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State News

March 20, 2013

State in brief: Both sides agree on fracking standards

PITTSBURGH — Some of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies have made peace with environmentalists, agreeing to a voluntary set of tough new standards for fracking in the Northeast that could lead to a major expansion of drilling.

The program announced Wednesday will work a lot like Underwriters Laboratories, which puts its familiar UL seal of approval on electrical appliances that meet its standards.

In this case, drilling and pipeline companies will be encouraged to submit to an independent review of their operations. If they are found to be abiding by a list of stringent measures to protect the air and water from pollution, they will receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created by environmentalists and the energy industry.

Many of the new standards appear to be stricter than state and federal regulations.

The project will cover Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio – where a frenzy of drilling is under way in the huge, gas-rich Marcellus and Utica Shale formations – as well as New York and other states in the East that have put a hold on new drilling.

Board OKs pacts with SSHE faculty, coaches

HARRISBURG – The board that oversees Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities gave the green light Wednesday to new contracts for thousands of faculty members and hundreds of sports coaches.

The State System of Higher Education board of governors ratified the four-year pacts, which are retroactive to July 2011.

They provide annual pay raises of between 3.5 and 7 percent for the 5,500 faculty members over the last three years of the contract.

The 600 coaches will get raises totaling 4.75 percent plus potential increases averaging

6 percent through performance-based merit pools in the last two contract years.

Faculty members will have to pay higher co-payments for prescription drugs and some office and emergency-room visits under their contract, while coaches will have to contribute more toward their health care premiums.

The faculty contract also includes $400,000 a year for faculty members’ professional development.

The faculty members and coaches are represented by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. They previously ratified their contracts.

Also Wednesday, the board approved a merit pool to cover potential raises for 1,400 non-union employees in the fiscal year that started July 1 and the next two years. Any increases will be based on their job-performance evaluations.

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State News
  • PennDOT contractor arraigned on $3.6M theft charge

    A Department of Transportation contractor stole $3.6 million in public funds by billing the state for work that was never done, state prosecutors said Thursday in what they described as an ongoing corruption probe of PennDOT’s southeastern Pennsylvania district.

    July 31, 2014

  • Police: Women stole thousands from elderly sisters, used money to show St. Bernards

    Two western Pennsylvania women have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from two elderly sisters and using the money to attend dog shows.

    July 29, 2014

  • Intervening neighbor’s death now ruled homicide

    The Allegheny County medical examiner says a neighbor who died after he intervened in a fight between a couple next door is the victim of homicide.

    July 29, 2014

  • Housing police: Naked women slashes 3 in melee

    Allegheny County Housing Authority police were trying to identify a naked woman who allegedly slashed or stabbed three other women in an apparent lovers’ quarrel at a public housing complex.

    July 29, 2014

  • Police: Rescued boys never mentioned drowned teen

    Police say two teens who were rescued from a jetty in Presque Isle Bay in Erie last week, and two others who were with them, never mentioned a fifth boy who drowned and whose body wasn’t found until Saturday.

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 arraigned, denied bail in deadly Philly carjacking

    Two men accused of carjacking a woman in north Philadelphia and plowing into a family selling fruit on a street corner, killing three children, have been ordered held without bail.

    July 29, 2014

  • PennDOT pushes ‘Yellow Dot’ vehicle stickers

    It’s the car sticker that could save your life.
    PennDOT’s “Yellow Dot” program has been around for several years, said Daniel Zakraysek, coordinator of the Cambria Allegheny Regional Highway Safety Network.

    July 28, 2014

  • Remembering elephant’s rampage

    The circus elephant paced the landing outside the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona.
    Police formed an uneasy line around the perimeter of the venue’s lawn, rifles at the ready.
    It was a cloudy, cold day in April 1993, and Tyke the elephant had just run around the circus ring, slapped a baboon and burst through a building’s front door, tearing off part of the wall above the door.

    July 28, 2014

  • State briefs 7/29/2014

    July 28, 2014

  • TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man’s carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport.

    July 28, 2014

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