News

Alleged Victim, Caseworker, Assistant Coach Testify In Sandusky Trial

Jun 12, 2012

Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary is testifying this afternoon at the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Last fall McQueary told a grand jury that he saw Sandusky with a boy in the showers at an athletic facility on campus.

"T" Stops to be Eliminated

Jun 12, 2012

Some commuters will have to re-route starting June 25th because of changes to 13 stops of Pittsburgh's light rail system operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT).

Signs are now posted at the Traymore, Coast, Boustead, Neeld, Kelton, Martin Villa, Smith Road, Santa Barbara, Mine 3, Lindermer, Center, Latimer, and Sandy Creek "T" stops to inform riders that the rail will not stop at those locations starting the last Monday of June. The signs suggest alternate stops to use.

Wrong-site surgery and harmful fall prevention tactics appear to be working. According to the June Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory, there has been a decline in the number of reports filed. Wrong-site procedures occur when surgeons operate on a body part other than that intended.

With the current federal transportation funding plan scheduled to expire July 1, speakers at the International Bridge Conference in Pittsburgh on Monday declared a crisis situation in the maintenance and repair of the nation's dilapidated bridges.

Pitt To Trim Staff By At Least 300

Jun 12, 2012

Trying to offset a $47 million cut in its state appropriation for operations this fiscal year and another anticipated reduction in the next budget, the University of Pittsburgh has initiated a voluntary Early Retirement Plan.

"We didn't want to lay people off," said Robert Hill, vice chancellor for public affairs. "So the voluntary early retirement program was established so that there would be a more orderly reduction in staff levels."

A new study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows nearly 1 in 3 college students have admitted to smoking tobacco from a hookah, a single or multi-stemmed instrument in which flavored smoke passes through a water basin before it's inhaled.

Brian Primack, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, said the study's findings were somewhat surprising.

While the bomb threats that terrorized the University of Pittsburgh in the spring have ceased, the investigation into who was behind them has not. The FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force is continuing to look into the string of threats. In all there were 43 messages with 143 threats.

Gas Prices Down Again

Jun 11, 2012

Average retail gasoline prices in the Pittsburgh area have fallen in the last week to an average of $3.54 per gallon, two cents lower than the national average. That's lower than last year and down about 23¢ from last month.

Patrick DeHaan is a senior petroleum analyst in Chicago for GasBuddy.com, which tracks gas prices at 140,000 stations in the U.S. and Canada. He said prices are down because recent jobs reports have thrown into question the whole economic recovery.

Governor Tom Corbett is expected to sign legislation that takes away the Port Authority of Allegheny County's ability to review applications to provide bus service in the county. Interested parties would still have to get approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and live under that entity's regulations.

The Senate last week approved House Bill 10, which the lower chamber passed in the fall.

To head off West Nile Virus, the Allegheny County Health Department today begins to treat storm water catch basins in the Pittsburgh area with pesticides to combat the breeding of mosquitoes. The treatment will continue weekdays from 4:00-9:00 PM.

The bugs can carry the virus, which has already been detected in samples in Allegheny County this year. Four mosquitoes tested positive: three coming from Pittsburgh's East End and the other from Penn Hills.

Day Two Of Sandusky Trial

Jun 11, 2012

A now 27 year old man, known as Victim 4, took the stand Monday in the first day of testimony in the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.

The witness says he was sexually abused as a 13 year old on campus and then in hotel saunas, starting with horseplay in showers and "soap battles" that turned into inappropriate touching and oral sex.

Sandusky sat still during the testimony Monday as the man explained that he began showering with Sandusky in 1997.

Tim Murphy

Jun 11, 2012

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA 18) represents the South Hills in the U.S. House of Representatives. He's also a practicing psychologist whose work with veterans is informed by accounts of heroism on the battlefield.

Murphy recommends:

Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor

The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) has enhanced its website in an attempt to clear up any confusion among Pennsylvania taxpayers. The extensive government transparency page explains and describes the inner workings of the DPW in detail.

Push To Bring Back The Mile To Track Competition

Jun 11, 2012

The Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon is partnering with a health and nutrition company to host the first GNC Liberty Mile run. It is expected to be the third largest competitive one-mile road race in the United States.

The event will take place on August 17 and will begin at 7:00 PM on Liberty Ave. Runners will line up on 17th Street in the Strip District and cross the finish line on 6th Street downtown. The male and female runners who come in first will each take home $4,000.

On the heels of Pittsburgh's Gay Pride festivities, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services' (DHS) LGBTQ Advisory Council will hold a town hall meeting to inform the community of services and get feedback about what's needed in the area. Challenges faced by the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) community are thought to be numerous, though they are not well documented.

Some hospital visits are inevitable, but many are preventable. Over the past decade, potentially preventable hospitalizations have declined in the commonwealth. The most recent report [PDF] from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) tracked 12 conditions and found that in the last ten years the rate of potentially preventable hospitalizations dropped from 231 per 100,000 residents in 2001 to 186.9 per 100,000 in 2010.

Medicaid Changes Have Providers Pulling Teeth

Jun 11, 2012

Marcia Esters lives in a Hazelwood high-rise. As the result of a spinal congenital disorder that was compounded by a workplace accident, she gets around in a motorized wheelchair.

Last fall, she went to her dentist. He told her she needed crowns fused to six of her bottom teeth and her top dentures were wearing out, and because of changes made to Medicaid in the last fiscal budget, the care she needed wouldn't be covered. She would have to pay out of pocket.

All this week, the Monongahela Lock and Dam 4 at Charleroi will be closed periodically as crews install massive panels on the lower river guard walls.

"It's going to cause some delays with river traffic, but it won't be closed the entire time. There will just be intermittent closures. Any recreational boaters should expect delays as commercial vessels will have priority during that time," said Dan Jones, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A team of researchers from Penn State University has made precise measurements of a binary star system 200 light-years away.

The Kepler-16 system was discovered in 2011 by a team from NASA, but the Penn State study is the first to discern the light output from each of the two small stars using a spectrograph.

The five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission this afternoon approved a second plan to redraw the legislative districts in the commonwealth.

Carnegie Library Summer Reading Extravaganza Sunday

Jun 8, 2012

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is kicking off its 12th annual Summer Reading Extravaganza this Sunday in Oakland from noon to 5:00 PM.

There will be a giant slide, puppet shows, music, plays, belly dancing, story times and wild animals, all to encourage children, teens, and adults to keep reading and learning during the summer months.

The Board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) selected Veolia Water North America to provide Executive Management services to the Authority for twelve months with a possible six-month extension.

Jim Good will serve as the PWSA's Executive Director and fill the 18-month vacancy left by the resignation of Michael Kenney in 2010. Another Veolia executive, Doug Amos, will serve as Study Manager for PWSA.

The Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley, visited the 911th Airlift Wing Thursday to meet with senior and civic leaders who lobbied him to keep the base open. While there he thanked the airmen for their contributions to national security and continuing focus on their mission.

Governor Corbett Holding Private Budget Meetings With Republicans

Jun 8, 2012

Budget talks continue in Harrisburg among legislative leaders and the governor. However, those negotiations are happening behind closed doors and without the input of Democrats. Gov. Tom Corbett has not avoided the fact that budget talks have been a Republicans-only affair so far.

"This, it has to be passed by a majority. The Republicans are in the majority in both houses. The discussions that the Democrats have put out there is that they want to continue to spend and at least I have the Republicans trying to save money in some areas," Corbett explained.

Pittsburgh Police Open Up Dialogue With Youth

Jun 8, 2012

Decreasing the number of African-American and Latino youth arrests in the Pittsburgh region was the focus of a forum today. About 100 law enforcement officials, community leaders and youth gathered at Duquesne University to brainstorm solutions to reduce the number of minorities having run-ins with the law and ending up in the justice system, which could become life-long baggage.

Allegheny County Juvenile Court Judge Kim Clark said the forum is a good starting point.

House Lawmakers Approve So-Called Payday Loan Regulations

Jun 8, 2012

The lending industry calls them small-dollar loans. Opponents call them payday loans. State House lawmakers approved a measure to regulate and expand the short term loan industry in the commonwealth.

Such loans tend to be issued with a two-week payback period, and they often come with high interest and fees. The small loans tend to be taken out for a couple weeks at a time, and they often come with high interest rates and fees.

Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems celebrated its 10th anniversary Thursday evening with a keynote address by Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, titled "Trayvon Martin: Racial Profiling and the Urgent Need to Heal America."

In what racetrack operators call the largest capital investment at the Meadows in 50 years, five new barns have been built. Other improvements include a new race paddock, paved roads and upgrades to existing barns.

Pennsylvania to Borrow to Pay Off Unemployment Bill

Jun 7, 2012

Pennsylvania has been borrowing money from the federal government to pay out unemployment compensation claims since 2009, and has run up a nearly $4 billion tab.

The commonwealth is finally paying off its debt. It's effectively refinancing a mortgage — or using a second credit card — to foot the bill.

Parking Authority Inks New Meter Deal

Jun 7, 2012

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority has chosen a Swedish company to install a new pay-by-license parking meter system. The move is part of the Authority's effort to modernize and streamline its entire parking monetization effort.

Cale America, Inc. has received the contract. The Florida-based subsidiary of Cale Group has more than 11,000 meters installed in better than 125 cities throughout the U.S.

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