Sept. 19, 2015

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh: UPMC Presby starts mold investigation

Officials are investigating to see whether the deaths of two ICU patients who underwent heart transplants are related to mold. Those deaths occurred in October and June. UPMC closed the unit Sept. 3 and relocated 18 patients after reporting that one had contracted a fungal infection.

Pittsburgh: Public safety director leaves for state post

Stephen A. Bucar, the city’s public safety director, is stepping down to take a position as deputy commissioner of staff with the Pennsylvania State Police. Bucar became director in May 2014 and his last day will be Oct. 9.

Harrisburg: State senate passes spending plan amid stalemate

A short-term spending plan of $11 billion dollars for the state was passed by the Senate, but will likely be vetoed by the governor. The budget situation has caused some schools to take out loans and other agencies to slice social services.

Statewide: University union on way to halt background checks

The Association of State College and University Faculties is one step closer to excusing faculty members from 14 state-owned universities from getting background checks after a judge’s decision. The union claims the checks are unfair labor practices.

Harrisburg: Controversial bar stays open

A judge ruled that the Third Street Café on North Third Street will remain open while it appeals a decision to revoke its business license. City officials claimed the bar, along with two others, was a hotspot for illegal activities.

NATIONAL

EPA accusations spark Volkswagen recall

The car manufacturer has been ordered to recall nearly 500,000 vehicles after the Environmental Protection Agency accused it of cheating on emissions testing. It claims the company installed a “defeat device” to make the cars appear more eco-friendly than they are.

Bill to block Planned Parenthood funding passes

The House voted Friday not to fund Planned Parenthood for one year. It also approved a bill that would criminalize doctors if they don’t try to save infants born alive during abortions. The bills now must pass the Senate.

New Orleans poor sue court for “scheming”

Six plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the New Orleans Criminal District Court, claiming it was scheming to keep poor people in jail if they missed court payments. One lawyer says funding the criminal justice system by fining the poor has increased over the years.

Friend of Charleston shooter not guilty

Joey Meek, who was friends with admitted shooter Dylann Roof, pleaded not guilty to lying to federal officials and to concealing his knowledge of Roof’s intentions. Authorities said Roof slept in the trailer where Meek lived with his two brothers, mother and girlfriend.

Bergdahl testifies in desertion hearing

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl went to court Friday on charges that he deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009. After leaving the post, Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held for five years before being exchanged for five Taliban commanders.

WORLD

Washington tries to mend relationship with Cuba

U.S. companies will be allowed to set up offices in Cuba starting Monday, the Obama administration said. The move is designed to improve relations between the two countries by stimulating the economy and supporting political freedom.

IN OTHER NEWS

Microbeads, macro problems

More than eight trillion plastic microbeads pollute the water each day, researchers said in a new study. Wildlife ingest the beads, which are commonly added to hygiene products such as toothpaste, because they are too small to be captured by filters.

The daily report was compiled by Elaina Zachos, a PublicSource intern. You can reach her with questions or suggestions at ezachos@publicsource.org.