Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Some Pennsylvania college campuses—including Slippery Rock in Butler County—are allowing students to carry more than just their books.
At least five Pennsylvania state-owned universities are now allowing guns on campus after the state’s lawyers concluded that an outright ban on weapons was probably unconstitutional, according to KDKA-TV. Weapons at five universities--Kutztown, Shippensburg, Edinboro, Slippery Rock and Millersville--are now allowed on campus, though they are still generally banned from school buildings and athletic events, KDKA reported. Students with concealed-carry permits had questioned the constitutionality of blanket weapons bans at state-owned universities, prompting a legal review that found such bans were vulnerable to court challenge. About a year ago, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education provided a model weapons policy for …
Sunday, April 7, 2013
A concern about noisy nighttime trash collections in Ross Township raises a bigger question of whether trash collection, lawn mowing, construction and other noisy activities in Pittsburgh's north suburbs should have time limits.
Complaints from residents in a North Hills community have brought to light a problem that many municipalities have faced over time—when to restrict noise-making activities. Noise at night has been the topic of conversation at many board of commissioners and council meetings throughout the Pittsburgh area over the years. Most recently, Ross Township commissioners are amending an ordinance to restrict the collection of garbage from commercial and/or non-residential areas from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Currently, trash collection is not allowed in Ross between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. under an ordinance enacted in 1993. The township's decision was made after residents complained about noisy, night garbage collections near three North Hills School …
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Take our poll and give a grade to the roads, bridges and other parts of the public infrastructure.
The American Society of Civil Engineers has released its 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure. Every four years, the ASCE grades the nation, state by state, on the condition and performance of the nation’s infrastructure in the form of a school report card—assigning letter grades that are based on physical condition and needed fiscal investments for improvement. Put mildly, the country didn't do so well. America's GPA (grade point average) came in at a D+. The ASCE says some investment is needed to raise that GPA—an estimated $13.6 trillion by 2020. Pennsylvania fared a little better, earning a C- as its grade. The report card indicates the state has 852 high-hazard dams, 5,540 structurally deficent bridges and notes that 57 …
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Or does it act more as a business? And what about the other major nonprofits in the area?
In a June 2012 "Taxpayer Alert," Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner questioned the fairness of nonprofits that have expanded their roles beyond the traditional definition of a charitable organization, but still maintain tax-exempt status. "In these challenging financial times, it is our duty and responsibility to address the questions raised by a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling and determine if properties are used for a truly charitable purpose," Wagner said in the report. "While exemptions are justified for clearly charitable organizations such as churches, soup kitchens and many others, some are plainly unfair." A 2012 state Supreme Court decision has given local governments a tool to challenge the loopholes in a five-…
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Let us know what this holiday means to you.
For some it's green beer and bangers. For others, it is a time for religious reflection on St. Patrick himself. Some people decorate their houses green. Others, who aren't Irish or Catholic, shun the fun. How do you celebrate? Vote in our Patch Poll and tell us in the comments section how you will spend your day.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
President Obama has proposed making minimum wage $9 an hour—and some Democrats want to push the minimum wage above $10 an hour. What do you think?
A majority of Americans support President Barack Obama’s proposal to increase the minimum wage, according to NBC.com. Some 71 percent of those surveyed said they supported raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour from $7.25, while 27 percent opposed it, according to a Gallup Poll released Wednesday. States have the ability to set their own minimum wage level, as long as it is above the federal minimum wage. Pennsylvania maintains the federal standard at $7.25. The minimum wage in Pennsylvania for jobs where employees receive tips is $2.83. According to an editorial in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2.9 percent of U.S. workers make minimum wage. Most of them are students working part-time, not the primary wage earner supporting a …
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Students who don't have the potential for success in college—or who don't want to pursue or can't afford a degree—might be better served by a vocational education program at the high school level.
College has always been part of the American dream. Laborers didn't want their children to have to do manual labor. Parents with college degrees expected the same of their children. And college loans opened the doors for some students whose families couldn't have afforded the bill. But is college the right choice for everyone? Data collected by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for its report "Education at a Glance 2010" showed that, among 18 countries tracked, the United States finished last (46 percent) for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it, according to a report in Reuters. That puts the United States behind Japan at 89 percent, and former Soviet-bloc states such as Slovakia, …
Sunday, February 24, 2013
A number of movies filmed in whole or in part in Pittsburgh have been nominated through the years in various categories for the Academy Awards.
Tonight's a red carpet night—the time when people around the world wait to see which motion pictures and actors/directors win a coveted Oscar in the 85th Academy Awards. Through the years, a number of films shot on location (or at least in part) in Pittsburgh have received nominations from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a variety of categories. The only ones to emerge as Oscar winners for "best picture" are "The Deer Hunter" and "Silence of the Lambs." Here's a quick glimpse at movies filmed in Pittsburgh that made it as Academy Award winners or nominees: (Editor's note: The list has been changed slightly due to new information but it does not affect the voting statistics.) Vote in our poll and tell us in the comments …
Sunday, February 17, 2013
An eastern Pennsylvania state senator has introduced legislation to legalize marijuana and sell it alongside alcohol.
State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery County) introduced legislation last week to legalize marijuana use in Pennsylvania for adults age 21 and older. Gov. Tom Corbett has already stated opposition to the proposal. Leach has also introduced a few medical marijuana bills in the Pennsylvania Senate, the latest of which in 2011 was co-sponsored by two state senators from Allegheny County, Jim Ferlo and Wayne Fontana. Leach’s latest proposal would provide for legal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. He envisions that it could be sold alongside alcohol in state liquor stores and at beer distributors. Production, distribution and sale would be regulated in the same way as alcohol. He said the state should tax the sale, which at $1 per …
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Gov. Tom Corbett's 2013-14 budget ties sale of state liquor system to a $1 billion grant for school safety, early education programs, individualized learning and science/math programs.
Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed 2013-14 budget, which he presented Feb. 5, contains an interesting cocktail that mixes the sale of the state's liquor system with funding of a public schools grant. Under his proposal, $1 billion obtained by the proposed privatization of the state's liquor sales would be used to create the Passport for Learning Block Grant that would focus on school safety; enhanced early education programs; individualized learning; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses and programs. The $1 billion in revenue to fund that grant will come from the three- to four-year process of selling the Liquor Control Board: $575 million from the wholesale license process, $224 million from the Wine and Spirits retail …