Associated Press

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Republicans say they'll go to federal court this week to try to block new court-ordered boundaries of Pennsylvania's congressional districts from remaining in effect for 2018's elections.

Jon Dawson / flickr.com

Weather officials say the tornado that touched down in western Pennsylvania on Thursday was an EF-1 packing wind gusts up to 105 mph.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump is postponing a campaign rally next week in the Pittsburgh area, the early political hotspot of 2018's congressional elections.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania lobbyists are subject to a new law that requires them to file their disclosure reports electronically.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed a bill that also increases fines for missing quarterly deadlines for filing disclosure reports.

Officials say about one in five reports were still being filed with paper.

Ed Reiker / Pyrex Brand/AP

A county commissioner from southwestern Pennsylvania is the newest Republican to join the field vying to become the state's next lieutenant governor.

Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan said Tuesday that she'll seek the nomination. The 55-year-old Irey Vaughan has run unsuccessfully for state treasurer and Congress. She's been a county commissioner since 1996.

March 6 is the deadline for candidates to file paperwork for the May 15 primary ballot.

Five Democrats have lined up to contest the re-election bid of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack in the party's primary.

Allegheny County Jail / AP

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty if a man is convicted of first-degree murder in a Pittsburgh fire that killed two women and a 4-year-old child last year.

Forty-one-year-old Martell Smith is charged with homicide and arson in the deaths of 58-year-old Sandra Douglas, 21-year-old Shamira Staten and her daughter Chy'enne Manning.

Authorities allege that Smith set the fire Dec. 20 after a bar fight with a relative of theirs. Police allege that he said "Yep, I did it" as he watched the house burn.

Wally Fong / AP

Marty Allen, the baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows and talk shows for decades, died Monday night. He was 95.

Allen died in Las Vegas of complications from pneumonia with his wife and performing partner of the last three decades Karon Kate Blackwell by his side, Allen's spokeswoman Candi Cazau told The Associated Press.

Mic Smith / AP

President Donald Trump's campaign says he'll hold a rally in Ambridge next week.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Authorities have released the name of a man shot by a Pittsburgh police officer after officials allege he and another officer were fired upon over the weekend.

Allegheny County police said two Pittsburgh officers on foot patrol in the Homewood neighborhood shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday were fired upon by a man who emerged from behind a building. An officer returned fire then and when they found the suspect again.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Tuesday marked the third time a senior Trump administration official dropped into Pittsburgh for 2018's first congressional election.

Ivanka Trump and Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon met Tuesday in Mt. Lebanon with business owners and Republican state lawmakers where she touted tax-cutting legislation her father signed.

Sitting beside her was state Rep. Rick Saccone, the Republican running in March 13's special election to fill the seat left vacant by Republican Tim Murphy's resignation.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Many schools have delayed opening after a blast of snow moved through western Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Public Schools is operating on a 2-hour delay Monday morning. 

Several inches of snow covered roads and slowed motorists in the Pittsburgh area Monday.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Venezuelan authorities say police have rescued the mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz three days after she was kidnapped.

Center for Biological Diversity / AP

An environmental group wants couples to think of wild animals before acting like them this Valentine's Day.

The Center for Biological Diversity is handing out endangered species condoms at the Carnegie Science Center's adults-only Valentine's event Friday in Pittsburgh.

The wrappers feature colorful artwork and slogans like "Before it gets any hotter...remember the sea otter," and "Can't refrain? Think of the whooping crane."

The group hopes to show how human population growth negatively affects wildlife.

Mark Tenally / AP

Pirates president Frank Coonelly says the team is working with authorities to secure the safe return of the mother of catcher Elias Diaz.

Team officials did not specify the circumstances, but Venezuelan media reported Thursday that the 24-year-old player's mother was kidnapped in San Francisco, a city about 430 miles west of Caracas.

Coonelly says in a statement that the team is "shocked and deeply concerned for Elias' mother, as well as for Elias and his entire family."

Diaz played 64 games for Pittsburgh in 2017, hitting .223 with 19 RBIs and 18 runs.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania regulators are fining Sunoco more than $12 million for problems with a massive natural gas pipeline project, but letting work resume under a consent agreement.

The Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday that Sunoco Pipeline has made changes since work on the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline was halted Jan. 3.

The 350-mile project has been plagued by spills and leaks of drilling fluid and improper construction methods.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $17.5 million in emergency funding to fight the spread of the spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania.

The invasive species was first spotted in District Township in 2014. It has since spread to 12 counties and threatens the state's $18 billion grape, orchard and logging industries.

In an announcement Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says "decisive action" was needed to stop the insect from spreading to neighboring states.

Scott Dalton / AP

Fly, Dick's Sporting Goods, fly.

The unlikely win for the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl LII match up could be a windfall for the sporting goods retailer, despite a headquarters squarely placed in Steeler Nation.

The same sales bump took place after the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in more than a century.

Analysts with J.P. Morgan wrote Wednesday, "From a similarities perspective, both the Cubs and Eagles have rabid fans that have been starved for a championship for decades."

Matt Rourke / AP

Bill Cosby's lawyers say they'll need to postpone his April 2 sexual assault retrial if some of his other accusers are allowed to testify.

The comedian's lawyers said in a court filing Tuesday that they'll seek a delay to allow them more time to investigate allegations from the 19 women prosecutors are seeking to call as witnesses.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania state representatives are moving closer to a vote that would let the public decide whether to trim about a quarter of their own members.

The state House on Monday turned down a series of proposed changes to the constitutional amendment.

Amendments at this stage could prevent the constitutional referendum from being put before the state's voters this year.

A final vote in the House and passage by the Senate are still required.

The referendum would cut the size of the state House of Representatives from 203 to 151 members.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Attorneys general in over a dozen states oppose a federal Department of Labor proposal to let employers control the tips of some hourly employees.

The attorneys general filed comments in opposition with federal officials on Monday.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called the proposal that rescinds a 2011 rule "outrageous" and likened it to wage theft.

The plan applies to employees paid the federal minimum wage, which is $7.75 an hour. In Illinois, about half a million workers could be affected.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog foresees no early end to winter.

Punxsutawney Phil's handlers announced Friday the weather prognosticator saw his shadow.

Legend has it if the furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, expect six more weeks of winter-like weather.

Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney. That's about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Spectators bundled up and bopped to music amid the camp and kitsch with the temperature around 11 degrees.

Matt Rourke / AP

The University of Pennsylvania has announced plans to distance itself from casino mogul Steve Wynn and comedian Bill Cosby in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against both men.

Keith Srakocic / AP

 Injured Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is going home.

Shazier was released from the hospital on Thursday, nearly two months after suffering a spinal injury in a victory over Cincinnati. The Pro Bowler underwent spine stabilization on Dec. 6 and while he was able to travel a bit, including visiting team practices and making appearances at Heinz Field for games, he returned to the hospital each evening.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says Shazier will transition to an outpatient therapy program.

Cliff Owen / AP

Vice President Mike Pence is coming to help raise money in a congressional election in southwestern Pennsylvania widely viewed as a test of whether Republicans can stave off Democratic gains this year.

Pence is scheduled to appear Friday at a rally and fundraiser for Rick Saccone. He's a 59-year-old Republican state representative and retired Air Force intelligence officer running in the March 13 special election to replace Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned last year in a scandal.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Rebounding prices for natural gas and a growth in new wells exploring Pennsylvania's vast Marcellus Shale reservoir are fueling a recovery in fee revenue for state programs and county and municipal governments.

The Independent Fiscal Office projected Wednesday that impact fee collections for 2017 will be just above $219 million, $46 million more than 2016's low point of $173 million.

Matt Slocum / AP

A Roman Catholic bishop has issued some guidelines on how his 78 parishes in four southwestern Pennsylvania counties should deal with flu and the Mass.

Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic on Wednesday encouraged parish leaders to promote prudent and beneficial practices.

Priests should eliminate the practice of exchanging the sign of peace, or tell parishioners to do so without making physical contact. Communion should not be distributed from the chalice and if using a chalice, parishioners who are ill or fear they are becoming ill should not receive it.

Google

A small explosion in a lab at science complex at the University of Pittsburgh prompted a brief evacuation, officials said Wednesday.

University spokesman Joe Miksch said the blast happened at about 2:45 p.m. in the Life Sciences Annex in the Clapp, Langley and Crawford Hall complex, which houses the biological sciences and neuroscience department. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Pennsylvania State Police are asking for donated horses to join a Hershey-based mounted patrol unit.

The agency on Wednesday issued a call for geldings between 5 and 15 years old. Officials say draft horses or draft-crosses are preferable.

The 26-horse unit performs searches, crowd control, security and patrols, as well as participates in parades and similar events.

Horses have to be at least 16 hands tall, which is 5 feet 4 inches at the shoulder, and can't be 18 hands or larger.

They must be able to be safely housed with others horses in a stable.

Nati Harnik / AP

The Senate on Monday rejected legislation designed to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a vote that put vulnerable Democrats on the record on the issue during an election year.

The vote was 51-46, short of the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. Three Democratic-senators up for re-election in conservative states voted to advance the legislation: Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted with most Democrats to reject it.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Snow is falling across Pennsylvania and that's causing some schools to delay opening or close for the day.

Motorists are asked to urge caution, especially on roads that have not been treated.

Temperatures in the western part of the state remain below freezing. Elsewhere, snow is mostly sticking on the grass and untreated surfaces because temperatures are at or above freezing.

The snow is expected to taper off from west to east on Tuesday.

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