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.

Fewer Parents Require Bike Helmets

Sep 7, 2011

The number of parents who "sometimes" make their kids wear bike helmets has gone down by 10 percent: from 74% to 64% since 2007, according to a recent survey by Safe Kids USA.

Parents who "always" require a helmet dropped from 48- to 42% over the four years. Yet research shows helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85%, and can reduce severe brain damage by 88%, said Lindsay Hansen of Safe Kids USA.

Suit Filed over Dunkard Creek

Sep 7, 2011

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced Wednesday that it is pursuing a pair of lawsuits against Canonsburg-based Consol Energy Inc. over a fish kill two years ago in Dunkard Creek. The kill impacted about 30 miles of the waterway in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The agency said the Pennsylvania lawsuit was filed in Greene County on Wednesday. A similar complaint was filed in Monongalia County, W.Va., last week.

The commission blames discharges from a Consol mine for the deaths of about 43,000 fish, 15,000 mussels and 6,500 mudpuppies.

Santorum Picks Up Support in PA

Sep 7, 2011

Pennsylvania State Senate Republicans are sounding their support for Pennsylvania's former U-S senator, Rick Santorum, as he makes a bid for the party's presidential nomination. This week Santorum gathered endorsements from two key G-O-P senators.

CMU To Receive Largest Gift In Its History

Sep 7, 2011

Carnegie Mellon University has announced that long-time trustee William S. Dietrich II has promised the university $265 million upon his passing. Dietrich is a political scientist, historian, industrialist and money manager.

University President Jared Cohon said Dietrich feels strongly that Carnegie Mellon will use his donation for great things. "His gift to us reflects his confidence in the university, his belief that what we do is important for the region and for the world, and his desire to invest in that," said Cohon.

Frankel Joins "It Gets Better" Project

Sep 7, 2011

With students heading back to school, State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny County) has posted his "It Gets Better" video in response to several high-profile incidents of bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens.

RMU Opens New Business School Building

Sep 6, 2011

Despite starting out as a purely business school in downtown Pittsburgh 90 years ago, the business school at Robert Morris University has never had its own building since moving to the Moon Township Campus. Today that changes when the university officially opens its new 18,000-square-foot School of Business Complex.

Three Children Infected With Rare Flu Strain

Sep 6, 2011

Cases of a novel flu virus have been identified in three children with ties to the Washington County Fair according to the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Agriculture. The first child to become ill has fully recovered while the other two are still healing. The state has not released any information about the three.

US Education Secretary Launches Tour in Pittsburgh

Sep 6, 2011

For the second time in as many years, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is taking a multi-city bus tour to mark the beginning of the school year, and he is starting his tour in Pittsburgh. "I learn best by seeing," said Secretary Duncan. "I try to get to a few hundred schools every year."

PennDOT Uses New Lane Markings

Sep 5, 2011

Motorists traveling Pennsylvania's state highways are starting to see new warnings painted on the pavement. The goal is to improve safety at intersections and sharp curves.

PennDOT is painting the word "SLOW" on the roadway as they approach tight curves. The marking is then followed by an arrow to alert motorists which way the road is turning, said PennDOT District 11 safety officer Steve Cowen.

Labor Day Parade: A 'March for Jobs'

Sep 4, 2011

Union leaders in Southwestern Pennsylvania want to use this year's Labor Day Parade to send a message to state and federal lawmakers: pass transportation legislation to put people back to work.

Allegheny County Labor Council President Jack Shea said he expects 70,000 to march in the 2011 parade, with both unionized and non-union workers invited to take part in the "March for Jobs." This is the first year non-union workers will be marching.

When the Fairweather Lodge Came to Moon Township

Sep 2, 2011

State grants totaling $4 million are headed to 18 airports across Pennsylvania to upgrade facilities and improve safety. The awards range from $3,000 for the Butler County Airport to $750,000 for Pittsburgh International Airport. The money comes from the state's jet fuel tax. Each recipient must match 25% of the money granted.

CDC: Childhood Immunizations are Up

Sep 2, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control report that more caretakers are having their infants and children immunized. The latest report from the CDC shows rates for most long-standing recommended vaccines are at or above 90% for children 19 – 35 months old. The 2010 National Immunization Survey included 17,000 households, and showed that immunizations are on the upswing for measles, mumps and rubella, rotavirus, pneumococcal disease, Hib, and hepatitis A.

Labor Day Weekend Road Construction

Sep 2, 2011

PennDOT says most major road construction will be suspended for the holiday weekend as a concession to motorists, but long-term restrictions will remain in place on Route 28, Route 65 and Crosstown Boulevard.

Work will also continue on Route 50 in Bridgeville, where there will be just a single lane in each direction from 8:00 PM Friday through 8:00 PM Sunday near Great Southern Shopping Center, and also where Greentree Road intersects Route 50 in Heidelberg.

Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority will use a pair of state grants to restore building facades downtown and help build a new parking garage in East Liberty.

Yarone Zober, chief of staff to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, said $4 million is set aside for revamping building fronts downtown. He said the rennovations are meant to complement recent downtown development projects, such as Market Square. Zober said the goal is to attract new businesses and possibly increase the downtown population with upper-story apartments.

Pennsylvanians Want to Keep Drilling, But Tax It

Sep 2, 2011

A broad majority of Pennsylvanians support natural gas drilling, according to a new poll. At the same time, 65% of respondents want lawmakers to pass a severance tax, and send the revenue to the state government. 72% want to split the tax dollars between the state and local municipalities.

"So the takeaway here is, Pennsylvanians say, yep, let's tax. Let's divide the tax between local communities and the state," said pollster Terry Madonna. "Yes, the industry is doing the right thing. They're doing a good job, but oh, by the way, you better be careful about the environment."

PennFuture Goes After Pitt on Pollution Law

Sep 2, 2011

The environmental watchdog group PennFuture is turning its attention to the University of Pittsburgh in its campaign to get building owners in the region to obey the state's diesel idling laws. The law limits the amount of time a diesel-powered vehicle can idle and it forces building owners to post warnings on loading docks.