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Local
8:20 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Redistricting Panel Hears Testimony in Pittsburgh

At a recent public hearing in Pittsburgh, citizens urged the state's legislative redistricting commission to draw district borders that are fair to women voters and legislators, and to refrain from dividing "communities of interest" with political lines.

Pennsylvania's 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission heard nearly three hours of testimony at Duquesne University on Wednesday. The panel, composed of the four legislative caucus leaders and a Superior Court Judge, will decide the boundaries of 203 House districts and 50 Senate districts by mid-November.

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Local
6:39 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Pennsylvania Auditor General to Department of Public Welfare: Give Me the Data

Pennsylvania's top fiscal watchdog says he does not have enough data from the Department of Public Welfare to finish a performance audit of the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program, but that did not stop him from issuing a scathing report.

"DPW's default position seems to be 'we don't know what is going on, we are not interested in what's going on, and we don't want you or the public to know what's going on,' and that's not good enough for us," said Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner.

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Local
6:39 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Mayor Doesn't Want Reassessment To Push Taxes “Through The Roof”

Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick has sent a memo to Allegheny County officials ordering that reassessment of properties in the city of Pittsburgh must be completed before those in other municipalities in the county. Allegheny County is under a court order from Wettick to reset the values on properties for the 2012 taxes, but county officials say they are three months behind in the process. The county has not performed a new property assessment since 2002.

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Local
5:19 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Point Park Opens New Urban Park To “Rejuvenate” Downtown

At the southeast corner of Wood Street and Boulevard of the Allies, Point Park University transformed a space that was once a gas station and most recently a parking lot, creating an open environment in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. The 12,000 square foot park features six garden plots that will be planted with trees. The University also renovated the building bordering the park to the south with a PPG glass stair tower and a water feature below.

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Local
7:57 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

Councilman Tackles DUI Problem in South Side

Pittsburgh Councilman Bruce Kraus is calling on citizens and liquor licensees to join police efforts to quell the "epidemic" of drunk driving in the city.

Kraus heard testimony about the problem from community members, law enforcement, and the advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving at a post-agenda meeting on Tuesday.

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Local
5:56 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

New Weapon to Fight Emerald Ash Borer

Tiny wasps, chemicals, and now injections into ash tree trunks are being used to battle the emerald ash borer. Various techniques to deal with this destructive beetle will be discussed at community forums on Tuesday evening in South Park Township, and on Wednesday evening in Wexford.

The emerald ash borer is native to China, but was first detected in the United States in 2002 in Michigan, and in Pennsylvania four years ago. The beetle has since been found in twelve of the commonwealth's counties. It has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in the United States.

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Transportation
3:44 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

Fitzgerald: Create Regional Transit Agency

The Democratic candidate for Allegheny County Executive said the state should create a regional transit agency for southwestern Pennsylvania.

During a campaign address about working for senior citizens, former County Council President Rich Fitzgerald said the new agency would consolidate each county's current transit service into one larger entity to cut costs.

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Local
2:17 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

Episcopal Reverend in Forefront of Gay Ordination Dies

Retired Episcopal Bishop Walter C. Righter died Sunday after several weeks of hospice care, according to a spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. Righter was 87.

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Local
10:48 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Can Pennsylvania’s State Forests Survive Additional Marcellus Shale Drilling?

Penn­syl­va­nia is strapped for cash. The state has run bil­lion dollar-plus deficits for three straight years. But since 2009, roy­al­ties and bonus pay­ments from Mar­cel­lus Shale drilling in state forests have brought in hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. Some offi­cials say addi­tional drilling is the solu­tion to the commonwealth's finan­cial prob­lems. That's rais­ing the ire of peo­ple like Butch Davey, who worry addi­tional leas­ing would dam­age the forests forever.

Local
7:36 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Flight 93 Remains Interred

For ten years, the unidentified remains of the forty passengers and crew of Flight 93 sat in three caskets stored away in a mausoleum. Today, the families buried the coffins on the sacred ground where Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Somerset County, September 11, 2001.

"It's our duty to assure that to the maximum extent possible, all of those forty people are, in a sense, together, embracing one another in eternity, and that is the site; that is the place where that needs to be," said Patrick White, a relative of Louis J. Nacke, who died on Flight 93.

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Economy
5:26 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Local Woman Heeds President’s Jobs Bill Orders

President Barack Obama took to the Rose Garden this morning to warn congress that he will send his "American Jobs Act" to the Capitol later today while at the same time calling on those in attendance to fight for its passage.

"I can't tell you how many times the president said, 'Pass the bill, pass the bill, pass the bill,'" said Just Harvest co-director Tara Marks. Marks was invited to the White House last week, but was not told what the focus of the event would be until later. "Of course you get that invitation you say, 'Great, I want to be there,'" said Marks.

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Local
3:14 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

State Hopes to Avoid Charity Scams Following Floods

Unfortunately, many times in the wake of natural disasters, charity scams claim to use your money for recovery and to help victims, but in fact pocket it for themselves.

So far there has only been anecdotal evidence of questionable organizations taking advantage of the disastrous floods in central and southeastern Pennsylvania, but people should still be cautious about the organizations they donate to. Ronald Ruman, press secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of State, said there are a few ways to tell if a charity is legitimate.

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Local
2:09 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Flight 93 Memorial Open but Far From Finished

A wall of names, a granite walkway and a 17 ton boulder mark the spot where Flight 93 crashed into a rural Somerset County field on September 11, 2001, but the memorial is far from complete. The first phase of the "Crescent of Embrace" design opened over the weekend, with two more phases to follow.

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Memorial
1:46 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Thousands Mark 9/11 in Shanksville

Families of the forty people who died on Flight 93 stood to applaud Somerset County coroner Wallace Miller Sunday during a moving ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Miller led the recovery efforts of human remains and personal effects following the crash of the Boeing 757-200 into the abandoned strip mine. The part-time coroner and full-time funeral home director has made the protection of the site and the remains a personal mission.

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Economy
9:12 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Solar Energy Hits Milestone in PA

There are now more than 100 Megawatts of installed solar power capacity in Pennsylvania according to a recent report from regional transmission organization PJM Interconnect. That is up from three megawatts four years ago.

"The solar energy industry in Pennsylvania creates a lot of jobs," said PennFuture Energy Center Director, Christina Simeone, "We have estimated that Pennsylvania has the second largest amount of solar energy jobs in the nation, second only to California."

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Transportation
9:03 am
Mon September 12, 2011

PennDOT Tries for Safer Work Zones

PennDOT is stepping up its efforts to protect road crews in work zones with safety training and "Operation Yellow Jacket".

Steve Cowan, PennDOT District 11 Safety Press Officer, said road workers are being trained periodically by safety and county management staff on how to handle work zone violations. He said in District 11 (Allegheny, Beaver, and Lawrence County) there have been two training sessions in the last three months, but employees, in the past year, have not yet reported a violation to the police.

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Economy
8:22 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Window Closing on Federal Foreclosure Aid

Homeowners facing foreclosure have just a few days left to submit applications for federal assistance.

Of $105 million available to Pennsylvanians through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, only $50 million has been committed so far, with about $4 million of that in southwestern Pennsylvania. The remainder of the money is still available through HUD's "Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program" — that is, until Friday.

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Memorial
11:41 am
Sun September 11, 2011

Two Presidents Honor Heroism in Shanksville

More than 5,000 people waited in hours of traffic and braved muddy fields to see the dedication of the Flight 93 National Memorial yesterday. They watched as former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Vice President Joe Biden honored the 40 passengers and crew who died on Flight 93 on September eleventh, 2001.

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Arts
8:33 pm
Fri September 9, 2011

Message Carriers to Sing At Pirates Game

When the Message Carriers get together its kind of like a family reunion.

Some of them have known each other for decades, others for years. Some are just meeting for the first time. Regardless, they have a unifying bond. They are all in recovery from drugs or alcohol or love someone who is.

The Message Carriers' self-proclaimed mission is to put a face on recovery in efforts to reduce stigmas and change public policy. One of the groups' projects is this choir

Tonight they are singing the Star Spangled Banner at The Pirates Game.

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Health
6:19 pm
Fri September 9, 2011

ACHD: Watch for Suicide Symptoms

The Allegheny County Health Department is marking World Suicide Prevention Day Saturday by reminding residents just how big of a problem suicide can be.

"Between 2005 and 2008, the Health Department's Child Death Review Team examined 19 suicides countywide involving adolescents 14 to 19 years old or about five a year," said Review Team member Jennifer Fiddner. Suicides account for about 3% of sudden deaths in that age group according to Fiddner

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Air Show
6:01 pm
Fri September 9, 2011

Jets Zoom into Town for Pittsburgh Air Show

When else could you expect to see (and hear) dozens of jets roaring through the air at 400 miles per hour?

Yes, it's the 10th annual "Wings Over Pittsburgh" air show, where teams of unreasonably fast planes will invade the skies over Moon Township's 911th Airlift Wing this Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.

It may rain this weekend, but unless lightning strikes, pilots from groups like the Red Bull Air Force, the Viper West F-16 Jet Team, and Team Oracle are sure to pull off plenty of aerobatic manuevers.

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Economy
4:43 pm
Fri September 9, 2011

New Phase for Summerset at Frick Park

A new phase of Summerset at Frick Park will be ready for its first residents by late spring of next year after being delayed for three years by financial turmoil in the real estate market.

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Economy
4:02 pm
Fri September 9, 2011

Ferlo Calls Highmark/UPMC fight “Bitter Divorce”

Pennsylvania State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Highland Park) gathered representatives from UPMC and Highmark to go before a public forum last night in an effort to help the two nonprofits better understand what is going on in the community.

"They speak out to the public in their paid ads," said Ferlo. It is not clear if they are really are hearing directly from the public who, in the case of Highmark, have been paying high premiums and have been living under what he calls "predatory practices" used by UPMC, said Ferlo

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Government
4:01 pm
Fri September 9, 2011

Emergency Ops Centers Open For 9/11 Anniversary

Pennsylvania emergency officials are readying themselves for the 10th anniversary of the September 11thattacks this Sunday and whatever security threats that may bring. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) says the statewide E-O-C will keep crucial emergency personnel from various state departments on duty this weekend. The center nearest to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County will also remain activated through Sunday. PEMA spokesman Cory Angell said preparations are being made for a variety of potential threats.

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Environment
5:43 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Corbett on flood damage: “We’re going to have more”

Governor Corbett urged residents Thursday night to steel themselves for ever-rising waters.

"There is a lot of damage and I hate to say it, we're going to have more," said Corbett. "The water now flooding the cities in the north is only going to flow in one direction, and that's downstream."

He pointed to slides of a bridge in Montoursville off its supports, and the grounds of the Bloomsburg Fair underwater.

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Transportation
8:06 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Trucks, Drivers Pulled From Road In Crackdown

Pennsylvania State Police removed 163 vehicles and 39 drivers from service in a one-day coordinated inspection of commercial trucks carrying hazardous materials. Troopers examined 1,356 trucks August 31 looking for everything from incomplete files to hazardous placard violations. "Possibly things aren't checked properly on the paperwork as far as shipping papers and what's being transported," said Lieutenant Ray Cook. "Then we have some placard violations. Maybe the number of placards aren't (sic) present or the type of placards aren't (sic) present."

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Memorial
8:01 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Family Members Tour Temporary Flight 93 Memorial One Last Time

The Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County will be officially dedicated and opened to the public Saturday. The ceremony will mark the completion of a 10-year effort to honor the 40 passengers and crewmembers who perished when the plane crashed into the field in Stonycreek Township. Tim Lambert, the news director at sister station WITF-FM in Harrisburg, owned land that was considered an essential part of the crash site. The parcel is now a part of the memorial.

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Health
7:33 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Diesel Emissions In Pittsburgh To Be Monitored

Starting in January battery-operated monitors will be strapped to telephone and light poles in downtown Pittsburgh to measure diesel pollution. The Allegheny County Board of Health has approved spending $860,000 for the three year study to be conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Jim Thompson, the county Health Department's Air Program Manager, said the goal is to determine when and where diesel emissions are the highest. "Our efforts have been somewhat scattered," said Thompson.

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Government
7:06 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Audit: Better Bookkeeping Needed for RAD-funded Parks

An audit from the Pittsburgh Controller's office recommends the city improve its accounting of employees who work in parks partially funded by the Regional Asset District.

Controller Michael Lamb said the accounting problem is that annual RAD funding pays the salaries of 65 workers at four city parks, but sometimes those employees work on non-RAD projects. Lamb said that's offset by city-paid employees working on duties meant to be funded by RAD, but the administration doesn't have the records to prove it.

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Environment
4:35 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Major Flooding Continues in Susquehanna Valley

For those who saw the Susquehanna River turn a muddy brown after the rains from Hurricane Irene, it's about to get murkier, still. As extensive flooding continues in southeastern Pennsylvania, swift water rescue teams are coming in from western Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna River is forecasted to crest in Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg Friday and Saturday. Gov. Tom Corbett said the same teams were sent in before Hurricane Irene. "Last time we staged them for a short time at the farm show and then sent them to northeastern PA and to southeastern PA.

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