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An education adviser to the governor has stepped down from his post, weeks after a newspaper report found little evidence he was working.

Ron Tomalis’ resignation letter includes a list of his accomplishments as a special adviser on higher education. Those accomplishments were called into question by a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report last month that found little in schedule documents, phone logs, or interviews to suggest Tomalis had been doing much in his job paying nearly $140,000 a year.

The Allegheny County Crime Lab is a full lab that performs a wealth crime-related tasks, such as DNA testing and crime scene analysis, but it’s funding has been cut by the state in recent years.

If the lab continues to receive no state funding, it’s in danger of closing. On Tuesday, a joint legislative hearing heard from a list of speakers about why the lab should be a funding priority. Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said, for starters, it’s a one-of-a-kind facility.

Two roll-off boxes holding waste with detectable levels of radiation at a Marcellus Shale impoundment in Mt. Pleasant Township will soon be trucked to Michigan for disposal.

Range Resources, which operates the Carter impoundment on Fort Cherry Road, initially detected “above-background” levels of radiation in about 20 inches of water and four inches of sludge in May. Those materials were found when a contractor cleaned out the impoundment’s weir tank, which allows solids to settle as water flows into the impoundment.

Mucky algae on Lake Erie recently turned the water running out of Toledo taps toxic. More than 400,000 residents had to scramble for bottled water. At first, they were told not to use the municipal water for any reason. In the midst of the three-day ordeal, Michigan Radio spoke with residents, like Pat Haines.

“Everything is closed. It just really has knocked the socks off of Toledo. All the McDonald’s, all the restaurants are closed," Haines said. "It has really shut down Toledo.”

Pittsburgh’s Washington Plaza and Allegheny Center apartment buildings will soon undergo renovations, complete with name changes, under the new ownership of New York-based firm Faros Residential LLC.

Washington Plaza, which is now City View, and Allegheny Center, now called Park View, are being updated to attract younger urban professionals, said Faros managing partner Jeremy Leventhal at a news conference Tuesday morning.

“We’re creating a brand new amenity program at both of these complexes,” said Leventhal. The interiors of the buildings will be gutted to create lounges, exercise rooms, business centers, and games areas. There will also be improved outdoor recreational areas and dog parks.

Pennsylvania's recent credit downgrade likey will boost borrowing costs for school districts - and have indirect effects on cities and other local public agencies that some experts predict will be significant.

Moody's Investor's Service announced last week that it would downgrade the Commonwealth's $11.1 billion of general obligation debt from Aa2 to Aa3 – lower than 41 of 47 states with GO debt.

The lower the rating, the riskier (i.e., more likely to default) the borrower seems to lenders. So the downgrade means higher interest rates on new debt issues – as well as refinancings – by the Commonwealth and affiliate agencies.

Democratic lieutenant governor nominee and state Sen. Mike Stack made his fall campaign debut on the statewide electoral stage Monday, and he covered all the bases.

Stack in a 20-minute stump speech at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon, blasted incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett for public school funding cuts, giving a severance tax pass to Marcellus Shale drillers and failing to work with the Legislature despite its current Republican majorities.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday took a tour 200 Ross St., which houses, among other offices, the Bureau of Building Inspection and Department of City Planning.

BBI Chief Maura Kennedy said they were showing off the long-awaited implementation of a decades-old technology: as of this month, every employee in the building finally has Internet access.

Don and Becky Kretschmann have been supplying more than a thousand customers with organic produce through community supported agriculture, or CSA, since 1971. Now, they’re afraid of losing their business altogether.

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