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Pittsburgh Police
1:33 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Police Probing Ravenstahl Bodyguard's Hours

Pittsburgh police say they're reviewing the timecard records of an officer who formerly worked as a bodyguard for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and who testified against the mayor before a federal grand jury earlier this year.

At that time, the attorney for Fred Crawford said the investigation will eventually show that tax dollars were "wasted so the mayor could have a designated driver ... while he went out to bars."

That attorney, Robert Stewart, didn't return a call for comment Tuesday on the newest information about Crawford provided by acting Chief Regina McDonald.

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Transportation
10:32 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Pittsburgh Parking Authority Snapping License Pics

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority is using automated mobile surveillance cameras to snap pictures of up to 200,000 license plates a month so it can find scofflaws who repeatedly flout parking laws.

Those cars can be "booted" — that is, fit with a metal locking device that attaches to a wheel that cannot be removed until overdue fines are paid.

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Pittsburgh International Airport
10:39 am
Fri September 20, 2013

TSA Suspends, Reprimands Pittsburgh Airport Workers Over Gambling

Dozens of Transportation Security Administration workers at the Pittsburgh International Airport have been suspended or reprimanded after they were caught taking part in workplace sports gambling.

WPXI-TV reports that after a months-long investigation 47 workers were suspended and 10 letters of reprimand were sent out.

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Courts
12:48 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Man Paralyzed by Pittsburgh Police Claims Profiled

A suburban man who was shot and left paralyzed by one of three Pittsburgh police officers is suing claiming they used excessive force and had racially profiled him during the traffic stop in question.

Attorneys for the city and its police union are defending the officers who encountered 20-year-old Leon Ford in November.

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Same-Sex Marriage
2:34 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Montgomery County to Appeal Judge's Marriage License Halt

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court could be the next stop for a suburban Philadelphia county's battle to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Montgomery County said Tuesday that its solicitor, Ray McGarry, will appeal a state judge's order stopping a court clerk from issuing the licenses.

McGarry says he'll file the appeal in the next several days on behalf of Bruce Hanes, the register of wills.

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Census
12:59 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Pennsylvania's Poverty Rate Inches Up

Poverty in Pennsylvania has risen slightly, but remains below the national average.

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that almost 1.8 million people in Pennsylvania, or 13.9 percent, were living in poverty during 2012. That's up slightly from 13.8 percent in 2011 and 13.4 percent in 2010. Pennsylvania's population is almost 12.8 million.

Nationally, the number of people living in poverty was 15 percent in 2012.

The Census Bureau's annual report offers a snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2012.

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Courts
11:43 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Transgender Man Sues UPitt, Alleges Discrimination

A transgender man has filed a lawsuit against the University of Pittsburgh, claiming he was expelled and subject to FBI scrutiny because of a dispute over locker room use.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by 24-year-old Seamus Johnston, of Johnstown. He was born a woman but filed a name change with Pitt in 2011 and enrolled in a men's weightlifting class. Officials told Johnston not to use the men's locker room, and later banned him from the school, according to the lawsuit.

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Sports
11:42 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Steelers, Authority Try to Settle Heinz Field Beef

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the taxpayer-funded city-county Sports and Exhibition Authority say they're going to try to settle a dispute over who must pay most of the estimated $30 million cost to add 3,000 seats to Heinz Field.

An Allegheny County judge in June rejected the teams' claim that the authority must pay most of the money, but agreed to hold a trial on the matter Dec. 4.

But now, both sides say they'll try to work out a deal before then after both sides met with the judge Thursday.

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Same-Sex Marriage
12:50 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

PA Judge Orders End to Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday ordered a suburban Philadelphia clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini said Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes did not have the power to decide on his own whether Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban violates the state constitution.

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Education
3:36 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Shaler Area Teachers to End Strike

The Shaler Area School District has reached a tentative agreement with its striking teachers.

According to the district's web site, the teachers' union ratified the deal Wednesday morning and the school board was expected to approve it at a meeting that night.

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Courts
1:30 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Ex-Pittsburgh Police Chief Pleading Next Month

Former Pittsburgh police Chief Nathan Harper will plead guilty next month to federal charges that he conspired to steal city police funds deposited into unauthorized police credit union accounts.

Harper's attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment, but have said since Harper was indicted by a federal grand jury in March that the former chief intended to plead guilty.

On Tuesday, online federal court records show U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon scheduled an Oct. 18 hearing because she has "been advised that defendant wishes to plead guilty."

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Sports
7:29 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Pirates' 1-0 Win at Texas Clinches Winning Season

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had no special message for his team and there was no big celebration after what was a special victory for their long-suffering fans.

With their 1-0 victory at Texas on Monday night, the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992. But victory No. 82 was really just another step toward their goal of getting into the playoffs.

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Pennsylvania
11:51 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Slippery Rock, NCAA Sued Over Sickle Cell Death

The parents of a Slippery Rock University basketball player who died after an intense practice are suing the school and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, because their son wasn't screened for the sickle cell trait that contributed to his death and because school officials allegedly didn't do enough to help him after he collapsed.

The NCAA and Slippery Rock officials did not immediately return calls and emails seeking comment on the lawsuit filed by Jack and Cheryl Hill, of Roselle, N.J.

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City Government
10:06 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Pittsburgh Forgives $14K of Parking Tickets

The city of Pittsburgh has agreed to dismiss about 260 parking tickets totaling $14,000.

City officials say the tickets were issued Wednesday morning in a South Side neighborhood for cars that didn't move for scheduled street sweeping.

But the street in question hadn't been swept for months, and residents got out of the habit of moving their cars.

Officials say illegally parked vehicles in that area will get a warning this month, but will be ticketed next month.

Pennsylvania
12:14 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Judge Vows Quick PA Same-Sex Marriage Case Ruling

A Pennsylvania judge is promising to rule quickly on whether a county clerk should be ordered to stop handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini did not signal what direction he might rule as lawyers debated the actions of Bruce Hanes, who issues licenses in suburban Philadelphia.

Arguments lasted over an hour, with lawyers for Gov. Tom Corbett's administration saying Hanes' decision is not allowed under state law.

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Government & Politics
4:16 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

PA Lawmakers to Mull Amusement Ride Check System

State lawmakers say they plan to hold hearings to look into Pennsylvania's method of inspecting amusement park, carnival and fair rides — a system that usually relies on inspectors employed by or hired by ride operators.

Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Lawrence County, told The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat that House and Senate agriculture committees may hold a joint session or may convene separately.

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Same-Sex Marriage
11:57 am
Thu August 29, 2013

PA Attorneys: Gay Couples Like Kids, Can't Marry

Attorneys for Pennsylvania's Republican governor say marriage licenses given to same-sex couples in the state are invalid because the couples were barred from marrying — just like "12-year-olds."

Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has filed a lawsuit seeking to block same-sex marriage licenses in Montgomery County.

State attorneys say in a Wednesday court filing the licenses have no "legitimacy." They compare gay and lesbian couples to children, who can't marry because a 1996 law says marriage is between a man and a woman.

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Government & Politics
2:16 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Corbett Forces Out 2nd Education Chief in 3 Months

Gov. Tom Corbett has dismissed another education secretary, the second in three months.

Corbett's office said Monday that the governor has asked for and received the resignation of his nominee for the job, William Harner, less than three months after he started.

A Corbett spokeswoman says Harner's removal is because of a personnel matter that doesn't involve his service to the state, but she declined to elaborate.

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Community
12:26 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Pittsburgh G20 Hearing Loss Suit Officially Over

A lawsuit by a visiting professor who suffered permanent hearing loss when Pittsburgh police used a Long Range Acoustic Device to disburse Group of 20 summit protesters has formally ended.

The city agreed last year to pay Karen Piper, the visiting University of Missouri professor, $72,000 to settle her claims. But city officials also agreed to meet with a consultant selected by Piper's lawyers who could advise the city on how to use the device, which produces high-intensity sounds and amplifies commands to disburse.

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Government & Politics
4:08 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Jack Wagner Weighs Possible 2014 Bid for PA Gov

Former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner says he's giving serious thought to entering the already crowded 2014 Democratic race for governor.

Wagner said Monday that his 20 years in state government has instilled in him a passion for good government and that he would offer common-sense solutions to politically thorny issues like transportation funding and public-school reform.

The 65-year-old Wagner won two statewide races as auditor general but lost the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination to former Allegheny County executive Dan Onorato.

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Government & Politics
4:15 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

PA Judge Bars ID Enforcement in November Election

A state judge on Friday barred enforcement of Pennsylvania's strict voter-identification law in the Nov. 5 general election.

The state also cannot require local elections officials to verbally tell voters at the polls that photo IDs could be required in future elections, but officials can distribute written material about the law, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley said.

McGinley's ruling marked the third consecutive election in which enforcement of the law has been blocked by court order.

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Environment & Energy
12:05 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Marcellus Gas Production Rising Fast in PA, West Virginia

Marcellus Shale natural gas production is rising even faster this year than energy experts had predicted, and that's having a national impact on energy.

Bentek, a Colorado company that analyzes energy trends, said 2013 production in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is up about 50 percent compared with last year. Figures for the pipelines that take gas out of the Marcellus show that in the first six months of the year, Pennsylvania produced about 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, with projections for a year-end total of about 3.2 trillion cubic feet.

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Public Safety
4:58 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Pittsburgh Hostage-Taker Who Posted on Facebook Sentenced

A man who took a hostage at a downtown Pittsburgh skyscraper and posted to Facebook during the six-hour ordeal has been sentenced to between six and 15 years in state prison.

Twenty-three-year-old Klein Michael Thaxton, of McKeesport, was sentenced Wednesday on kidnapping, ransom, aggravated assault and other charges.

Police say Thaxton was off his medication for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression when he held a 59-year-old businessman hostage in September. He later surrendered peacefully.

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William Scranton, 1917-2013
4:51 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Corbett, Others Eulogize PA Ex-Gov. Scranton

The state's political elite turned out Wednesday to pay respects to William Warren Scranton, a former Pennsylvania governor, presidential candidate and one of the last of a vanishing breed of moderate Northeastern Republicans.

Scranton, who died last month at age 96, was remembered as a selfless public servant who focused his considerable energy and ambition on improving the lives of others. He served a single term as governor before becoming the GOP's elder statesman in Pennsylvania and a trusted adviser to presidents and aspiring politicians alike.

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Business
11:46 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Heinz Announces Layoffs; 350 to Lose Jobs in Pittsburgh

H.J. Heinz Co. has announced that it's eliminating 600 jobs across the U.S. and in Canada, including 350 in Pittsburgh. The cuts come about two months after the company was sold to private investors.
Credit Flickr user roeyahram

Food company H.J. Heinz Co. is eliminating 600 jobs across the U.S. and in Canada, including 350 in Pittsburgh.

Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen says in a statement that employees were notified of the cuts Tuesday morning, about two months after the company was sold to private investors. Mullen says Heinz regrets the impact on Heinz employees and is offering enhanced severance packages.

Mullen says the cuts will better position Heinz for growth in a highly competitive global food market.

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