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Chevron Appalachia has agreed to pay a nearly $940,000 fine levied by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources over an explosion and fire that killed a contractor at a company well site in Dunkard Township, Greene County. 

Attorney General Kathleen Kane engaged in a cover-up and lied about her role in an alleged unlawful leak of information from a 2009 investigation, according to a report by the grand jury that recommended she face criminal charges.

"The testimony of Attorney General Kane was not an honest account of the events, and she mischaracterized events to cover up activities undertaken at her direction to unlawfully release documents subject to grand jury secrecy," said the report released Monday, three months after its recommendations were made public.

Associated Press

If you think it's been a cold February in Pittsburgh, you're right — near-record cold, in fact.

The National Weather Service says the city is on track for the second-coldest February since record-keeping began in 1871.

Meteorologist Rihaan Gangat said Saturday that the temperature averaged about 18.6 degrees for the first 27 days of February.

That is just over the 18-degree average recorded in 1979, the coldest February in recorded Pittsburgh history.

The next coldest February occurred in 1963, with an average temperature of 19.3 degrees.

The Canadian National Railway Co. is hoping to finish cleaning up and repairing a line nearly in Butler County two days after 27 cars carrying iron ore derailed.

The cars, which were part of a 71-car freight train, derailed about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in Center Township, Pennsylvania. The accident scene, near Route 308, is about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Railroad spokesman Patrick Waldron said the railroad hoped to reopen the tracks Friday afternoon, provided the cars and spilled cargo could be removed and the tracks repaired by that time.

JMR_Photography / flickr

A proposal to sell off most of Pennsylvania's state-owned liquor system and its wholesale distribution network moved ahead with a vote on the Legislature on Monday, although its prospects to become law remain uncertain.

The state House Liquor Control Committee voted 15-to-10 to advance a Republican-backed proposal that was very similar to a bill that passed the House but stalled in Senate during the last legislative session.

Governor Tom Wolf on Thursday reversed an order by his Republican predecessor, Tom Corbett, by issuing an executive order banning new gas drilling leases in state forests and parks.

Wolf’s order supersedes that signed by Corbett last May to resume issuing drilling leases for forests and parks.

In 2010 then Gov. Ed Rendell issued the moratorium—two years after his administration first allowed drilling in state forests.

Pennsylvania's capital city is facing a lawsuit believed to be the first filed under a new state law designed to give gun owners and gun rights groups a better chance at dismantling municipal firearms ordinances.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Dauphin County court named as defendants the city of Harrisburg and various city officials.

Pittsburgh police plan to test an electronic gunshot-detection system later this month in a three square mile area stretching from the East Hills to East Liberty.

Councilman Ricky Burgess, who represents the neighborhoods, said there are three reasons for installing the ShotSpotter system, which can pinpoint the location and direction of shots fired.

"It's hard to make predictions around here and be accurate," says U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) about the fate of the $1.1 trillion budget.

It's now up to the Senate to pass the huge  spending bill to keep the government running through the end of the current fiscal year — Sept. 30.  

The state is launching a website to help consumers through the impending termination of a contract between a Western Pennsylvania insurer and the region's dominant hospital and outpatient network.

Officials said they're posting information to stayInformed.pa.gov about changes taking effect Jan. 1 when most Highmark subscribers lose in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals. This change has raised many questions, and they have been fielded through the PA Department of Insurance.

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Wednesday four of her employees have been fired and 11 suspended without pay for involvement in a pornographic email scandal that also prompted a state Supreme Court justice to step down.

Kane said two other union employees face possible termination after "the exhaustion of their contractually mandated rights." Two others quit before being disciplined, and several others described as having limited involvement received written reprimands or counseling.

A University of Pittsburgh researcher charged in the cyanide poisoning death of his wife last year was convicted on Friday of first-degree murder.

Dr. Robert Ferrante, who hung his head when the verdict was read in court, faces a mandatory life sentence in the April 2013 death of 41-year-old neurologist Dr. Autumn Klein.

A survivalist accused of ambushing two Pennsylvania state troopers, leaving one dead and seriously injuring the other, was captured on Thursday by U.S. marshals in an abandoned airplane hangar, ending a seven-week manhunt for him, authorities said.

State police confirmed Eric  Frein was taken into custody but released no details.

Former state senator Jane Orie promised Wednesday to file a federal court appeal now that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge of her campaign corruption conviction and prison sentence.

"I have always been known to be a fighter — and I fight for what I believe in and in what is right," Orie said in an emailed statement. "My case is by no means over, and I will aggressively pursue my appeal in federal court."

Six years into a natural gas boom, Pennsylvania has for the first time released details of 243 cases in which companies prospecting for oil or gas were found by state regulators to have contaminated private drinking water wells.

A western Pennsylvania judge has approved the sale of the Johnstown-based Conemaugh Health System to a for-profit Tennessee network, Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

Under the deal approved Wednesday by Cambria County Judge Timothy Creany, Duke LifePoint will pay $111 million for Conemaugh, and agree to invest $425 million more on capital improvements, including new facilities in Richland Township, near Johnstown, and Ebensburg, over the next decade.

Additionally, the properties in the system will now be taxable.

whitehouse.gov

American manufacturing was the focus of President Obama’s visit to Pittsburgh Tuesday.

The president stopped at TechShop in Bakery Square, a facility that allows start-up businesses, tinkerers and hobbyists to use high-end instruments they may not otherwise have access to. Obama said part of continuing the manufacturing boom in the country will be finding ways to make resources of the federal government more available to the general public.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI say they've charged 44 people in a suburban Pittsburgh heroin ring that brazenly sold drugs while wearing T-shirts with the slogan, "Bricks R Us."

U.S. Attorney David Hickton and the FBI say the group was supplied out of Newark, New Jersey. They say the ring sold drugs in Pittsburgh and several of its south and east suburbs.

An eastern Pennsylvania company that owns the real estate of Penn National Gaming Inc. is buying The Meadows Racetrack & Casino near Pittsburgh for $465 million.

Gaming and Leisure Properties of Wyomissing plans to keep The Meadows buildings and real estate, but will sell its gaming licenses and other assets to a company that will continue to operate the harness racing track and casino.

The Meadows, about 15 miles south of Pittsburgh, has been owned by Cannery Casino Resorts LLC, of Las Vegas, since 2006.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A woman has sued the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, saying that its new electronic parking meters are too tall for her to reach from her wheelchair.

Fifty-three-year-old Debra J. Stemmler filed the class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court, claiming that the parking authority is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. Her lawsuit says the new meters have working parts more than 48 inches above the ground, including coin slots.

The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

A 55-year-old restaurant manager died and more than two dozen others were taken to hospitals Saturday after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a New York mall, police said.

Suffolk County police identified the man who died as Steven Nelson, a manager at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island.

Police said 28 others affected by carbon monoxide were taken to area hospitals.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Medicine have announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding between their two cancer centers.

When finalized, Allegheny Health Network and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center will collaborate on several initiatives, share research and participate in joint projects, among other things.

Revenue from Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos dipped 1.4 percent in 2013 to $3.1 billion. That’s the first time the industry has experienced an overall decline in revenue since casino play began in 2006.

“We saw a little up, we saw a little down,” said Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. “Table games continue to be a growing segment. We saw their revenue go up around 6 percent. A slight decrease in slot machines, but that’s not unexpected.”

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Boeing hailed Friday's vote, which proponents said solidifies the aerospace giant's presence in the Seattle area.

"Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world," Inslee declared.

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told the Associated Press.

A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.

Gov. Tom Corbett's keeping his option alive for at least two more months to hire a private manager for the $3.7 billion Pennsylvania Lottery.

The administration said Tuesday that the British national lottery operator, Camelot Global Services, agreed to extend the company's bid through Dec. 31.

Corbett began searching for a private manager in April 2012, but Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the contract with his eventual choice, Camelot, as illegal.

Corbett hasn't said whether he's asking state lawmakers for help or whether he'll resubmit the contract to Kane.

audreyjm529 / flickr

A Pennsylvania judge said Tuesday he would decide later whether to allow a lawsuit filed against the NCAA by the family of longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and others to go forward.

After hearing more than three hours of arguments, Judge John B. Leete said he planned to issue a written opinion in the case but did not say when.

A lawyer for college sports' governing body urged him to throw out the complaint.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has joined top prosecutors in San Francisco and New York in a nationwide initiative to thwart smartphone thefts by rendering the devices useless after a robbery.

The “Secure Our Smartphones” initiative was introduced in Pennsylvania by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this week. It’s a collaboration among attorneys general and municipal leaders asking cell phone manufacturers to develop a “kill switch” for stolen phones.

The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue a Pittsburgh suburb for allegedly singling out Republican campaign signs in a crackdown to remove such items from public rights of way.

The ACLU sent a letter Wednesday to Robinson Township officials. Township manager Jeffrey Silka says he isn't commenting because "it is a legal issue and a subject of potential litigation."

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