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Arts & Culture
11:26 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Pitt Professor Terrance Hayes Among 2014 MacArthur 'Genius Grant' Winners

In this Sept. 8, 2014 photo provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, poet Terrance Hayes poses for a photo at his home in Pittsburgh. Hayes was named Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, as one of 21 people to receive a "genius grant" from the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation.
Credit The Associated Press

Twenty-one people, many of whom are doing work that touches on race relations, same-sex marriage, climate change and other issues that are dominating the news, have each been awarded "genius grants" from the MacArthur Foundation.

The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation this morning has announced this year's recipients of the grants that have been awarded since 1981. Recipients can spend the $625,000 any way they like.

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Sandusky Scandal
2:05 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

NCAA: State Can Keep $60 Million Penn State Fine

College sports' governing body says it is willing to let Pennsylvania control the $60 million fine Penn State is paying over its handling of the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal.

The NCAA on Friday asked Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Sen. Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord.

The NCAA says that if Covey agrees, it also will move to end a federal lawsuit against McCord, Gov. Tom Corbett and others that challenges a 2013 state law requiring the money to remain within Pennsylvania.

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Pittsburgh
10:33 am
Sun August 17, 2014

Sophie Masloff, Pittsburgh's First Female Mayor, Dies at Age 96

Sophie Masloff, who rose from a tax clerk to become Pittsburgh's first female mayor, died Sunday. She was 96.

She died at an area nursing home, said Joseph Mistick, Masloff's longtime friend and former top aide.

Masloff took office in May 1988 after the death of Richard S. Caliguiri, and she served until January 1994.

She good-naturedly described herself as an "old Jewish grandmother" and promised when she took office to be at work by 8 a.m. every day except Tuesdays when, she said, "I get my hair done."

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Economy & Business
4:13 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Pennsylania Unemployment Rate Up Slightly for July

Pennsylvania's jobless rate is up slightly but remains better than the national figure. The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday the seasonally adjusted rate last month was 5.7 percent, up one tenth of a percentage point from June.

“There’s nothing to be alarmed about,” said Sara Goulet, a department spokeswoman. “It’s a very, very small uptick and we do see those periodically. It’s the natural ebb and flow of the employment situation.”

The U.S. rate is currently 6.2 percent.

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Public Safety
5:55 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Police: Storm Drain Caused Car-Swallowing Sinkhole

Crews work Wednesday on large sinkhole that opened up in the parking lot of a McKnight Road business.
Credit Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

UPDATE (4:26 p.m. Wednesday): PennDOT Says McKnight Road Not at Risk

Work to repair a sinkhole nearly 40 feet long and 10 feet wide is underway in Ross Township.

The sinkhole opened in front of Hollywood Tans salon right off of McKnight Road Tuesday, swallowing a car – and almost its passenger, Natalie Huddleston of Shaler Township. She was not injured.

According to Steve Cowan, PennDOT district press officer, the sinkhole does not pose any danger to the state-maintained McKnight Road, which is about 15 feet from the edge of the sinkhole.

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Pennsylvania
10:15 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Burrell High School Player Dies After Workout

A western Pennsylvania high school football player collapsed during the year's first practice — a workout designed to acclimate players to hot weather — and died a short time later at a hospital.

An autopsy was planned Thursday the body of 16-year-old Noah Cornuet, a sophomore at Burrell High School in Lower Burrell, about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

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Environment & Energy
12:04 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

DEP: Lack of Oversight, Human Error Caused Deadly Greene County Well Fire

Pennsylvania investigators have faulted site managers in a report on a Chevron natural gas well fire in Dunkard Township, Greene County that killed a worker in February.

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Community
10:57 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Group Honors Third Kennywood Coaster as 'Landmark'

The group American Coaster Enthusiasts has named the Thunderbolt a "Coaster Landmark" — the third roller coaster to be so recognized at the Kennywood amusement park near Pittsburgh.

Kennywood is now the only park in the United States with three coaster landmarks.

The group founded in 1978 has honored 30 coaster landmarks nationwide since 2002.

Kennywood's Jack Rabbit and Racer roller coasters were previously honored as landmarks by the group. All three are traditional roller coasters with wooden frames and tracks.

Transportation
11:24 am
Thu July 24, 2014

PUC Approves Emergency Ride-Sharing Permits

The state Public Utility Commission has approved emergency permits for two ride-sharing companies that have been operating in the Pittsburgh area.
 
The companies have come under fire over concerns that drivers, their vehicles and their insurance don't meet regulations for taxi cabs and other similar services. The companies have argued their services are just as safe but have been targeted because they don't fit neatly into current public transportation regulations.
 

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Public Safety
9:37 am
Tue July 15, 2014

2 Dead in Beaver County House Explosion

Authorities say a man and woman were killed in an early morning house explosion in a rural area of Western Pennsylvania.

Emergency dispatchers in Beaver County say the blast was reported at about 4 a.m. Tuesday at the residence in South Beaver Township, about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Officer Jesse Richman said the victims, who were in their mid to late 60s, were inside the ranch-style home at the time.

Public Safety
10:12 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Officer Honored For Franklin Regional Stabbing Response

A retired school police officer has been honored for handcuffing a 16-year-old charged with stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard at a suburban Pittsburgh high school.

Fifty-nine-year-old William "Buzz" Yakshe is one of six national recipients of the Regional Exceptional Service Award given by the National Association of School Resources Officers.

Yakshe retired in May, after helping subdue Alex Hribal following the April 9 stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville. Yakshe was a Murrysville police officer assigned to the school.

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Jerry Sandusky
10:45 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Kane Report: Politics Had No Role in Sandusky Probe

A report released Monday detailing the handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case faults police and prosecutors for long delays in bringing charges but found no evidence that politics affected the investigation.

The report, commissioned by Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane and written by former federal prosecutor Geoff Moulton, by a former federal prosecutor blamed a three-year time lapse in filing charges on communication problems, an expungement of a 1998 complaint about the former Penn State coach and a failure to take certain investigative steps early on.

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Transportation
5:12 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Commission OKs Another Boost In PA Turnpike Tolls

Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike are going up for the seventh straight year.

The turnpike commission Tuesday approved a 5 percent increase that will take effect in January.

Officials say the increase will be applied evenly to cash and electronic E-ZPass tolls — marking the first time in three years that cash tolls are not subject to a steeper increase.

About three out of four turnpike drivers now use E-ZPass.

Transportation
9:33 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Peduto Slams PUC Over Ride-Sharing Suits

Regulators want two ride-sharing companies to stop doing business in Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement is pursing cease-and-desist orders against San Francisco-based ride-share companies Lyft and Uber.

The companies have five days to respond.

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Public Safety
11:46 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Use Of Force During Gay Pride Arrest Investigated

A Pittsburgh police officer has been put on desk duty after video surfaced showing him punching a woman at the city's gay pride parade and festival.

Mayor Bill Peduto said Monday the officer will remain on restricted duty for a month during an internal investigation.

The officer, Souroth Chatterji, says he was trying to break up a fight when he grabbed the woman by the head and punched her in the side so he could handcuff and arrest her. He accuses her of fighting with him and kicking him in the groin.

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Education
11:26 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Pittsburgh Diocese Closing Another K-8 School

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is closing a second K-8 school in as many weeks due to declining enrollment.

The diocese says St. John the Baptist Parish in Monaca, Beaver County, has asked permission to close its school because it had only 97 students enrolled in grades K-8. Last week the diocese announced it was closing Holy Child School in Bridgeville, which had only 82 pupils this year, and only 53 enrolled for the fall.

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Government & Politics
4:33 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Judge Takes On Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage

The federal judge who struck down Pennsylvania's law banning recognition of same-sex marriage says he saw no proof that same-sex marriage destroys the strength of families.

Judge John E. Jones III spoke Monday on WITF-FM's hour-long show "Smart Talk."

He was responding to a statement by Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh read to him by the show's host. But Jones says a link between family strength and same-sex marriage hasn't been proven.

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Community
11:00 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Heads Up: US Navy's Blue Angels To Fly Over Pittsburgh Today

The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flying aerobatic squadron plans to fly over Pittsburgh at low altitudes for a photo shoot.

Blue Angels press officer Eric Rowley says that on Wednesday six F/A-18 Hornet jets plan to make at least three passes over downtown Pittsburgh between 2:45 and 3:15 p.m. The formation is expected to fly between 500 and 1,500 feet above the ground, near Point State Park.

The Blue Angels will also be performing at the Latrobe Air Show on June 7 and 8.

Public Safety
2:10 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

School Stabbing Suspect Waives Court Appearance

A 16-year-old charged with stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard at his high school outside Pittsburgh has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

By waiving the hearing, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, Alex Hribal and his defense attorney acknowledge that Westmoreland County prosecutors have enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

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Pittsburgh
3:43 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

UPMC Says ID Theft Scam Affects All 62,000 Workers

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says federal investigators now believe all 62,000 of the hospital network's employees have had their personal information accessed by identity thieves who have used information from about 800 workers to file bogus federal tax returns.

UPMC last month believed only 27,000 workers were affected, but the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday that a memo to employees says "the scope may be larger than originally thought, potentially affecting every employee."

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Arts & Culture
2:37 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Judge Approves August Wilson Center Sale To NY Firm

A judge has approved plans to sell the bankrupt August Wilson Center for African American Culture to a New York developer that wants to put a hotel on top of the downtown Pittsburgh building.

Judge Lawrence O'Toole signed an interim order Tuesday that will allow 980 Liberty Partners to study whether the 200-room hotel is feasible. Liberty Partners had previously bid $9.5 million for the property, but the sale isn't final yet.

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Government & Politics
3:08 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Pennsylvania Won't Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Case

Pennsylvania's governor says he won't appeal a court decision that struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

Gov. Tom Corbett's decision Wednesday means that same-sex marriage will remain legal in Pennsylvania, without the threat that a higher court will reinstate the ban.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III struck down Pennsylvania's 1996 law banning recognition of gay marriage, calling it unconstitutional.

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Same-Sex Marriage
2:46 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Ban Overturned By Judge

Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage was overturned by a federal judge Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III called the plaintiffs — a widow, 11 couples and one of the couples' two teenage daughters — courageous.

"We now join the 12 federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil," Jones wrote.

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Government & Politics
11:07 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Prosecutors: Chinese Military Hackers Targeted Pennsylvania Firms

Four major manufacturing firms that are based or do much of their work in western Pennsylvania, plus the United Steelworkers of America, were hacked by five Chinese army officials who allegedly stole trade secrets and other proprietary or sensitive information, federal authorities said Monday.

Westinghouse, U.S. Steel, Alcoa, and specialty steelmaker Allegheny Technologies Inc., or ATI, were targeted in the scheme that allegedly began in 2006, according to an indictment.

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Sports
2:13 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Penguins Fire General Manager Ray Shero

The Pittsburgh Penguins fired general manager Ray Shero on Friday while the status of coach Dan Bylsma will be evaluated.

Team co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said it was time to take the franchise in a new direction after the team's latest playoff flameout. The Penguins lost to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinals this week.

Assistant general manager Jason Botterill will serve as general manager on an interim basis while the team searches for Shero's replacement.

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Environment & Energy
5:48 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Two West Virginia Coal Miners Killed Doing Risky Retreat Mining

The two workers killed in an underground coal mine in West Virginia were performing a risky method known as retreat mining, where the roof is intentionally collapsed to retrieve more coal.

Retreat mining has been going on for generations and is considered standard practice in mines where coal reserves are running out. It involves yanking supporting pillars of coal from inside the mine and letting the roof collapse as miners and equipment work their way out.

The son of one of the workers who died Monday night at Brody Mine No. 1 said his father understood the risks.

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Community
11:27 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Last Hospitalized Franklin Regional Victim Progressing

The family of the only victim still hospitalized after last month's a mass stabbing at a Pittsburgh-area high school says the boy is making "great progress" and has even been watching Pittsburgh Penguins playoff games on television.

Fifteen-year-old Greg Keener was among 20 students and one security guard wounded April 9 at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

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Health
5:25 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Allegheny County Reports Measles Case

Allegheny County health authorities say a person with measles might have recently spread the virus to others in the Pittsburgh area.

Officials say Thursday that people who may have been in contact with the Allegheny County resident at work or elsewhere are being notified. They also say others may have been exposed on April 30 in New Kensington, at an Indiana Township restaurant, and in Harmar Township.

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Government & Politics
5:23 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Corbett Says He Won't Appeal Voter ID Law Decision

Gov. Tom Corbett says he won't appeal a state court ruling that struck down Pennsylvania's voter identification law.

Corbett released a statement Thursday defending the law but saying it needed changes and he hoped to work with the Legislature on them.

The law was one of the strictest in the nation, requiring nearly all voters to show certain forms of photo identification at the polls.

It was never enforced, having been put on hold during the legal challenge that resulted in a Commonwealth Court judge declaring it unconstitutional in January.

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Higher Education
10:49 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Duquesne Combines Biomedical Engineering, Nursing

Duquesne University plans to offer a five-year undergraduate degree program combining biomedical engineering and nursing starting this fall.

Spokeswoman Karen Ferrick-Roman says the program is believed to be the first undergraduate program of its kind.

School officials say biomedical engineers typically lack clinical experience in dealing with patients, but that nursing training would remedy that.

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