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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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Public Safety
2:59 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

US Education Secretary: Students Deserve Safety

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says a stabbing spree at a Pennsylvania high school is a tragedy and serves as a reminder that children and staff deserve to work and learn in a safe environment.

In a statement, Duncan said he is saddened and his thoughts go out to the victims at Franklin Regional High School.

He says when families send their children to school each day, they expect their children to return home safely.

Health
12:15 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Food Inspections OK At Pitt-Johnstown After Campus Hit By Norovirus

Officials at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown say state inspectors found no food safety problems as investigators continued to trace the source of a norovirus that has sickened 176 people.

An online report by the state Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Food Safety showed no violations at the campus dining hall and other food outlets operated by Sodexo Inc.

The state Department of Health earlier this week cleared the school to reopen.

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Transportation
1:14 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Corbett Administration Finalizes 2014 Transportation Projects

Gov. Tom Corbett's administration says it has finalized the highway, bridge and mass transit improvement projects that'll begin this year as a result of a landmark transportation funding bill he signed in November.

The administration said Thursday that about 250 highway and bridge projects and 50 mass transit projects will begin in 2014 as a result of the law. That puts the total at approximately 950 highway, bridge and mass transit projects beginning in 2014.

Business
5:07 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Stadium Owners Bankrupt

The owners of Pittsburgh's minor league soccer team and the riverfront stadium in which they play have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Riverhounds Acquisition Group, L. P. owns the team and lists debts of between $1 million and $10 million in its petition. Riverhounds Event Center LP, which owns Highmark Stadium, has $7.2 million in mortgage debt, plus a $1.5 million bank loan and hundreds of thousands of dollars in other debts to smaller creditors.

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Environment
5:05 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Egg Hatches in Pittsburgh Bald Eagle Nest

An egg has hatched in a bald eagle nest in a Pittsburgh neighborhood.

The nest in the city's Hays neighborhood along the Monongalia river has three eggs and a live video stream of the nest has become popular locally. The female bald eagle previously fought off a raccoon that tried to raid her eggs.

Experts say it's too soon to say whether the new chick is a male or female.

The live-stream camera of the nest is provided by Murrysville-based PixController, which is working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Pennsylvania
4:30 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Census: PA Population Increases Slightly

Pennsylvania's population rose modestly last year, as did counties around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Census Bureau estimates released Thursday show that the state's population last July 1 was 12,773,801. That's about 9,300 more people than the previous year.

Some metro areas gained population, while many rural counties continued to lose people.

Philadelphia County population increased in 2013 to 1,553,165. That's a gain of about 4,500. Population in Allegheny County rose by 1,615 to 1,231,527.

Luzerne County declined the most, with a drop of 1,320 people.

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Government & Politics
3:42 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

FAA OK's Pittsburgh Airport Gas Drilling

The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled that Consol Energy's plans to drill for natural gas at the Pittsburgh International Airport won't have a significant environmental impact.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Thursday that the Allegheny County Airport Authority confirmed that the FAA report was issued this week.

Consol, a Cecil-based company, plans to drill for natural gas on about 9,000 acres of county-owned land, and says the wells will be a safe distance away from runways and other airport operations.

Education
11:41 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Pittsburgh Board Votes To Sell 2 Vacant Schools

The Pittsburgh school board has voted 8-1 to sell two vacant schools in order to raise money for the cash-starved district.

Board members decided Wednesday to sell the Madison School in the city's Hill District to Schenley Heights Community Development program for $65,000.

The board also voted to sell Burgwin School in Hazelwood for $475,000 to the Hazelwood Initiative for use as a Propel charter school and for community programs.

Both schools were closed in 2006.

In 2012, the school district a real estate company to evaluate vacant school buildings.

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Government & Politics
4:51 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Jack Wagner Drops Out of PA Governor's Race

Former state Auditor General Jack Wagner is dropping out of the governor's race.

Wagner formally withdrew from the Democratic primary race Wednesday, the last day he could have his name removed from the ballot.

His departure leaves four candidates in the race — York businessman Tom Wolf, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord and former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty.

Arts & Culture
3:31 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Pittsburgh Symphony Postpones Plan To Visit Iran

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra says it has postponed plans to perform in Iran this August, but still hopes to reschedule for next season.

The Pittsburgh Symphony was the last American orchestra to perform in Iran, in 1964. Officials had hoped to return for a 50th anniversary tour. James Wilkinson, president of the symphony, says in a statement that they need to devote more time to planning.

Public Safety
10:21 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Citizen Review Board: Fire Pittsburgh Cop For Teacher Arrest

The Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board says a white officer should be fired for arresting a black teacher after a community meeting that addressed police relations with the city's black community.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Tuesday's non-binding recommendation that Officer Jonathan Gromek be fired was much harsher than the letter of reprimand he received after an internal investigation — a punishment the city's police union said was too severe.

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Government & Politics
3:24 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

ACLU Seeks Info On Purging Of PA Voter Rolls

A civil-rights group is raising questions about Pennsylvania's participation in a national program designed to help cull voters with duplicate registrations in different states.

Witold Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania voiced concern Tuesday about the lack of information from state officials about how they'll oversee the purging of voter rolls under the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.

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Pittsburgh
11:48 am
Tue March 25, 2014

UPMC Questions Ravenstahl Taking Computer Home

An ongoing federal investigation involving Pittsburgh's former mayor and the city's lawsuit challenging the nonprofit status of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have intersected — at the ex-mayor's computer.

Former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl took the computer with him for about 10 days after leaving office in January, but has since returned it. Now UPMC's attorneys want to know if he did anything with the device that might impact the city's ongoing lawsuit over its nonprofit status.

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Religion & Faith
2:22 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

3 Churches Closing in 2 Pittsburgh-Area Mergers

A 110-year-old church is one of three closing next month as the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh merges two parishes with dwindling membership in the Monongahela River valley.

The historic St. Anthony Church was merged with Transfiguration Church in 2011 to create the new St. Damien of Molokai parish in Monongahela, a depressed former mill town. Both church buildings had remained open as worship sites, however.

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Environment & Energy
3:31 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Report Says PA Gas Drilling Taxes Are Low

A new report from a nonpartisan office of the state legislature says that Pennsylvania's taxes on the natural gas drilling boom are among the lowest in the nation.

The figures released Thursday by the Independent Fiscal Office found that Pennsylvania is the only state with significant production that doesn't impose a severance tax based on the volume of gas produced.

Economy & Business
11:30 am
Fri March 21, 2014

PA Unemployment Down, Employment Up In February

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate continued its rapid drop in February, while employer payrolls inched up and the labor force grew after a 14-month skid.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6.2 percent last month. It was last at that mark in 2008. The national rate was 6.7 percent in February.

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Government & Politics
9:37 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Key Cases Loom in Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Fight

Pennsylvania remains the only mid-Atlantic state that bans gay marriage, but several court fights this year could change that.

In Philadelphia, a federal judge has been asked to order Pennsylvania to recognize same-sex marriages from elsewhere.

Lead plaintiffs Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker have been married nine years. They believe most people don't see same-sex marriage as an issue anymore.

A February poll by Quinnipiac University shows that 57 percent of state voters support same-sex marriage, while 37 percent are opposed.

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Business
12:45 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

PA Hospital Network Agrees to Pay Feds $1.5M for Kickbacks

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh say the West Penn Allegheny Health System has agreed to pay more than $1.5 million to settle claims that it violated the law by offering doctors below-market rents so the physicians would refer patients to the network's hospitals.

A spokesman for West Penn says the settlement grew out of a self-audit and voluntary report made to federal officials, which was confirmed by U.S. Attorney David Hickton, who announced the settlement. The allegedly illegal activity began in the mid-2000s, with most of it occurring between 2008 and 2012.

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