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Original and in-depth coverage about topics important to Pennsylvania

PA creates office to protect seniors

Guardianships to receive more oversight

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania will create a state Office of Elder Justice to protect seniors from abuse and financial exploitation, primarily through proposed reforms to court-appointed guardianships.

The new office was recommended by a 38-member Elder Law Task Force, which released its report today after 18 months of research.

A silent community speaks out about communications technology

Her voice and hands sapped by ALS, Mount Lebanon resident Mara Sweterlitsch uses a speech-generating device to write and print out questions for her next doctor’s appointment.

Jennifer Lowe, a 46-year-old Brighton Heights woman with cerebral palsy, handles email and phone calls through her communication device to work as an education consultant for students with disabilities.

Down the line

More than 1,000 miles of natural gas pipelines planned

There’s not enough pipeline infrastructure in our region to move all the natural gas coming from fracking in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to other markets.That’s changing. Big pipeline projects (some with hefty price tags) are in the works to move the gas and natural gas liquids. Some of them won’t be ready for years. Regulatory approval for these interstate projects can be slow. And some of the pipelines face intense opposition along their routes.

Price of the Prize

Wolf holds on to lead despite Corbett’s final push

The final two weeks of the Pennsylvania governor’s race have had all the appearances of a high-profile, competitive contest.

The polls thus far would suggest otherwise.

Some clients of PA guardianship agency are being repaid

When Joe Stigers of Johnstown took over as legal guardian for his wife in 2013, he realized that more than $7,200 in Social Security disability payments was missing from her account.

Life means death for thousands of PA prisoners

Death in prison is not rare.

In Pennsylvania, one in 10 inmates is sentenced to life in prison. Because state law gives them no possibility of parole, nearly all of more than 5,300 inmates serving life terms will eventually die inside prison walls.

Price of the Prize

Wolf’s lead remains strong in raising cash and in polls

Less than a month before the election, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and his challenger, Democrat Tom Wolf, have raised and spent enough money to put the governor’s race on track to be the most expensive in state history.

During this election cycle, Wolf has raised $27.6 million and spent $21.1 million compared with Corbett, who has raised $20.6 million and spent $19.3 million.

Why is the NFL a nonprofit?

A list of America’s best compensated CEOs, as you might imagine, includes a dream team of industry titans. According to Equilar, which collects data on executive salaries, Oracle’s Larry Ellison pulled in $96.2 million of total compensation in 2012; he’s followed by other bold-faced business names like Robert Iger of Walt Disney ($37.1 million), Rupert Murdoch of 21st Century Fox ($22.4 million), and Alan Mulally of Ford ($21 million).

Another member of that salary stratosphere is Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, who earned $44.2 million in total compensation in 2012.

Marcellus Life: One Greene County man’s encounter with a landman

Leigh Shields refused to allow seismic testing for natural gas on his 88 acres in Spraggs, Greene County. He thought if he said no to the company asking, that would be the end of it.

Vermont closed workshops for people with disabilities; what happened next?

The sheltered workshops that are still prevalent in Pennsylvania were shut down in Vermont more than a decade ago. And now, the employment rate of people with developmental disabilities in the New England state is twice the national average.

A top Pittsburgh emergency response official talks about the risks of crude oil trains

Emergency response officials are currently assessing the risks that trains carrying millions of gallons of highly combustible crude oil pose to residents in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

DEP fines Range Resources industry-record $4.15 million

Details of DEP file review show problems

Range Resources must pay $4.15 million in fines – the largest amount ever levied against a Marcellus Shale driller – for various leaks and other problems at six of its water impoundments in Washington County.

Will PA legislators make antidote for heroin overdoses available?

As a brutal heroin epidemic sweeps the country, lawmakers in 25 states have responded by making it easier to get an antidote to deadly overdoses.

Pennsylvania’s neighboring states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Ohio already have expanded access to the opioid anti-overdose drug naloxone, also known as Narcan. Their hope: That making it more widely available will mean fewer deaths from heroin overdoses.

What Pittsburghers need to know about the city’s payroll system

More than three years ago, Pittsburgh decided to overhaul its financial management system, including payroll for city employees.

The goal was to finish the project in four months for $263,000. But, since then, there have been more than 10 changes to the original contract, which was supposed to be done by Jan. 1, 2013.

Inside the halls of government, gas industry makes its pitch

Oil and gas companies are spending around $8 million a year on lobbying in Pennsylvania. This kind of big-time lobbying makes some uneasy about the role that money can play in politics. But how does lobbying actually work, and are these lobbyists as powerful as some fear? 

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