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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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Government & Politics
4:23 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Corbett Backs Marijuana Extract To Treat Children

Gov. Tom Corbett is changing his position on medical marijuana and is backing the legalization of a marijuana extract to treat severe seizures in children.

Corbett's office confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that the Republican governor is meeting with several parents to tell them about his decision.

Corbett had been under pressure from parents who believe the oil extract, called cannabidiol, can save the lives of their seizure-wracked children. Democrats running to challenge Corbett in the fall election also favor the legalization of medical marijuana.

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Environment & Energy
10:39 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Allegheny County Council Vote Set On Deer Lakes Park Drilling Proposal

Allegheny County Council's Parks Committee has voted 4-1 to have the full council vote next week on a proposal to drill for natural gas under a Pittsburgh-area park.

Wednesday's vote means the 15-member body will vote next Tuesday on a proposal to Range Resources and Huntley & Huntley to drill beneath 1,180-acre Deer Lakes Park from well sites on neighboring private properties.

The proposal includes a $4.7 million bonus for the county, a $3 million donation to a park improvement fund and 18 percent royalties that county officials estimate would generate $3 million.

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August Wilson Center
8:26 am
Tue April 29, 2014

NY Developer is Top Bidder for August Wilson Center

A New York developer has emerged as the top bidder for Pittsburgh's bankrupt August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

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Pennsylvania
3:57 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Penn State Fans Plan New Statue Of Joe Paterno

With one Joe Paterno statue in storage, fans of the late Penn State football coach are commissioning a new one to be placed across from the university.

A State College, Pa., restaurant owner says he's interested in having the new statue put in front of his establishment.

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Environment & Energy
10:32 am
Wed April 23, 2014

County Council Hears Pro, Con Testimony On Parks Drilling

Members of the Allegheny County Council heard testimony for and against a proposal to drill for natural gas under a Pittsburgh-area park.

The council is considering a proposal to allow Range Resources and Huntley & Huntley to drill beneath 1,180-acre Deer Lakes Park from well sites on neighboring properties.

Officials say the plan would mean millions of dollars for the county and a park improvement fund.

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Business
12:09 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

New Owners Offer Buyouts To Pittsburgh Heinz Staff

The new owners of H.J. Heinz Co. have offered buyouts to all 775 workers in Pittsburgh, where the ketchup-and-food giant has been based for decades, but says the move doesn't signal a plan to move the company's headquarters.

Instead, Heinz officials say the buyout is being offered because the new owners Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital — a Brazilian investment firm — recognize the company's new culture might not be "the perfect fit" for long-time Pittsburgh-based employees.

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Government & Politics
9:45 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Obama, Biden To Speak In Oakdale Wednesday

The president and vice president will be in western Pennsylvania on Wednesday to talk about job training.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to speak at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale on "jobs-driven skills training in a 21st century economy."

The visit was originally scheduled to be held at Leetsdale about 15 miles away, but officials said the community college could better accommodate the event.

Public Safety
9:43 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Teachers Return To Franklin Regional; Critically Wounded Student Improves

The doors are reopening at the Murrysville high school where 21 students and a security guard were injured in a stabbing rampage five days ago.

Teachers will return to work Monday at Franklin Regional School District. Students will be able to visit the school with their families on Tuesday and classes will resume Wednesday, a week after the attack.

Authorities say 16-year-old Alex Hribal attacked his fellow students at the school with a pair of kitchen knives. He faces four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault.

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Public Safety
11:07 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Police: No Known Target In Franklin Regional Stabbing Rampage

Officials say Franklin Regional High School, where 21 students and a security guard were stabbed or slashed by a student Wednesday, is no longer being treated as a crime scene and will likely reopen Monday.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

No evidence has surfaced yet to show that a boy charged in a stabbing rampage at his high school was targeting any particular student, and efforts to establish a motive are stalled because the suspect isn't talking and many victims remain hospitalized, a police chief said Friday.

"At this point I don't have anybody that, you know, was targeted," Chief Thomas Seefeld said. "I know the issue of bullying has been brought up but his attorney has even said ... that bullying is not part of this and we have no evidence or reason to believe that it is."

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Public Safety
5:51 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Obama Offers Franklin Regional Principal Sympathy After Stabbings

President Barack Obama has offered his sympathy and gratitude to the principal of a Pennsylvania school where a teenager stabbed 22 people.

The White House says Obama called Principal Ron Suvak of Franklin Regional High School on Thursday as the president flew home from a two-day trip to Texas.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama offered his deepest sympathies to those affected. He says Obama talked about the heroism of students, teachers and staff whose actions saved lives.

Ongoing Coverage
7:28 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Mass Stabbing At Franklin Regional HS: Thursday's Developments

Sixteen-year-old Brett Hurt, alongside his mother Amanda Hurt, appeared at a hospital news conference Thursday. Brett Hurt was one of 22 people injured in a knife attack at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville Wednesday morning.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

UPDATE: (4:02 p.m.) Doctor: Wounds Not Trivial 

Many of the victims of Wednesday’s stabbing spree at Franklin Regional High School are doing well, according to doctors, though three remain in critical condition.
 
One stabbing victim remains in “very critical” condition at UPMC Presbyterian. Three others remain in the intensive care unit at Forbes Regional Hospital.

A 'Blank Expression,' Then Bloodshed At Franklin Regional High School

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Ongoing Coverage
7:15 am
Thu April 10, 2014

A 'Blank Expression,' Then Bloodshed At Franklin Regional High School

A 16-year-old armed with two knives went on a stabbing and slashing spree at Franklin Regional High School Wednesday, leaving 22 people injured.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Flailing away with two kitchen knives, a 16-year-old boy with a "blank expression" stabbed and slashed 21 students and a security guard in the crowded halls of his suburban Pittsburgh high school Wednesday before an assistant principal tackled him. 

The suspect, Alex Hribal, was taken into custody and treated for a minor hand wound, then was brought into court Wednesday in shackles and a hospital gown and charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. He was jailed without bail, and authorities said he would be prosecuted as an adult.

Thursday's Developments: Victim Undergoes Another Surgery; School May Reopen Monday

School Stabbing Suspect Was 'Nice Young Boy,' Attorney Says

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