Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Two major prescription drug distributors have agreed to pay $36 million to settle a West Virginia lawsuit alleging they fueled West Virginia's opioid epidemic with excessively large shipments of painkillers into the state over several years.

State officials on Monday say Cardinal Health will pay $20 million and AmerisourceBergen will pay $16 million under the terms that have now been filed with Boone County Circuit Court.

The companies have denied any wrongdoing.

Judge William Thompson disclosed the proposed settlements two weeks ago with no details.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Snow advisories could spell trouble for commuters on both ends of Pennsylvania.

National Weather Service advisories for Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania predict 1 to 2 inches in and around Pittsburgh, with 3 to 5 inches forecast for counties east and south of the city. A similar advisory is projecting 1 to 3 inches in and around Philadelphia.

But it's the timing of the advisories that could cause trouble.

The western advisory runs from noon Thursday until 7 a.m. Friday with snow possibly snarling the Thursday evening rush hour.

Katie Meyer / WITF

 

Signaling that the 2017 Pennsylvania Farm Show is about to open, the event's annual butter sculpture has been revealed.

The sculpture unveiled Thursday is called "A Culture of Stewardship" and pays tribute to dairy farmers, who the artists say are stewards of the land, air, water and community.

About a half-ton of butter was used to create the piece, which shows a landscape of farms and undulating hillsides giving way to forest-covered peaks.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

 

The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration wants to fine a contractor $11,224 for a construction fire that wholly or partially shut down a major Pittsburgh bridge for 24 days.

Contractor Joseph B. Fay Co. didn't immediately comment Wednesday. The company has 15 days to appeal.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has already said it wants Fay to forfeit more than $3 million of the $80 million the company is owed for the Liberty Bridge reconstruction project.

Matt Rourke / flickr

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane says her nine-count perjury and obstruction conviction should be overturned because of trial errors and overlapping charges.

Kane has been sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail but remains free while she appeals the August conviction.

Her lawyer in a filing Tuesday challenges the use of a special prosecutor to investigate the leak of grand jury material. The jury found that Kane orchestrated the leak to embarrass a rival.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Pennsylvania's most northwestern county could be hit with 14 inches of lake-effect snow by Friday.

The National Weather Service expects 10 to 14 inches of snow to fall in Erie County between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. Friday. The county borders Lake Erie and southwestern New York.

The lake-effect snow advisory says the storm will also carry winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

Victoria Arocho / AP

Pennsylvania again leads the nation in reported cases of Lyme disease according to tracking conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Preliminary data released by the CDC on Thursday shows there have been 12,092 cases of the tick-borne disease reported in Pennsylvania this year through Dec. 24.

That figure is triple the amount of New York, which registered the country's second-highest total with 4,002 infections in 2016. CDC officials say more than 30,000 cases are reported each year.

Darryl Bush / AP

A Pennsylvania appellate court says two women joined in a civil union in Vermont should be able to dissolve it in Pennsylvania.

The state Superior Court's decision Wednesday overturned a ruling in Philadelphia's family court that it lacked jurisdiction to dissolve the civil union.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania is staking its claim to more than $23 million in federal funding that Verizon turned down to expand high-speed internet service to rural customers in the state.

The Federal Communication Commission's Connect America Fund provides funding to telecommunications providers to build new network infrastructure or upgrade existing broadband networks in regions that lack it. Companies that take the money must agree to offer fast internet speeds as well as meet other targets.

Mel Evans / AP

Pennsylvania is throttling back on one of its signature economic development programs.

The Philadelphia Inquirer  reports the administration of Governor Tom Wolf has sent rejection letters to Philadelphia, Coatesville and other municipalities that submitted applications to the Keystone Opportunity Zone program.

Michael Conroy / AP

Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown is donating $100,000 to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

The hospital's president and chief development officer, Greg Barrett, says there were "little rumblings" that Brown might be planning a donation. The mystery was put to rest when Brown posted a picture of the check on Snapchat Thursday night.

Brown says this is his first big charitable donation, but he's hoping to do more in the future. Brown says it's "a wonderful time of the year to give back."

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education formally approved contracts with the union representing more than 5,000 faculty members and coaches at the 14 state-owned universities.

The contracts signed Tuesday were already approved by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties following the union's first-ever strike in October.

More than $77 million in raises were handed out as part of the contracts, which are retroactive to July 2015.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

President Barack Obama pardoned a former Pittsburgh city councilman's 46-year-old federal gun charge.

Seventy-three-year-old Sala Udin says he filed a formal request for clemency four years ago and had given up hope when he was surprised on Monday.

The civil rights advocate served seven months of a five-year sentence on charges of illegally transporting firearms and untaxed alcohol.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

Pittsburgh's Health Ride bike-sharing program has received a $200,000 grant to expand.

The program has 500 rental bikes at 50 stations in 11 of the city's neighborhoods. People can rent the bikes by the half-hour or by purchasing a membership for unlimited 30-minute or 60-minute rides for a monthly fee. The program has more than 40,000 registered users since it began in May 2015.

Erin Potts, marketing director for the Pittsburgh Bike Share nonprofit that runs the program, says the state grant will expand the program to 75 stations throughout the city.

Joshua Ganderson / Flickr

Power has been restored to a suburban Pittsburgh borough after three transformer explosions left its 3,000 residents without power for more than six hours in frigid temperatures.

Pitcairn is about 15 miles east of Pittsburgh and lost power about 3 a.m. Thursday.

Although Duquesne Light supplies electricity to Pitcairn, a borough-run company distributes it to residents. Duquesne Light restored the power and Pitcairn officials say residents were back in service by about 9:30 a.m.

Yoshimitsu Kurooka / flickr

A new program aims at rewarding Pittsburgh employers who hire Pittsburgh Promise scholarship recipients.

Councilman Corey O'Connor announced the program on Monday. Businesses that hire Pittsburgh Promise alumni would be eligible for grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

Companies must hire a college graduate for full-time employment and retain the employee for at least six months. O'Connor says the money will benefit employers and employees. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Tens of thousands of commuters who use light-rail trains to travel through Pittsburgh ran late this morning.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County blamed an unspecified computer glitch that caused significant delays. At one point, trains couldn't travel into Downtown or the North Shore on Wednesday morning.

Transit spokesman Jim Ritchie said the problem was based in the rail operating center in the South Hills.

Trains returned to normal service about 8:15 a.m., Ritchie said, but they remained off-schedule through the morning rush.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

The city of Pittsburgh has cited itself for owning run-down properties and a local judge isn't letting the city withdraw some citations, which officials say were mistakenly filed.

The city's Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections has ramped up citations against owners of eyesore properties, in hopes landlords will repair them.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

  The Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania is opening 365 miles of snowmobile trails on Friday.

Forest Supervisor Sherry Tune says recent snows made it possible to open the trails. Registration with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is required.

Tune said the only trail that won't open Friday is the Snowmobile Trail Connector No. 12, which is flooded.

Keith Srakocic / AP

 

Approximately 190 Ambridge Area School District teachers are on strike.

Schools are closed Tuesday after educators in the Beaver County district walked off the job following months of contract negotiations. The school board and teachers' union remain at odds over salaries and health benefits.

Specifically, the district says the teachers pay only $25 per month for full family health care coverage, and are balking at a proposed increase in their share of the monthly premium.

The teachers' contract expired in June 2015.

Google Maps

 

Authorities say a western Pennsylvania businessman has been charged with harboring and transporting people who weren't legally in the country and who worked at his restaurants.

Federal prosecutors said a two-count federal grand jury indictment unsealed Monday names 44-year-old Xing Zheng Lin, also known as Steve Lin.

Authorities allege that from about 2009 until January 2014, the McKees Rocks resident harbored and transported people who weren't legally in the country and who worked at Saga Restaurant in Monroeville, Robinson and Bethel Park.

Don Wright / AP

 

 

An appeals court has cleared the way for refiling of a lawsuit against an engineering firm in the deaths of four people killed in flash flooding in Pittsburgh more than five years ago.

A judge earlier dismissed claims against Chester Engineers Inc., which acted as the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority's consulting engineer and construction manager.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

 

 

The Supreme Court is upholding the broad reach of a federal law prohibiting bank fraud.

The unanimous ruling on Monday came in the case of a California man who illegally siphoned about $307,000 out of a Taiwanese businessman's Bank of America bank account.

Justice Stephen Breyer rejected Lawrence Shaw's claim that the law applies only when a defendant intends to cheat the bank itself — not a bank customer. Breyer said the bank has property interests in the customer's account and that Shaw misled the bank to steal the customer's money.

PPG Industries

 

 

Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries will cut its workforce by about 1,700 jobs, or about 3.6 percent of its 47,000 workers worldwide, company officials said Friday.

Spokesman Mark Silvey said the cuts will be spread across all geographic regions so there "is expected to be minimal overall impact to any specific region."

PPG is a Fortune 500 company founded in Pittsburgh in 1883 by John Pitcairn Jr. and John Baptiste Ford. Once known for plate glass production, they're now a global supplier of paints and specialty coatings in more than 70 countries.

Ephrata Police Department / Facebook

 

A Pennsylvania police department says a black cat was lucky for one of its officers tracking down a fugitive.

The Ephrata Police Department posted on its Facebook page that officers were searching for Jonathan Michael Steffy last month over an outstanding bench warrant.

PA Game Commission

 

A mother bear and three cubs have been found dead in a Pennsylvania church parking lot.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission calls the deaths of the sow and the cubs "highly suspicious" and is seeking information.

Wildlife conservation officers responded Tuesday to a report of dead bears in the parking lot of St. Monica's Church in West Wyoming. They discovered a nearly 300-pound female bear and the cubs.

The bears showed no signs of bullet wounds or external trauma.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's governor is cleaning up dozens of what he calls outdated and unneeded executive orders that he inherited from seven previous governors.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday announced he was rescinding 46 of them, some that were established about three decades ago. Six were signed in the past decade.

Wolf says many of them involve entities that no longer exist.

Google Maps

 

Police are investigating allegedly Satanic graffiti spray-painted onto a central Pennsylvania church.

The vandalism included the digits "666" and upside-down crosses sprayed on the cupola above the roof of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster County's Manheim Township, about 40 miles southeast of Harrisburg.

The graffiti was discovered Sunday afternoon.

Pastor Michael Rogers said the church has never experienced anything like this. It appeared to be the work of "somebody stupid with something to get out of their system," he said.

Federal Bureau of Prisons

 

Federal prosecutors say an inmate's killing of a guard at a federal prison in Pennsylvania was a calculated slaying that saw the suspect pause to chew a piece of gum he took from the dying man's pocket.

Federal prosecutors detailed the attack in court documents filed Monday, arguing that a jury should see surveillance video showing the 9-minute attack, and 22-minute aftermath in which guard Eric Williams lay dying before other guards arrived.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Police in the Pittsburgh suburbs have charged an Uber driver with indecent assault and harassment for allegedly making unwanted sexual advances toward a female passenger.

Ross Township police are charging 46-year-old Jehad Abdula Makhoul by summons, so online court records don't list an attorney for him.

The woman reported the incident Nov. 22 after she contacted the ride-sharing serving for a ride to a restaurant that evening.

Pages