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City Government
9:42 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Pittsburgh Appeals Panel's Police Residency Ruling

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is appealing an arbitration panel's decision that its police officers can live outside the city.

The appeal to Allegheny County Court puts on hold last week's ruling that would let officers live within 25 miles of the City-County Building. The ruling means officers could live throughout the county and in parts of six neighboring counties.

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Government & Politics
2:56 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Corbett, Lawmakers Slam PA Hunting Agency

Gov. Tom Corbett and several high-ranking state lawmakers are demanding that members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission make changes or resign.

The letter they sent Tuesday to Pennsylvania Game Commission President Bob Schlemmer says the agency should rescind an agreement to pay $220,000 to its former executive director, Carl Roe.

It also says William Capouillez shouldn't be named to succeed Roe.

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Environment & Energy
12:29 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Allegheny County Outlines Deal to Drill Under Deer Lakes Park

Allegheny County Council is set to consider a lucrative deal to allow Range Resources to drill for natural gas beneath a Pittsburgh-area park, from well sites on neighboring private properties.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald outlined the deal at a news conference Monday, saying it includes a $4.7 million bonus, a $3 million donation to a park improvement fund, and 18 percent royalties that are estimated to generate $3 million a year.

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Public Safety
12:05 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

71 Charged in Pittsburgh's St. Pat's Celebrations

Pittsburgh police say there were no major criminal incidents or problems during the city's St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday, or at celebrations afterward, though 71 people were arrested or cited, mostly for alcohol-related infractions.

Public Safety Director Michael Huss says about 23,000 people lined the parade route, many of whom then celebrated in the city — and were joined by other revelers — most at Market Square or the South Side, a redeveloped neighborhood with a large concentration of bars.

City Government
4:59 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Ruling Nixes Pittsburgh Police Residency Rule

A labor arbitrator has ruled Pittsburgh police don't have to live in the city, instead requiring only that they live within a 25-mile radius of the City-County Building downtown.

Thursday's ruling sets aside a November referendum in which voters overwhelmingly favored requiring officers to live in the city.

City Council proposed the referendum after a state law was changed in 2012, overturning the residency requirement. The law didn't require cities to negate residency requirements, but gave them the flexibility to do so.

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Environment
4:57 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Allegheny County Air Quality Meets Federal Standards

Officials say air quality in the county around Pittsburgh met federal standards for fine soot pollution for the first time in 2013.

Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Karen Hacker says in a Friday statement that the news marks "a huge leap forward" in efforts to improve air quality. All eight monitoring sites in the county met standards for fine particulate pollution, which can come from coal-fired power plants, autos and trucks, and plants that produce coke for steel mills.

International News
11:28 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Pittsburgh-Area Woman Was On Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight

A company official says a woman based in western Pennsylvania was among the 239 people aboard a Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared en route to Beijing over the weekend.

Eastman Chemical Co. says Mei Ling Chng of South Park was on the Boeing 777 that vanished from radar between Malaysia and Vietnam. The Malaysian woman was a senior process engineer for Eastman subsidiary Flexsys America in Monongahela, near Pittsburgh.

Eastman Chemical spokeswoman Tracy Kilgore told reporters in an email that officials "are deeply shocked and saddened."

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Courts
11:14 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Court Denies Ex-Sen. Jane Orie's Corruption Appeal

A three-judge state Superior Court panel has rejected former state Sen. Jane Orie's appeal of her conviction and subsequent prison sentence for campaign corruption and with introducing forged evidence which resulted in a mistrial before her eventual conviction.

Orie could not immediately be reached for comment at her home in Pittsburgh's North Hills suburbs, and her attorney, William Costopoulos, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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Education
4:58 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

A+ Schools Chief: Major Changes to the SAT Are Necessary

Essay optional. No penalties for wrong answers. The SAT college entrance exam is undergoing sweeping revisions.

Changes in the annual test that millions of students take will also do away with some vocabulary words such as "prevaricator" and "sagacious" in favor of words more commonly used in school and on the job.

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Economy & Business
10:21 am
Tue March 4, 2014

SEIU Protesters Heed Peduto's Call to Leave UPMC

Update 12:07 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters organized by the Service Employees International Union have left the area outside the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's offices downtown, after Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement asking them to "disband" and "return home."

Peduto's statement indicates he's cutting short a Washington, D.C. trip to return to Pittsburgh Tuesday and hopes to "resolve these conflicts."

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Environment
10:43 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Bald Eagle Nesting in Pittsburgh Lays 3rd Egg

A screen capture of a live video feed shows a bald eagle in its nest in Hays on Wednesday.
Credit The National Aviary / www.aviary.org

A female bald eagle nesting in Pittsburgh's Hays neighborhood has laid a third egg, likely the last of the season.

Bill Powers of PixController, which is providing a live-stream camera of the nest along the Monongahela river, says the new egg was spotted Tuesday night.

The 5½-year-old female nesting in Hays laid the first egg a week ago and a second on Friday.

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Environment & Energy
7:57 am
Wed February 26, 2014

2nd of 2 Gas Wells Sealed in Dunkard Township After Fatal Blast

Chevron says crews have capped the second southwestern Pennsylvania gas well that caught fire earlier this month.

Officials say the well that exploded and caught fire Feb. 11 in Greene County's Dunkard Township was capped Sunday. The blast killed Ian McKee, a technician who was working at the well pad when the fire broke out.

Chevron said the adjacent well that caught fire three days later was capped Tuesday afternoon.

The firm hired to cap the wells will assess the integrity of a third well and do any necessary repairs, part of which might involve flaring of gas.

Courts
10:25 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Ex-Pittsburgh Police Chief Harper Sentenced To 18 Months

Nate Harper, seen here at a November 2012 news conference, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday for conspiracy to steal police funds deposited into unauthorized credit union accounts and for failing to file income tax returns for several years.
Credit File Photo / 90.5 WESA

Former Pittsburgh police chief Nathan Harper has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiring to create an unauthorized slush fund, diverting public money and failing to pay income taxes.

U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon also ordered 61-year-old Harper on Tuesday to repay $31,986 from the fund that he spent on himself.

An emotional Nate Harper addressed the court before hearing his sentence.

“I’m a broken man,” he said, adding that he’ll carry with him to his grave the embarrassment he said he caused his family and friends.

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Environment & Energy
7:45 am
Mon February 24, 2014

1 of 2 Gas Wells Sealed in Greene County After Fatal Blast

Chevron says crews have capped a southwestern Pennsylvania gas well that exploded and caught fire earlier this month, killing a worker.

Officials say the well that caught fire Feb. 11 in Greene County's Dunkard Township was capped Sunday. Crews are now working to cap an adjacent well that caught fire three days later.

Kelly Burch of the state Department of Environmental Protection told The (Washington) Observer-Reporter that the second well should be sealed by Wednesday.

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Government & Politics
5:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

PA Supreme Court Won't Revisit Gas Drilling Case

Pennsylvania's highest court said Friday it would not revisit its decision striking down a state law that took zoning decisions about natural gas drilling out of the hands of local governments.

The state Supreme Court denied a request by Gov. Tom Corbett's administration to vacate its decision and send it back to a lower court for a new round of briefs and fact-finding process.

Instead, the justices left in place the Dec. 19 decision that said new industry-friendly rules violated the state constitution.

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Election 2014
1:39 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Former PA Auditor General Jack Wagner Seeks State Office Again

Former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner says he's running for the Democratic nomination for governor after all.

Wagner confirmed Thursday that his supporters are gathering voters' signatures for his nomination petition and predicted they will gather more than the required 2,000 signatures.

Wagner becomes the eighth candidate in a Democratic field that's been static for five months and has raised more than $25 million. He concedes that he's likely to be outspent, but says he hopes to offset that by being aggressive on issues and forthright to the voters.

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Affordable Care Act
10:52 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Reaction Swift to Corbett’s Medicaid Compromise

Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday officially began seeking federal approval for his plan to bring billions of federal Medicaid expansion dollars to Pennsylvania to cover a half-million working poor residents through private health plans, although advocates for the poor and uninsured called it bureaucratic and punitive.

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Higher Education
2:56 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Penn State Names FSU's Barron Its New President

Eric Barron, a former professor and dean at Penn State University and president of Florida State University, was chosen Monday to lead Pennsylvania's largest university as it continues grappling with fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

He'll bring with him the experience of managing a major state university known as much for its for storied athletic program as its academic mission, as well as the fallout from a sex-abuse scandal with ties to big-time college football.

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Public Safety
9:19 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Up to 3,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Spilled in Vandergrift Derailment

Officials say as much as 3,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled following this morning’s train derailment in Vandergrift, but all of it was contained in a parking lot.
Credit Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

Update: 6:09 p.m.

Authorities say a freight train derailment in western Pennsylvania spilled several thousand gallons of crude oil, but all of it went onto a parking lot.

Westmoreland County public safety officials say the derailment of 21 cars was reported shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday on a Norfolk Southern rail line between Vandergrift and East Vandergrift.

Spokesman Dan Stevens says 19 cars carrying heavy crude and two cars contained liquid propane derailed, and about 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of crude spilled from one of the cars.

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Environment & Energy
9:57 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Chevron Marcellus Shale Well Still Burning in Greene County

State environmental officials and expert firefighters brought in by Chevron have been continuing to monitor a burning Marcellus Shale natural gas well in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The well about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh in Dunkard Township erupted into flames shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday, injuring one worker and leaving one still unaccounted for early Wednesday.

State Department of Environmental Protection officials say the fire may burn for days, delaying efforts to determine its cause.

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Gas Production
10:17 am
Tue February 11, 2014

1 Injured, 1 Missing in Greene County Well Explosion

One worker has been injured and another is missing after a natural gas well explosion and fire in southwestern Pennsylvania, within miles of the West Virginia border.

Chevron spokesman Trip Oliver says the fire was reported at about 6:45 a.m. at the Lanco 7H well in Dunkard Township, near Bobtown. That's about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. Oliver says one person is reported hospitalized and another is currently unaccounted for.

Oliver says Chevron personnel immediately responded to the fire and called in assistance from Wild Well Control.

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Business
11:40 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Beer Float, Anyone? Yuengling's Ice Cream Returns

The supermarket freezer aisle is getting a little more crowded as a name more associated with lager and porter than vanilla and chocolate takes its place alongside familiar ice cream brands like Breyers and Edy's.

Beer drinkers up and down the East Coast know Yuengling as a 185-year-old Pennsylvania brewery. But Yuengling used to make ice cream, too, starting in 1920 at the dawn of Prohibition.

Now Yuengling's Ice Cream is back after an absence of nearly 30 years, available beginning Monday in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey.

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Higher Education
7:29 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Pitt Looks To DC For Its Next Chancellor

The University of Pittsburgh has tapped a U.S. Commerce Department official to be its next chancellor.

Patrick Gallagher, the acting deputy secretary of the agency, is set to start at Pitt in August. He succeeds Mark Nordenberg, who spent 19 years as chancellor.

The 50-year-old Gallagher currently serves as chief operating officer of the Commerce Department. The agency has 40,000 employees and a $10 billion budget.

The announcement follows a board of trustees vote on Saturday.

Community
3:23 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Hundreds Attend Funeral For Stabbed Pittsburgh Police Dog

An estimated 1,200 people attended the funeral for a Pittsburgh police dog stabbed in the line of duty.

The ceremony took place Friday morning at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh.

Rocco, the 8-year-old German Shepherd, died Jan. 30, two days after being stabbed by a fugitive suspect during an arrest. That man, 21-year-old John Rush, remains jailed on charges of attacking the dog and other human officers at the scene, as well as the bench warrants for which he was arrested.

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Public Safety
1:25 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

PennDOT Shells Out Road Salt to Help Municipalities Running Short

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says it's supplied about 6,000 tons of road salt to municipalities that have run short this winter.

The highway department said Monday its salt stock stood at about 382,000 tons, with some 145,000 tons still to be delivered.

In an average winter, PennDOT goes through about 800,000 tons, but this year's series of storms has the department going through road salt more quickly than usual.

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