| Follow Us:

In the News

1789 Articles | Page: | Show All

Ride-share legislation introduced in Pennsylvania Senate

State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Allegheny, has introduced legislation aimed at allowing ride-sharing services like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. to operate in the state permanently.

“My legislation resolves outstanding issues and would enable the ride-sharing companies to continue operating,” Fontana said in a statement. “The bill includes provisions that promote safety and security for riders while compelling companies to maintain sufficient insurance coverage for contingencies.”
Provisions of Senate Bill 1457 include:
  • requiring ride-sharing companies to maintain detailed records;
  • establishing driver-training programs;
  • enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol use and the crafting of a complaint reporting system;
  • implementing a background check system and the developing specific driver guidelines that deal with past criminal, moving violations or driving under the influence history.
The legislation also requires drivers to have an updated photo in plain view. The driver would not be permitted to pick up passengers who "hail" the vehicle while in use. It also specifically identifies vehicles that may be used for ride-sharing and a detailed inspection protocol to alleviate safety concerns. The company must also maintain specific levels of insurance for liability, medical payments, comprehensive, collision and uninsured/underinsured coverage.

Original source: Pittsburgh Business Times
Read the complete story here.

Pennsylvania is home to 'Ringing Rocks' that could tell us something about Stonehenge

Were Stonehenge's rocks used to make music? Perhaps. Pennsylvania is home to our own set of "Ringing Rocks."

Theories surrounding the monument’s intended purpose — temple? observatory? big sundial? — go in and out of fashion. But this year, the partygoers will show up outside Salisbury, England, with fresh evidence that the site was always intended to host such shenanigans.

Specifically, making loud rock music.

Researchers from the Royal College of Art in London have found that some of the monument’s rocks possess unusual acoustic properties; when struck, they make a loud, clanging noise. Perhaps, they say, this explains why these particular rocks were chosen and hauled from nearly 200 miles away — a significant technical feat some 4,000 years ago.

Could it be that Stonehenge was actually a prehistoric glockenspiel?

...Though Mr. Devereux and Mr. Wozencroft may be the first to suggest that Stonehenge was built for making noise, they are not the first to notice the ringing of Preseli’s rocks: a nearby town is named Maenclochog, which means ringing rocks. Some local churches used the rocks as bells until the 1700s.

And ringing rocks are found far beyond Wales, in Sweden, China, Australia, the United States and elsewhere. These days, the surprisingly high-pitched chimes of Ringing Rock State Park in Bucks County, Pa., can be heard all over via YouTube...

Lawrence L. Malinconico, a geologist at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania who has studied the terrain at Ringing Rock Park for years, credits a combination of composition and density for the phenomenon. Like Stonehenge, the Pennsylvania site is filled with diabase rocks, which are abundant in iron and magnesium and spent about 170 million years below ground before rising to the surface and cooling.

“When they cool, it’s something like forging a cast-iron bell,” said Dr. Malinconico. The resulting rock is dense enough to produce a high-pitched tone when struck.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.
 

President Obama steps in to halt transit strike

President Obama ordered an emergency mediation process, halting the SEPTA transit strike in southeastern PA.

The Presidential Emergency Board will now beginning hearing arguments from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and two unions representing about 400 electrical workers and engineers. The unions want a compensation plan similar to what bus drivers agreed to a few years ago, but the agency hasn't met their demand, they say.

The workers went on strike after midnight Saturday, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, soon requested that Obama intervene.

Under the Railway Labor Act, the governor of any affected state may ask the president to appoint an emergency mediation panel to settle a union's dispute with publicly funded commuter rail services. Obama recently created such a board to help with a labor battle at the Long Island Rail Road, and employees have about a month left in the process before they may strike. 


Original source: The Los Angeles Time
Read the complete story here.

Pennsylvania wins Silver Shovel Award for second straight year

The 2014 Silver Shovel awards recognize states with the most significant industrial groundbreakings or expansions each year.

A Walmart distribution center in Northampton County and a manufacturing plant in Berks County have helped Pennsylvania win a prestigious Silver Shovel Award for the second year in a row from Area Development magazine. They are among 10 projects in 11 counties that are projected to create a total of  4,800 new jobs and generate $796 million in private investment...

Area Development’s annual Shovel Awards are open to all 50 states to submit information about its top 10 job creation and investment projects.


Original source: WFMZ
Read the complete story here.

LGBT couples now have weddings to plan

After the recent ruling legalizing gay marriage, couples get to wedding planning -- which should be a boon to the state's economy.

Getting married was not a pressing priority for Christine Donato and Sandy Ferlanie, despite their being plaintiffs in the case that led a federal judge to strike down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage on Tuesday.

But Gov. Tom Corbett’s decision not to appeal the ruling by Judge John E. Jones III of Federal District Court suddenly transformed marriage for the couple from a distant prospect into a near-term reality...The women received the news of Mr. Corbett’s decision while sitting in the living room of their shingle-clad suburban home. Tears, cheers and hugs quickly followed...

For Ms. Donato, 45, and Ms. Ferlanie, 46, the legalization of same-sex marriage in their home state will allow them to tell their 5-year-old son, Henry, that his parents are finally getting married, just like the parents of many of his kindergarten friends.

They also hope that an early wedding ceremony will allow them to be married in the presence of their parents, who are in their 70s and 80s.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Penn State researchers explore happiness in the workplace

Researchers at Penn State looked at cortisone levels to determine how happy people are at work.

While work is widely viewed as the major source of stress for Americans, new research shows that people have significantly lower stress levels when they are at the office compared to their time at home.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University tested the cortisol levels of 122 workers during the workday and on weekends. Using saliva samples, they found that levels of cortisol – which is a biological marker for stress – were on the whole much lower when the person was at work than when he or she went home.

The finding suggests that for many people, the workplace is a sort of haven away from life’s daily problems. At home, the pressures of juggling work and family responsibilities set in and cause us to feel more stress.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Pennsylvania Food & Wine Festival set for this weekend

Pennsylvania Food & Wine Festival at the Monroeville Convention Center will showcase the state's top producers.

Sure, you can buy wine from all around the world, but the 15 wineries participating in a festival this week want to show folks what's being made right here in Pennsylvania.

The second annual Pennsylvania Wine & Food Festival, set for June 14 at the Monroeville Convention Center, will feature more than 60 exhibitors, including 15 wineries from Western and Central Pennsylvania and other parts of the state.

“We look forward to this event,” says Tina West, co-owner of Allegheny Cellars Winery in Sheffield, Warren County. The winery makes red, white, blush and fruit wines and is bringing eight kinds of wine for visitors to taste.

“I think it educates the people in Pennsylvania about Pennsylvania wines and the different types of grapes that we grow here, as opposed to California,” West says.

At the festival's entrance, visitors will be given a 2-ounce wine glass, which they can take from booth to booth to get unlimited samples from 150 wines. If they make a purchase, they can pick up the bottle or case on the way out or drink it at the festival along with any food they buy. The food vendors, largely local, offer items including homemade dips, cheeses, meats, cookies and fudge.


Original source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Read the complete story here.

A journey through Pennsylvania history through its farm buildings

Pennsylvania is filled with beautiful farm buildings that tell the state's rich agricultural history.

The rustic beauty of Pennsylvania’s farmhouses, barns and outbuildings often strikes motorists traveling the highways that crisscross the rural heartland of the state, but few people realize the stories these buildings can tell us about the past — and maybe the future — of agriculture.

They can reveal how farm families in Pennsylvania lived and worked, as well as who settled the state, says Sally McMurry, professor of American history, Penn State. Handsome farmhouses and barns often literally and figuratively overshadow plainer and smaller agricultural outbuildings, but the latter structures focus a historic spotlight on the diversity and entrepreneurialism of Pennsylvania farming operations.


Original source: Gant Daily
Read the complete story here.

Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner killed in plane crash

Lewis Katz, a co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, was killed in a plane crash in Massachusetts. 

At the last minute on Saturday, Lewis Katz, a philanthropist and co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, invited Anne Leeds, a longtime friend and neighbor from Longport, N.J., to accompany him and two others on a quick day trip to Concord, Mass. They were going up to help support a nonprofit education effort.

The day before, Mr. Katz had also invited Edward G. Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania. Such spur-of-the-moment invitations from Mr. Katz were common, a function of his access to a jet and his spontaneous personality.

While Mr. Rendell could not make the trip, Ms. Leeds could, and she was ready to go within a couple of hours.
But on the way home on Saturday night, the trip ended in disaster when the plane exploded in a fireball in suburban Boston. Everyone on board — four passengers, two pilots and one cabin attendant — was killed.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here; or click here for the Inquirer's reporting.

Adaptimmune to develop early-stage cancer drug with GlaxoSmithKline

Adaptimmune, a local company Keystone Edge has covered in the past, has reached a $350 million deal with GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical giant with a presence in the Navy Yard, to develop new cancer treatments.

Founded in 2008, Adaptimmune, which is privately held, is developing cancer treatments designed to strengthen a patient’s white blood cells. The company’s research arm is based in Oxford, England, and its clinical operations are based in Philadelphia.

Under the agreement, Adaptimmune could receive more than $350 million in payments from Glaxo over the next seven years. It would receive additional payments if Glaxo exercised all of its options under the deal and if certain milestones were met.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Tax advice for PA's LGBT spouses

Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage law means a complicated tax riddle for newly-hitched LGBT couples. The Business Journal provides some advice.

Now that the federal courts have ruled that Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, and Governor Corbett has announced that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will not appeal the ruling, it is an appropriate time to consider the gains and losses, pluses and minuses, and financial planning challenges for LGBT and other non-traditional couples.

It has been determined that LGBT couples can file joint federal income tax returns if they are married. In fact, if they were legally married in a state or country that recognized same-sex marriages, they are required to file joint federal income tax returns or, alternately, “married filing separately.” As with traditional heterosexual couples, the decision to file either married or married filing separately can be based on a variety of financial and other considerations.

Perhaps most importantly, with the law in Pennsylvania now settled, Pennsylvania LGBT couples need to look at income tax planning, estate tax planning, gift planning and other aspects of their wills, trusts and joint decisions with essentially the same options for processes and pitfalls, as traditional married couples. Other nontraditional couples -- whether same-sex or opposite sex, living together, owning property together and considering themselves to be “life partners” -- need to continue to recognize where good planning, tax advice and legal advice are required to avoid unforeseen problems for the couple, their families, their children and other loved ones.


Original source: The Philadelphia Business Journal
Read the complete story here.

Taking a deeper look at Pennsylvania Dutch cooking

Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is often misunderstood; a writer for The Tribune-Review examines this delicious culinary tradition.

Pennsylvania Dutch cooking does not seem to capture the food lover's imagination the way barbecue, Southern, Cajun/Creole, Pacific Northwest or other American cooking styles do. Ask most people what they know of it, and they are likely to mention the tourist smorgasbords of Lancaster County or — gasp! — scrapple.

As a native son of the cuisine, I've always wondered why. While you might not hanker for crispy fried slices of scrapple the way I do, there's much appealing comfort food to be found. And, while it is overlooked and often misunderstood, it is more widespread than you think; as food historian William Woys Weaver says, “You can get Pennsylvania Dutch cooking in Ontario.”

Why hasn't it become more famous, then? Weaver says it's because there are two very different cookeries involved: the real thing (home cooking) and the tourist fare that developed in the 1930s.

“The great myth is that Pennsylvania Dutch means Amish, when, in fact, the Amish represent only about 5 percent of the total Pennsylvania Dutch population,” says Weaver, director of the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism in Devon, Pa. “They are good farmers, but culinary art is not what they are about.”


Original source: The Tribune-Review
Read the complete story here.

Executive director also departs Pennsylvania Ballet, following artistic director

The executive director of the Pennsylvania Ballet has followed the artistic director out the door.

It’s all change at Pennsylvania Ballet. Just two weeks after the announcement that its artistic director, Roy Kaiser, would leave the company once a successor was found, the troupe has announced that its executive director, Michael Scolamiero, will also depart. He will take up the same position at Miami City Ballet...

The Pennsylvania Ballet has appointed an interim executive director, David Gray, who has held executive director positions at a number of cultural institutions (and is the husband of the former New York City Ballet principal Kyra Nichols). Mr. Gray will work alongside Mr. Scolamiero until he leaves at the end of June. “Now that our 50th Anniversary Season is winding down, it seems like an appropriate time for change,” Mr. Scolamiero said in a statement, closely echoing Mr. Kaiser’s comment on his own departure.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Pushing BRT in bustling urban centers, including Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system has been a huge success -- but there is still a battle over its integration into Downtown.

Space is the biggest battle, says Weinstock, but the problem is largely illusory. In technical terms, any street 40-feet wide can handle BRT. Drivers and businesses often fear the loss of traffic lanes or parking and delivery areas, but traffic patterns and customers tend to find a way of rerouting themselves — as they did when New York repurposed hundreds of miles of city streets during the Bloomberg administration (albeit for bikes and pedestrians).

More often, says Weinstock, the challenge is political will masquerading as street space. "People like to say there's no space," she says. "It's more that there's not the political will to take the space that exists."

Take the case of the East Busway — a dedicated BRT highway in metro Pittsburgh. The busway has done loads of good for the city: it's stimulated hundreds of millions of dollars in development and contributed to the 38 percent of city commuters who reach downtown by bus. ITDP recently gave it a bronze BRT rating.

But the East Busway loses a lot of its impact when it enters mixed traffic downtown. Bus traffic is so bad within the city center, with riders crowding sidewalks, that businesses have urged local officials to eliminate buses from entering the downtown area at all. Weinstock say the problem could be avoided by running true BRT downtown, because the buses would be organized in an attractive and efficient way.


Original source: The Atlantic's CityLab
Read the complete story here.

The Los Angeles Times examines Philly's innovative blight management strategies

The Los Angeles Times covers our city's latest creative strategies for combatting neighborhood decay.

After decades of ignoring the blight that has spread through its neighborhoods, Philadelphia is trying to reclaim its vacant homes through aggressive initiatives designed to compel negligent owners to fix their properties or see them seized and torn down.

In just a few short years, the city has made impressive progress; experts say some of the tools used in Philadelphia may help other post-industrial cities coping with decades-long population decline and the neglected space left behind.?..

The door and window ordinance allows community groups to take over dilapidated properties and repair them. Another will establish a land bank for the city so it can begin to redistribute abandoned properties to people and groups who want to build something new.

Neighborhoods where the new strategies have been applied have seen home prices rise 31% over four years, compared with a 1% rise in comparable areas, according to a study by Ira Goldstein of the Reinvestment Fund. The initiatives increased home values by $74 million throughout Philadelphia, Goldstein said, and brought in $2.2 million more in transfer tax receipts.


Original source: The Los Angeles Times
Read the complete story here.
1789 Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts