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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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Government & Politics
9:28 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Congressman Murphy Wants Veterans Affairs to Rescind PA Staff Bonuses

Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy wants Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shineski to rescind more than $100,000 in bonuses given to VA leaders in the wake of a Legionnaire's disease outbreak at Pittsburgh's Veterans Affairs hospitals.

At least five patients died and 21 were sickened from water that wasn't properly treated between February 2011 and November. The family of a sixth veteran who died last year claim in a lawsuit that he was a victim, too, and Murphy included his name among the victims in Thursday's letter to Shineski, asking that the bonuses be rescinded.

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Higher Education
1:13 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Florida Ex-Lt. Governor to Lead PA University System

Frank T. Brogan, a higher-education executive and former Florida lieutenant governor, was picked Wednesday to be the next chancellor of Pennsylvania's 14-university State System of Higher Education.

The system's board of governors unanimously selected Brogan, a Republican who was Florida's lieutenant governor from 1999-2003 under then-Gov. Jeb Bush and chancellor of the State University System of Florida since 2009.

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Pittsburgh
10:29 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Pittsburgh Zoo Fails To Get Mauling Lawsuit Tossed

A judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit in the fatal mauling death of a 2-year-old boy who fell into a wild African dogs exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Zoo attorneys argued a strict liability claim should not go forward, saying there's no "abnormal risk to the public" when people have a chance to view wild animals.

But Allegheny County Judge Paul Lutty agreed with attorneys for the Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh that the risk can't be determined until both sides exchange evidence before trial.

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Pennsylvania
11:53 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Focus on Foster Care in PA Yields Falling Numbers

The number of abused or neglected Pennsylvania children in foster care or similar settings is down about a third over the past year. Officials say the reduction is the result of a concerted effort by the court system, county child welfare officials and the state government.

Figures released this week by the state courts show the number of dependent children placed in temporary care fell from 21,400 in 2006 to 14,100 in March.

Officials say a number of systemic changes are behind the numbers, as more than half the state's counties are now participating in the effort.

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Arts & Culture
2:35 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Webcam to Broadcast from Andy Warhol's Grave

The Andy Warhol Museum is launching a live feed from the artist's gravesite in Pittsburgh to honor his upcoming birthday.

The museum says in a release that the partnership with EarthCam will go live Monday at midnight. The project is titled "Figment" because of a Warhol quote in which he said he'd like his own tombstone to be blank, or just say the word figment.

The Warhol museum says hundreds of people visit the artist's grave every year, often leaving pop culture items such as Campbell's Soup cans or Coca-Cola bottles.

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Government & Politics
5:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Closing Arguments Postponed in PA Voter ID Trial

Closing arguments in the trial of Pennsylvania's voter-identification law have been postponed for a day, but the state's legal team filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley scheduled the arguments for Thursday and said he'd review the motion.

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Pennsylvania
4:04 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Judge: 3 Penn State Ex-Officials to Stand Trial

Penn State's ex-president and two former top school administrators were ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges accusing them of a cover-up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Prosecutors showed enough evidence during a two-day preliminary hearing to warrant a full criminal court trial for ex-President Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and ex-athletic director Tim Curley, Judge William Wenner concluded.

Wenner called it "a tragic day for Penn State University."

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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Former PA Governor Rendell Urges Support of Bipartisan Tax Overhaul Plan

Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, and Rep. Dave Camp, a Republican from Michigan, have teamed up and taken a message of tax reform on the road.

The pair spoke in Philadelphia Monday as part of their “Tax Reform Tour,” an effort to eliminate loopholes in the federal tax code. Former governors Tom Ridge, a Republican, and Ed Rendell, a Democrat, are adding their support to the movement.

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William Scranton, 1917-2013
1:41 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Former PA Governor, Presidential Candidate William Scranton Dies

William Warren Scranton, a former Pennsylvania governor, presidential candidate and ambassador to the United Nations, has died. He was 96.

Scranton died of a cerebral hemorrhage Sunday night at a retirement community in Montecito, Calif., where he lived with his wife, a family spokesman said Monday.

Scranton, a progressive Republican from the northeastern Pennsylvania city named after his wealthy family, was elected to Congress in 1960. He served one term before he was elected as Pennsylvania's 38th governor in 1962.

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Fracking
2:03 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Federal Study: No Evidence Fracking Taints Aquifers

A landmark federal study on fracking shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site.

After a year of monitoring, the researchers at the Department of Energy in Pittsburgh, found that the chemical-laced fluids used to release natural gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water. That's according to geologist Richard Hammack.

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State Government
3:28 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

In Latest Shake-Up, Two Top Corbett Aides Jump Ship

Gov. Tom Corbett says he's hiring his third chief of staff and his third secretary of legislative affairs in as many years as he struggles to improve his public image and his clout inside the Capitol.

Corbett made the announcement Wednesday.

Veteran Republican lobbyist and political strategist Leslie Gromis Baker will replace Steve Aichele as Corbett's chief of staff. Aichele was Corbett's chief counsel when he took office in January 2011, but became chief of staff last year in a separate shake-up.

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Higher Education
10:13 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Pitt Trustees Vote to Raise Tuition 3.25 Percent

The University of Pittsburgh board of trustees has voted to raise tuition 3.25 percent for students attending its main campus, and 2 percent for students at three of its satellite campuses.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Wednesday's vote means in-state students at the main campus school of arts and sciences will pay $15,985 this year, an increase of $255. Out-of-state students at the same school will pay $413 more, or $25,420 next year.

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Pennsylvania
4:09 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Judge Sends 6 PA Turnpike Defendants to Trial

A judge says he is sending a case alleging corruption in Pennsylvania Turnpike business to county court for trial.

District Judge William Wenner ruled Tuesday that prosecutors had presented enough evidence to warrant a jury trial. He ruled following four hours of closing arguments in the preliminary hearing against former Sen. Bob Mellow and five other defendants.

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Community
11:50 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Mustache Institute Announces Historic Move to Pittsburgh

They're trying to keep a stiff upper lip in Missouri, but the ruggedly handsome truth is that the American Mustache Institute is relocating from St. Louis to Pittsburgh.

The Mustache Institute released the news Friday morning. The group calls itself the world's only facial hair advocacy and research organization.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith says in a statement that attracting the Mustache Institute is a significant win "from an economic development and good looks standpoint." A press conference at City Hall is scheduled for 11 a.m.

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Same Sex Marriage
2:30 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

AG Kane Will Not Defend Against Suit Challenging PA's Marriage Law

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Thursday that she will not defend the state law effectively banning same-sex marriage from a legal challenge in federal court, meaning the task will be left up to Gov. Tom Corbett.

"I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's (law), where I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional," Kathleen Kane announced Thursday at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

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Government & Politics
11:56 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Gay Rights Advocate Says PA Law Means Inequality

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage says nothing about the validity of Pennsylvania's ban.

Despite the Supreme Court's decision Wednesday, gay marriage bans still stand in Pennsylvania and roughly three dozen other states. Pennsylvania's constitution, however, does not ban gay marriage.

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U.S.
10:55 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Supreme Court Clears Way for Gay Marriage in California

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban.

The court's 5-4 vote Wednesday leaves in place the initial trial court declaration that the ban is unconstitutional. California officials probably will rely on that ruling to allow the resumption of same-sex unions in about a month's time.

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U.S.
10:27 am
Wed June 26, 2013

High Court Strikes Down Federal Marriage Provision

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

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Pennsylvania
9:52 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Judge Tosses Corbett's Lawsuit Against NCAA

A federal judge on Thursday threw out the governor's lawsuit against the NCAA over sanctions against Penn State related to Jerry Sandusky, calling his argument "a Hail Mary pass" that easily warranted dismissal.

U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane's decision puts an early end to the anti-trust lawsuit Gov. Tom Corbett filed in January in which he sought to overturn a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, scholarship limits and other penalties.

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Pennsylvania
1:30 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Building in Philadelphia Collapses; 12 Injured, 2 Trapped

A four-story building being demolished collapsed Wednesday on the edge of downtown, injuring 12 people and trapping two others, the fire commissioner said.

Rescue crews were trying to extricate the two people who were trapped, city Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said. The dozen people who were injured were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, he said.

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Pennsylvania
10:32 am
Fri May 24, 2013

8 Charged in Alleged High-Grade Pot Ring in PA

Authorities in suburban Philadelphia say they've broken up a multimillion-dollar drug ring that trafficked in high-grade marijuana.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman announced charges against eight suspects on Thursday.

She says nearly 3,700 pounds of potent pot was sent from California to Pennsylvania over the past 15 months. She estimated its street value at more than $14 million.

Ferman says the suspects used a freight service to ship marijuana in giant orange tool chests from Sacramento, Calif., to a Philadelphia suburb in Delaware County.

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Pittsburgh Zoo
1:10 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Parents Sue Pittsburgh Zoo in Boy's Mauling Death

The parents of a 2-year-old boy who was fatally mauled after falling into a wild African dogs exhibit last fall have sued the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, claiming officials had ample warning that parents routinely lifted children onto a rail overlooking the exhibit so they could see better.

The lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of Jason and Elizabeth Derkosh seeks unspecified damages in the Nov. 4 death of their son, Maddox. The boy fell from a wooden railing after his mother lifted him up to get a better look at the painted dogs.

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Government & Politics
11:24 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Corbett Says Latino Comment Taken Out of Context

Gov. Tom Corbett's office says his comments about a lack of Latinos on his staff were taken out of context to discredit him.

The first-term Republican said in response to a question at an Al Dia newsmedia-sponsored event in Philadelphia last week that he did not have any Latinos on his staff. Then he asked people at the forum to help him find one.

His office issued a statement Wednesday that said he was only referring to his immediate staff, a small group.

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Pennsylvania
10:50 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Boy, 15, Dies in ATV Drag Racing Crash in Western PA

Grief counselors and local ministers were at a western Pennsylvania high school after a popular student was killed while drag racing an all-terrain vehicle at a nearby dirt track.

State police say Northern Bedford High School sophomore Kaleb Rightenour, of Martinsburg, was killed Saturday night when his ATV hit a tire barrier on a 500-foot dirt drag strip, causing the vehicle and the boy to hit a light pole.

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