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HARRISBURG — State lawmakers were criticized Monday for not taking strong action to ban gifts to themselves, an issue that got attention last spring after four House members were caught in a sting operation allegedly accepting cash gifts.

A Pennsylvania county clerk who failed at the state level to attempt to have the state's recent gay marriage ruling overturned is now turning to the highest legal authority in the nation. 

A Vietnam War veteran said he was forced to wait nearly five hours before being treated for shortness of breath at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Plains Township earlier this month.

John J. O'Donnell, 63, of Tobyhanna, said his experience began June 4, when he had trouble breathing. Unable to drive at night, O'Donnell said his wife, Jean, drove him to the VA. They came to the emergency room about 9:30 a.m. June 5.

A bill authorizing a task force to educate the public about Lyme disease and monitor it across the state is waiting for Governor Corbett's signature. Republican state Senator Stewart Greenleaf of Montgomery County says it could become an epidemic if unchecked.

On Tuesday, with a 7-2 vote, the Pittsburgh City Council approved Mayor Bill Peduto's Act 47 recovery plan. The five-year plan includes recommendations for a possible property tax increase and bond issues to improve deteriorating infrastructure.

Kevin Acklin, the mayor's Chief of Staff and Chief Development Officer explained how the City plan is different from past plans.

Cut open a hole in the ground, even a very narrow one, and you will be left with a pile of dirt. These are drill cuttings. Natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale have a lot of these cuttings leftover. And therein lies a problem. Because that dirt is naturally radioactive, and there's a risk that radiation can get into water supplies if it isn’t properly treated.

Between Oct. 1 and April 30, according to federal statistics, about 318,000 Pennsylvanians acquired private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among them was Gabe Felice, one of the artists profiled by Julie Sokolow in her online video series Healthy Artists.

Veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse could ping-pong through the criminal justice system for years without a support system that recognizes common problems facing former members of the military.

American manufacturing was the focus of President Obama’s visit to Pittsburgh Tuesday.


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