News

Councilman Tackles DUI Problem in South Side

Sep 13, 2011

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.

New Weapon to Fight Emerald Ash Borer

Sep 13, 2011

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.

Fitzgerald: Create Regional Transit Agency

Sep 13, 2011

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.

Episcopal Reverend in Forefront of Gay Ordination Dies

Sep 13, 2011

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.

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.

Flight 93 Remains Interred

Sep 12, 2011

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.

Local Woman Heeds President’s Jobs Bill Orders

Sep 12, 2011

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.

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.

Flight 93 Memorial Open but Far From Finished

Sep 12, 2011

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.

Thousands Mark 9/11 in Shanksville

Sep 12, 2011

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.

Solar Energy Hits Milestone in PA

Sep 12, 2011

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."

PennDOT Tries for Safer Work Zones

Sep 12, 2011

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.

Window Closing on Federal Foreclosure Aid

Sep 12, 2011

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.

Two Presidents Honor Heroism in Shanksville

Sep 11, 2011

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.

Message Carriers to Sing At Pirates Game

Sep 9, 2011

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.

ACHD: Watch for Suicide Symptoms

Sep 9, 2011

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

Jets Zoom into Town for Pittsburgh Air Show

Sep 9, 2011

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.

New Phase for Summerset at Frick Park

Sep 9, 2011

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.

Ferlo Calls Highmark/UPMC fight “Bitter Divorce”

Sep 9, 2011

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

Emergency Ops Centers Open For 9/11 Anniversary

Sep 9, 2011

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.

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.

Trucks, Drivers Pulled From Road In Crackdown

Sep 8, 2011

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."

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.

Diesel Emissions In Pittsburgh To Be Monitored

Sep 8, 2011

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.

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.

Major Flooding Continues in Susquehanna Valley

Sep 8, 2011

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.

Rendell Says Drilling Opposition Grows Daily

Sep 8, 2011

Former Governor Ed Rendell became a bit of an unwelcome guest during the Marcellus Shale Coalition's natural gas convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday.

Flight 93 Memorial to Open Sept. 10

Sep 8, 2011

Off the turnpike exit at Somerset, past farms and fields, is a gravel lot. In the middle is a squat building with corrugated aluminum for walls and a line of porta-potties. This used to be a scrap yard but now it is a construction site where crews have been working for months to build the Flight 93 memorial.

Visitors look past the construction to a divot in the ground where the plane slammed into the earth September 11, 2001.

As Rains Continue, PA Officials Brace For More Flooding

Sep 7, 2011

Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers are preparing to help direct traffic and rescue people surrounded by floodwaters. Guard members haven't been sent out on missions yet, but Sergeant Matt Jones said 500 troops are reporting to armories in the south central and southeastern parts of the state. "The soldiers that have been called up so far are just making sure that they're ready to go out on a mission as soon as one's called in," said Jones.

Pittsburgh Police Accountability Bill Held Again

Sep 7, 2011

The leadership of Pittsburgh's Bureau of Police is at odds with the Citizens Police Review Board and several community organizations when it comes to public reports on certain police-related statistics.

The debate has caused City Council to delay a preliminary vote on a police accountability bill for at least two more weeks.

Council has again tabled a bill that would require the publishing of an annual report of police incidents such as frisks, pull-overs, and any use of force.

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