HARRISBURG — Nearly two months after the state Senate rejected his first pick to lead the Pennsylvania State Police, Gov. Tom Wolf has nominated Maj. Tyree C. Blocker, a 30-year veteran of the state police, to serve as commissioner.
Democratic Party committee members on Sunday nominated Paul Klein, a Duquesne University assistant professor, for the four-year term that begins next year for the Allegheny County Council District 11 seat.
The Allegheny County Democratic Committee voted Saturday to nominate Heather Arnet as its candidate for the 37th District state Senate seat.
Republican rivals are trying desperately to dent Donald Trump, as he leads in polls, dominates media coverage and builds a campaign organization using his personal wealth. But not long ago, they came to him with hats in hand.
The 50-year old Donaldson’s Crossroads Sewage Treatment Plant on West McMurray Road in Peters may soon be getting a $20.9 million facelift if financing for the project can be arranged.
Pedestrians tend to have a certain mindset about threats to their safety.
The audience applauded last week when Collier commissioners denied a request from Woodville Associates to rezone 24 acres of land for a townhouse development.
HARRISBURG — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Thursday called for increasing the number of federal rail bridge inspectors, saying the government has too few workers overseeing the safety of more than 70,000 bridges in the United States.
A new city noise ordinance that, among other changes, allows police officers to make common-sense judgments about what constitutes a violation cleared a City Council committee Wednesday.
Allegheny County will run out of state money to fund a variety of human services by the end of August if the state budget impasse isn’t resolved, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald said Wednesday.
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania’s U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and four associates were indicted Wednesday on racketeering conspiracy charges stemming from several alleged schemes to misuse campaign funds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money to further their political and financial interests.
Heather Arnet, the CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation, will be the Democratic candidate against Republican Guy Reschenthaler in a November special election for the 37th District state Senate seat.
Gov. Tom Wolf will hold a question-and-answer session for the public on his Facebook page this evening.
HARRISBURG — Nearly four weeks into the state budget standoff, House Speaker Mike Turzai said Monday that if negotiations do not progress, the General Assembly will have to consider attempting to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a Republican spending plan.
About 439,000 Pennsylvanians have enrolled in expanded Medicaid, which provides health insurance coverage to the poor and disabled, since the beginning of the year, according to figures released last week by the state’s Department of Human Services.
The memo from a Republican Governors Association fundraiser to Gov. Tom Corbett told him who he had meet with, when, where, about what —and exactly how much they had given or pledged his campaign.
Second of two parts. Sunday: Tom Corbett, even before winning his party’s 2010 nomination, began wooing the gas industry. Today: Post-nomination, the money rolled in, buying a seat at the administration’s table.
As Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislators slog through a summer-long budget fight, things are looking grim for public schools and human service agencies that rely on state funding. But look on the bright side: Thanks to advertising by groups with inscrutable names, at least bulk-mailing firms and TV executives have reason to smile.
Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak says he’s not concerned at the prospect of Katie McGinty’s challenge for the 2016 Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania.
As Democrat Tom Wolf became the favorite, the nominee, and finally the governor-elect last year, the gas industry’s tilt toward the Republican Party became even more pronounced than it was in 2010, setting the stage for a fifth year of stalemate in Harrisburg over whether to enact a severance tax.
First of a two-part series on the natural gas industry and Pennsylvania politics. Today: Pre-primary wooing.
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Numbers up for Obama/Casey

Published by Tim McNulty on .

New Q poll of Pa says approval numbers are up for both Obama and Casey.

Full results -- with breakdown that includes Allegheny County -- are here.

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Byrd stories

Published by Tim McNulty on .

See the full package of Robert Byrd stories today on the Post-Gazette homepage, including the obit by Jon Schmitz and a look at the senator's possible successors by Jim O'Toole. From the obit:

Mr. Byrd, who grew up dirt poor in the West Virginia coal fields, in a home that lacked running water or electricity, would graduate as his class valedictorian.

And he would graduate from bubble gum to billions in a historic political career that saw him reach the pinnacle of the U.S. Senate, where he used his power to unabashedly direct mountains of federal money to the Mountain State.

"I want to be West Virginia's billion-dollar industry," he proclaimed in 1990 -- a goal he surpassed at least three times over.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read this morning

Published by Moriah Balingit on .

Happy Monday, Early Returners. If you're a Pens fan/motorist (hello, 90 percent of Pittsburgh), it wasn't a great couple of days. Hope you survived this weekend's apocalyptic traffic and performance on the ice. Oy.

1. Mark Belko wrote Sunday that presumed mayor-elect Bill Peduto wants to make Downtown into a "mini-Manhattan" in talking about his plans for developing the city, which would involve a greater partnership with Allegheny County. Hopefully, it means that you'll finally be able to get a decent bagel in the Golden Triangle. 

2. From Harrisburg, Kate Giammarise reports on a block grant program that debuted last year to help fill in the gaps that were left when the state slashed human services funding. The way the funding is currently structured, various programs -- for the homeless, for children and for the drug addicted -- are left battling it out for the grant funds. A bill will change that. 

Does a pilot program give county officials needed flexibility in how they spend dwindling human services dollars? Or does it pit the state's most vulnerable populations -- the homeless, the disabled, those with mental health issues or drug addiction -- against each other in a competition for funds?

3. If the state doesn't pony up more money to repair bridges, some will no longer be able to carry heavier trucks, reports Jon Schmitz. Around 1,500 bridges across the state are in such dire need of repairs that the state will be forced to post weight restriction signage if it can't foot the bill for maintenance. Right now, around 600 bridges have weight restrictions that prevent trucks, buses and some emergency vehicles from crossing them.

Weight limits are just one of several consequences of continued failure to adequately fund the state's transportation system, [Transportations secretary Barry] Schoch said. The state's ability to attract and retain businesses will suffer, public safety could be compromised and urban mass transit systems will face service cutbacks.


4. From Saturday, Tracie Mauriello writes that Pres. Barack Obama is fighting to keep subsidized student loan rates from doubling. 

5. And in case you missed Rich Lord's story from Saturday, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's ex-wife, Erin Feith, has declined to meet with federal investigators, her lawyer said. She's at least the fourth person in the mayor's circle to be questioned by federal authorities. If you'll recall, the mayor's secretary and two bodyguards went before a grand jury in early May. 

And an Early Returns post-script: congratulations to PG alum Daniel "Sparky" Malloy, who wed Katie Cline this weekend. Mr. Malloy was a general assignment reporter, covering bears, among other things. He eventually moved up to cover the Pennsylvania delegation in DC for the Post-Gazette, where he did some stellar reporting on the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. He is now the Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He and his wife, who works for the Ocean Conservancy, were married in Chapel Hill, where their union was sealed with Carolina-style barbecue. Here's a blurry iPhone picture from the affair:

photo 3

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read this morning

Published by Moriah Balingit on .

Happy Monday Early Returners. Here's a handful of links to get your week started. 

1. Not to toot our own horn (toot, toot), but the Post-Gazette's Sunday paper was a true masterpiece. First, check out Kate Giammirise's piece on why there are so few women in state politics, with women holding just 17.8 percent of seats in the the General Assembly. As an aside, Pittsburgh City Council fares a little better, with three women (including the council president) out of nine holding seats. 

2. Not politics related, but Mark Roth's series on former football players with brain disease is phenomenal. The series started Sunday.

3. Higher ed reporter Bill Schackner reports that former Penn State president Graham Spanier received the highest compensation package among university presidents in 2011-2012. Hopefully that massive severance package will help off-set his legal fees

4. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl made Sports Illustrated, and no, not for his brief career as a silver screen place kicker. Unfortunately, there's no link here, but here's an excerpt from the cover story about Sidney Crosby:

Pittsburgh has been disappointed lately by the behavior of other young stars-most famously, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but also 33-year-old mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who took office at 26 and who recently dropped his re-election bid amid a federal investigation into police spending. (Last week Ravenstahl responded to an unfavorable story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with a rant in the newspaper's online comments section. The highlight: "It's actually laughable to think that you print your newspaper everyday [sic] with a straight face.")

5. And finally, ICYMI, a story that broke late Friday. Rich Lord and I report that the mayor's house received an upgrade from a company related to contractor that did millions in work for the city. It's not the first time the Post-Gazette has inquired about the mayor's abode. In December, Brian O'Neill dared to ask where the mayor lives.

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Breakfast Sausage: 5 stories to read this morning

Published by Moriah Balingit on .

Happy Monday Early Returners! Today, we bring you stories from the South Side to Santiago, Chile.

1. The Pittsburgh Housing Authority hired a recently formed company connected to a drug felon to train residents to cut grass, Rich Lord found

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