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Friday, February 8, 2013

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Feb. 8

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 7:19 AM

As predicted here last week, UPMC has settled scores of complaints that it violated labor-law in seeking to discourage a unionization effort. UPMC administrators will have to undergo training, and discharged workers will get 80 percent of the backpay they would have earned if they were still on the job. And yet does UPMC sound contrite to you?

Allegheny County Rich Fitzgerald probably woke up this morning feeling glad that there will only be one public hearing on his plan to allow gas-drilling on county-owned airport land. Lots of fracktivists on hand, and unhappy campers of just about every stripe.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald is among the few Democrats with anything good to say about Gov. Tom Corbett's budget proposal. Fitzgerald notes that increased transportation spending may help the Port Authority back away from "its own fiscal cliff". That assumes, of course, that a proposed gasoline tax gets the approval of hte state legislature.

Meanwhile, another day, another poll showing Corbett's approval ratings in the tank -- even though some of his individual policies, like privatizing state stores, are popular.

Speaking of things Corbett, the NCAA has filed its response to Corbett's lawsuit seeking to overturn sanctions against Penn State. As expected, the NCAA is arguing that Corbett doesn't have standing to veto an agreement between the association and Penn State, who accepted the sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal.

But because City Paper is committed to bipartisanship, we'll also note some questions dogging Corbett's Republican predecessor. Namely, Was former Gov. Ed Rendell intervening on behalf of natural-gas driller Range Resources with the EPA?

In one of the few sweeps-week reports that didn't make me want to kill myself, WTAE looks at elevated asthma rates among Pittsburgh-area kids. No surprise here that places like Clairton, and communities downwind of heavily industrial Neville Island, have some of the highest rates -- but asthma is also a problem even in bedroom communities like the Pine-Richland area.

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