voice Center Associate Director Jackie Gartner-Schmidt said many religious leaders experience vocal strain when delivering long, emotional sermons.

"We're rarely paying attention to how we speak and the emotions of what we're saying," said Gartner-Schmidt. "Especially in worship team, praise team, and worship leading, sometimes the emotion and speaking loudly, we can get a little carried away and our voice can take a hit."

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Environment
5:46 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Flash Flood Season Approaches

April showers bring — flash floods. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency advises the Commonwealth's residents to plan ahead to prevent damage and danger for the spring season.

PEMA Chief Deputy Director, Robert Full, says 18 people died last year because of historical amounts of rainfall that turns into flash floods.

"It's just so critical that our residents take seriously, just for a few moments, how important it is to be prepared," Full said.

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Local
5:12 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Mon Riverfront Portal Proposed by Riverlife, Point Park

Riverlife and Point Park University plan to build a portal that would create a smoother link between Downtown and the north bank of the Monongahela River.

Point Park spokeswoman Terra McBride said the structure would connect Point Park's Academic Village at Wood Street with the parking lot and green space of the Mon Wharf Landing. She said hundreds of people who park along the riverside will pass through the portal to get to Downtown destinations.

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Transportation
4:29 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Highway Fatalities Decrease, Setting Record

Last year marked the second-lowest number of highway fatalities since the 1940s. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that there were 33 fewer highway fatalities in 2011 than in 2010.

Erin Waters, PennDOT spokesperson, says that 90 percent of highway crashes are caused by driver behavior, and although the budget is tight, they continue to enforce safe driving procedures.

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Local
4:05 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Governor Corbett Answers to Pitt Students on Questions about Higher Ed Budget Cuts

Governor Tom Corbett addressed a crowd of roughly 300 University of Pittsburgh students, faculty, and staff, outlining the challenges he faced when crafting his most recent budget, which slashes state funding for the four state-related schools, including the University of Pittsburgh.

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Economy
3:54 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Beaver County Residents Respond to Ethane Cracker News

Several residents of Beaver County heard yesterday for the first time about Shell's decision to locate a new ethane cracker in Monaca where Horsehead has been manufacturing zinc.

Mary Ann Musloe, a Monaca resident, said there haven't been enough jobs since the steel mills closed, and Horsehead had given notice that they were going to move south for better economic incentives. The county and state, she said, need to do more to keep companies here.

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Local
10:51 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Warm Weather Could Bring Even More Out for St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

With the forecast calling for temperatures in the 70s Saturday, Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade officials are expecting a big turn out.

"We're looking forward to some of the best weather we've ever had, so that will be sure to draw a large crowd in itself. We usually get around 100,000 and we expect more at this year's parade," said Parade spokesman Tim O'Brien.

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Environment
9:04 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Commission Approves Water Withdrawals from Susquehanna for Fracking

There were shouts from protesters, but no arrests at a public meeting of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission Thursday. The panel met to vote on permits from energy companies looking to withdraw water from the Susquehanna River for hydraulic fracturing. About 25 demonstrators opposed to fracking and natural gas drilling accused the SRBC of rubberstamping approval for 42 projects.

Susan Obleski, spokeswoman for the commission, said each project is examined on a case-by-case basis.

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Environment
8:53 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Governor Tom Corbett Optimistic about Potential Cracker Plant

Governor Tom Corbett is optimistic about the announcement that Shell Oil Co. has chosen a site near Pittsburgh for a major, multi-billion-dollar petrochemical refinery. He said building such a facility could provide a huge economic boost to the region.

"We need to keep in mind that this announcement doesn't mean this is completed," said Corbett. "There are many steps that have to be taken between now and the time the first shovel goes into the ground. This is the first step."

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Local
8:18 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Allegheny County Receives $3.8 Million Homeless Housing Grant

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded a $3.8 million Continuum of Care grant to the County's Department of Human Services (DHS).

Fitzgerald says the grant will allow the county to further combat homelessness.

"Last December, the county received $10.1 million to renew 60 Continuum of Care grant-funded projects" Fitzgerald said. "Together, these awards will allow us to help chronically homeless persons and families move toward self-sufficiency and stable housing."

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Local
7:00 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Pittsburgh Promise Celebrates First 4-Year Graduates

"A lot of us have been eagerly awaiting this day," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said from a podium in his Downtown conference room, "the day when we can congratulate the first graduating Pittsburgh Promise scholars."

The Pittsburgh Promise offers up to $40,000 to students who attend Pittsburgh Public Schools, and meet minimum grade requirements, to pursue higher education in state. Since the program began in 2007, about 200 participating students have graduated with 2-year degrees and other certificates, but this year marks a milestone.

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Local
6:18 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Colossal Fossil Fuels

The Carnegie Science Center has launched its latest "Science on the Road" school outreach program, Colossal Fossil Fuels, which aims to teach students about Earth's energy resources.

One of the key topics of the interactive program focuses on Marcellus Shale.

Colossal Fossil Fuels is funded by EQT Corporation, a Pittsburgh-based energy company that focuses on Appalachian area natural gas production.

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Local
5:40 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

County Holds More Town Halls to Address Reassessment Concerns and Confusion

Allegheny County residents may have been given a reprieve from having to use new property reassessments for tax purposes this year, but the assessment process is ongoing, and the new values will be used in 2013. County leaders having been holding a series of meetings aimed at helping residents understand the process and learn how to file formal and informal appeals.

The meetings give residents a chance to talk with County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and a County Council member who represents their district.

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Economy
5:15 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Beaver County Site Chosen for Shell Cracker Plant

Southwestern Pennsylvania is set to gain a major economic boost from the construction of a new petrochemical refinery. Shell Oil Co. will announce today that a site near Monaca has been chosen for the multi-million-dollar ethane cracker. Dan Carlson, Shell's General Manager of New Business Development, said today that the company has signed a land option agreement with Horsehead Corp. to evaluate the site.

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Local
5:12 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Game On: NCAA Tournament Begins in Pittsburgh

The NCAA basketball tournament kicks into high gear with 16 regional games on today's schedule. As one of the host cities, not only will Pittsburgh be turned into a college hoops hotbed, it will also bring exposure and revenue to the city. Beverly Morrow-Jones with VisitPittsburgh said "we're looking forward to about $7.1 million in direct spending which means great news for restaurants, hotels, and attractions."

She expects about 9,000 out-of-town visitors to come to the city for the basketball games Thursday and Saturday.

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Government
4:00 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Two Sides Battle Over Gun Control Bill

A coalition against gun violence is standing in opposition to state House bill 1523 which allows for the National Rifle Association to take to court any municipality that uses gun control law more strict than the state.

Max Nacheman, executive director for CeaseFirePA, said the rights of local municipalities to require reporting lost or stolen guns are in the language of the law. While they are prohibited from superseding state legislation when it comes to lawful gun use, ownership, transfer or transportation, but he said this is a different case.

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Arts
11:00 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Pittsburgh Filmaker Tackles Media Stereotypes of Black Women

Movies and television are often criticized for not showcasing enough diversity. One Pittsburgher got tired of seeing the same images of black women in mainstream media, so she started a project aimed at debunking stereotypes, specifically those of black women. Essential Public Radio's Deanna Garcia met with Brittany McBryde to discuss her first documentary film.

Deanna Garcia: Tell me about your film The Image of Black Women.

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Government
9:01 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

New Poll Shows Obama Up, GOP Down in Pennsylvania

According to a new poll, President Obama leads Republican challengers in Pennsylvania, and his approval ratings are on the rise.

The Public Policy Polling survey has the president with a 47% approval rating in Pennsylvania, up from 42% in 2011.

PPP Director Tom Jensen said Obama leads Republican frontunner Mitt Romney by seven points in the Keystone State, 49-42. The president also leads home-state candidate Rick Santorum by two points in the poll, 48-46.

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Transportation
7:39 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Green Boulevard Meeting to Highlight New Designs

Consultants working on the Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard will unveil their designs during a meeting Thursday in Lawrenceville.

The Green Boulevard will span the six and a half mile stretch of land that is currently the Allegheny Valley Railroad Right-of-Way. It could include riverfront park access, neighborhoods, kayak and boat access, and a multi-use rail corridor capable of transporting people to offices or entertainment downtown.

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Local
7:10 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

State Lawmakers At The Gate For Fight Over Horse Race Funding

Horsemen were up in arms almost immediately after Governor Corbett's February proposal to make a $72 million cut to the fund used to boost horse racing prizes. Now, they have the support of key Republican legislators.

The Horse Race Development fund distributed about $230 million in gaming revenue to the horseracing industry last year, but under the Governor's new budget, the total would drop to about 160 million dollars in 2012-2013.

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Government
6:19 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Voter ID Passes PA House

Pennsylvania's House of Representatives has approved a measure establishing one of the nation's toughest photo identification laws for voters. The vote comes less than eight months before the presidential election.

The 104-88 vote Wednesday in the Republican-controlled chamber came after three days of debate. The measure heads to Gov. Tom Corbett, also a Republican, who says he'll sign it into law immediately. The ACLU of Pennsylvania says it will mount a court challenge.

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Transportation
6:18 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Squirrel Hill Tunnel Restrictions Begin Monday

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will begin nighttime restrictions of the inbound Squirrel Hill Tunnel on Monday. It's part of the preliminary stage of a two-year, $49.5 million rehabilitation project.

District Executive Dan Cessna said crews will focus on the inbound half of the structure this year. In 2013, the repair work — and accompanying traffic restrictions — will move over to the outbound side.

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Economy
5:58 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Pittsburgh is “Winning” Economic Development Fight

Charlie Sheen is not the only one "winning." The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) announced Wednesday that the 10 counties in the region reported almost 300 economic development deals, or "wins" last year. That is up 14 from 2010.

David Malone, President and CEO of Gateway Financial and Chairman of the PRA says the "wins" were landed in large part due to the region's diverse economy.

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Health
5:51 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Duquesne Researcher Attempting to Develop Compounds to Fight Fatal Infections

All too often a patient who has battled an aggressive sickness ends up succumbing to a simple, but ultimately fatal, infection.

"These are patients … who are undergoing chemotherapy, whose immune systems get compromised," said Dr. Aleem Gangjee of Duquesne University, "patients who are transplant recipients — their immune system is also compromised — and of course for patients who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS."

Gangjee is a medicinal chemist who, along with a team of researchers, is developing compounds that will tackle the stubborn fugnal infection.

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Local
5:10 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

North Side Resident Recognized for Support of Prisoners Around Country

The Dignity & Respect Campaign promotes the idea that everyone deserves to be treated exactly as its title reads. The group's February 2012 award went to Rosemary Anderson, a disabled Air Force veteran who started "Spring Grass Book'em" five years ago. The effort sends books and letters to prisoners around the country. Many have told her "books are often the only good thing in their lives."

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