$2.5 Million Grant To Aid Granite Building Hotel Project In Downtown Pittsburgh

DSC01828Gov. Tom Corbett delivered a $2.5 million state redevelopment assistance capital grant this morning to jump start Downtown’s latest hotel project — 104 rooms, three bars, and a brasserie-style restaurant at Wood Street and Sixth Avenue.

The $38 million independent boutique hotel will be housed in the Granite Building, a Romanesque-style structure built in 1889 and site of the former German National Bank. A building next door that once housed an Arby’s restaurant also will be part of the development.

The project is being developed by Holly Brubach, a former New York Times style editor who bought the Granite Building in 2006 with the intent of turning it into condominiums.

But that project was done in by the recession, prompting Ms. Brubach to change course.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/24/2-5M-grant-to-jump-start-Granite-Building-hotel-project-in-downtown-Pittsburgh/stories/201410240194

West Hazleton No Longer In ‘Distressed Municipality’ Status

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WEST HAZLETON — The state has rescinded the borough’s status as a distressed municipality. But while the borough has significantly improved finances since 2003, it’s not out of the woods yet.

State Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker determined that West Hazleton’s distressed status would be rescinded after a review of audits and financial data and the record from a public hearing on June 3, Gov. Tom Corbett’s office announced Thursday in a news release.

The hearing officer’s report revealed that in 2013, the borough had a $5,423 budget surplus, that finances were stable, and that the borough has the tools to make the decisions necessary to maintain responsible budgets, meet its obligations to vendors and creditors, and provide essential services to residents.

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Corbett Announces $10M In Grants For Almono Project In Hazelwood

Locator map with the Hazlwood neighborhood in ...

Locator map with the Hazlwood neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before local developers can build a projected $1 billion in apartments, offices, retail shops and tech suites on the former LTV Steel Corp. site in Hazelwood, they need about $103 million in streets, utility lines and other infrastructure upgrades.

“There’s huge interest in this site, tremendous interest in this site, from developers not only in the region, but across the country,” said Don Smith, president of the Regional Industrial Development Corp., which is managing the project. “Really, it’s all just interest until we can give them some certainty that the site will be ready for their buildings to open.”

Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday announced $10 million in state grants to support development at the 178-acre Almono property along the Monongahela River.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6964700-74/industrial-office-space#ixzz3GLYMNDky
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PSERS Investments Exceed Expectations

Taxpayers and public school employees should expect some good news later this year when one of state’s major public pension systems releases its investment returns for the most recent fiscal year.

The state Public School Employees Retirement System, or PSERS, earned nearly 15 percent during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. A press release on the organization’s website Monday revealed the latest findings.

Exceeding the annual investment earnings assumption of 7.5 percent helps to ease the burden of the unfunded liability that must be made up in the future by some combination of future investment returns, contributions from workers and tax dollars.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/psers-investments-exceed-expectations/article_285ee46e-4e4c-11e4-b1be-001a4bcf6878.html

Corbett Down 17 In New Quinnipiac Poll

Democratic challenger Tom Wolf leads Gov. Tom Corbett (R) by 17 percentage points among likely voters in Pennsylvania – 55 percent to 38 percent – as the campaign enters its final month, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday.

The survey shows a slight improvement for Corbett compared to the last Quinnipiac Poll of the race Sept. 11, when Wolf led 59 percent to 35 percent among likely voters.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/big_tent/Corbett-down-17-in-new-Quinnipiac-Poll.html#Ccbgppqxvz3zPMFX.99

New Details Emerge About Lancaster Men Named In Pornographic Email Scandal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Lancaster County man, who formerly worked in the Attorney General’s office under Gov. Tom Corbett, reportedly forwarded 30 sexually-charged emails he received as part of an office porn-swapping scandal.

The file on Richard Sheetz — one of four released publicly to various media outlets by Attorney General Kathleen Kane Friday — showed that the East Hempfield resident received scores of the sexually-charged emails. And on about 30 occasions he passed them on.

The information released by Kane’s office contains no direct evidence of whether the emails were opened by any of the eight former Corbett staffers named thus far, according to PennLive. The emails were released in response to media requests.

Sheetz, who was executive deputy attorney general directing the criminal law division under Corbett, now works in the Lancaster County district attorney’s office. He has not responded to several messages left at his home and office.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/new-details-emerge-about-lancaster-men-named-in-pornographic-email/article_b617160c-4d69-11e4-949a-001a4bcf6878.html

With $30.7 Million In State Grants, U.S. Steel Promises To Stay In Pennsylvania

English: The U.S. Steel Tower, located in Pitt...

English: The U.S. Steel Tower, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, with the new corporate logo of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

United States Steel Corp. is committed to keeping its headquarters in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett said Friday as he announced the state was providing $30.7 million in grants for the Fortune 500 company to help rehabilitate some of its plants.

The company has not said publicly that it was looking to relocate from Pennsylvania, but there has been speculation about whether it would move to another site in the region when its lease at U.S. Steel Tower, Downtown, expires in 2017.

Corbett and administration officials acknowledged that they acted to secure a commitment from the company to stay in Pennsylvania based on fears — and not any knowledge — that it would exit the state.

“I think they were considering it,” said Corbett. The governor cited Chicago and Indiana, where U.S. Steel has its largest mill, as places where he thought it might relocate.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6905730-74/pennsylvania-steel-company#ixzz3FBvNnlfJ
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Corbett Stands By One Of His Appointees In Porn Scandal, Wants Another To Resign

GOV. CORBETT is standing by one state law-enforcement official caught up in a porn scandal, but has asked another to resign.

Corbett says information released this week by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane does not show that State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan opened any of the more than 300 explicit emails he received while working as a top deputy to Corbett when the governor served as attorney general.

Noonan has told the governor he did not look at the files, a Corbett spokeswoman said.

A source familiar with the porn scandal said Randy Feathers, another top deputy when Corbett was attorney general, is resisting for now the governor’s request to resign his post on the state Board of Probation and Parole.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20141005_Corbett_stands_by_one_of_his_appointees_in_porn_scandal__wants_another_to_resign.html#BhkWAdZgxCUCrRcS.99

Wolf Maintains Large Lead Over Corbett With Month Left In Governor’s Campaign

The latest sample of voter opinions in the Pennsylvania governor’s race tested for lingering effects of Gov. Tom Corbett’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation investigation.

It shows the struggling Republican incumbent still trailing Democratic challenger Tom Wolf by double digits.

Robert Morris University Polling Institute found 54.6 percent of voters say the Sandusky case would not affect their vote, according to an online survey sponsored by Trib Total Media. Almost 27 percent say Corbett’s handling of the investigation makes them less likely to support his re-election, and 12 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for Corbett.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6892975-74/voters-percent-corbett#ixzz3F6TB4qOv
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Two Top DEP Officials Resign Over Porn E-Mails

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo and a top aide resigned Thursday over revelations that they were among dozens of state officials who sent or received pornographic e-mails over state computers.

In a letter to Gov. Corbett, Abruzzo said he had not been able to review the explicit messages he allegedly sent or received, but said he accepted responsibility for “any lack of judgment” he may have exhibited. He added: “It is my concern that these assertions have become a distraction from the great record of this administration.”

Hours later, the department’s deputy chief counsel, Glenn Parno, also resigned.

Their resignations made them the first high-ranking casualties of a scandal that has coursed through the capital as Corbett vies for a second term and one that widened Thursday to touch one of the state’s most prominent judges, Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20141003_Pa_s_top_environmental_officer_resigns_over_porn_emails.html#rTEg263Y3FKsULCE.99

Gov. Corbett Announces Redevelopment Grant For Former Saks Site, Oliver Building

Trinity Epsicopal with its neighbors, the Oliv...

Trinity Epsicopal with its neighbors, the Oliver Building and the old Gimbels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surrounded by an array of Pittsburgh civic and development interests, Gov. Tom Corbett stood in Mellon Square Monday to announce a $4 million state grant to seed the redevelopment of the Henry W. Oliver Building and its neighbor, the former Saks Fifth Avenue department store.

Mr. Corbett told a small crowd overlooking the planned developments that the Henry W. Oliver Building had special interest for him because he had worked in an office there during his career in private practice before joining the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Noting that he had been in the city last week to release state funds for a theater project for Point Park University, Mr. Corbett called Pittsburgh, “a model for redevelopment and smart growth.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/09/29/Governor-Corbett-announced-redevelopment-grant-for-Downtown-Pittsburgh/stories/201409290199

NEPA Gets Extra $500M For Projects

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania

Counties constituting Northeastern Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Northeastern Pennsylvania will get nearly $500 million more than expected for transportation projects over the next 12 years.

In 2012, area planners expected to spend $1.56 billion on transportation infrastructure in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties from 2013 through 2025, state Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Taluto said.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed the new transportation funding package in November, and transportation planners in the six counties recently allocated $2.03 billion to largely fix up the area’s roads and bridges from 2015 through 2027.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/nepa-gets-extra-500m-for-projects-1.1757716

Online Retailer Zulily To Open Hub In Bethlehem That Employs 1,200

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Online retailer zulily plans to establish a distribution center in Bethlehem that will create 1,200 full-time jobs over the next three years, Gov. Tom Corbett announced today.

The hub is targeted for 10 Emery St., an 800,000-square-foot warehouse owned by Liberty Property Trust in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII — former Bethlehem Steel Corp. land off Route 412.

Corbett said in a news release that the building will serve as zulily’s Northeast fulfillment center and the company is making a multimillion-dollar investment there.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/09/online_retailer_zulily_to_open.html

American Eagle Opens New Distribution Center In Humboldt

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Customers who placed an online order with American Eagle Outfitters typically had to wait between 7 and 10 days for their merchandise to arrive.

With the opening of the company’s newest distribution center in Hazle Township, they can now expect those packages within 2 to 5 days, said Michael Rempell, American Eagle Outfitters’ chief operating officer and executive vice president.

“It’s going to enable our company to effectively compete in the global economy,” Rempell said of the Humboldt Industrial Park facility, where a grand opening celebration was held Thursday.

The event brought company representatives, elected officials, community leaders and families of the 100 employees who have been hired to date at the Hazle Township facility together.

Read more: http://standardspeaker.com/news/american-eagle-opens-new-center-in-humboldt-1.1739948

Elizabethtown Fair Opens The Season In Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Elizabethtown Fair has a lot of fans. One of them is the chief executive of the commonwealth.

Gov. Tom Corbett will take part in the fair’s opening ceremony at 6:45 p.m. this evening, fair spokeswoman Sally Nolt said.

He’ll then be given a tour, she said.

This will be Corbett’s fifth trip to the fair, she said: He came three times as attorney general and once before as governor, she said.

“He’s been a good supporter for fairs,” she said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/elizabethtown/news/elizabethtown-fair-opens-the-season-in-lancaster-county/article_ed0eb122-265b-11e4-ac4e-001a4bcf6878.html

Transportation Plan Calls For $4.7 Billion For Southwestern Pennsylvania

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A draft plan for improvements to the region’s transportation system envisions $4.7 billion in spending in the 10 counties of southwestern Pennsylvania in the next four years, a 52 percent increase from the current four-year plan.

The plan for fiscal years 2015 through 2018 signals a reversal of years of diminished spending on infrastructure and public transit, bolstered by the funding bill that the Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett enacted last fall. The draft Transportation Improvement Plan was released last week by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a regional planning agency.

“From my perspective, we were able to add significant projects that were simply unaffordable in the last TIP update,” said Dan Cessna, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s district executive for Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties.

Among them is a $79 million rehabilitation of the Liberty Bridge in Downtown Pittsburgh, which at present is weight-restricted and rated structurally deficient, meaning its components are deteriorated but not yet unsafe. Numerous smaller bridge and paving projects were added as well, he said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/frontpage/2014/06/23/Plan-calls-for-boost-for-southwestern-Pa-transportation/stories/201406230085#ixzz35UedvrMx

Wolf vs. Corbett: 5 Issues They’ll Tussle Over Between Now And November

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The campaigns for Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf traded shots over education funding, natural gas drilling and other issues before Wolf won his party’s nomination.

Voters can expect a lot more of that before Nov. 4.

“I think it’s going to be a long, grueling contest, in which both candidates are going to have to defend an awful lot about their records,” said G. Terry Madonna, a pollster and political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

Corbett has had lower approval ratings than Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell had at the same points in their first terms. In a January poll from Franklin & Marshall College, 23 percent of registered Pennsylvania voters said Corbett was doing an “excellent” or “good” job as governor.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/politics/ci_25828929/wolf-v-corbett-5-issues-theyll-tussle-over

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11 State Game Lands In NEPA Have Gas Leases

Counties constituting the Endless Mountains Re...

Counties constituting the Endless Mountains Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gas leases on state game lands in Bradford and Susquehanna counties have earned the Pennsylvania Game Commission $32 million in signing bonuses since 2008.

The Game Commission signed leases on 11 parcels of game land in the two counties. No leases have been signed on game lands in Wyoming and Luzerne counties. Royalties vary from 20 to almost 29 percent. Some gas companies are deducting the costs of moving and marketing the gas from royalty payments, the same as they do for private leaseholders.

Mike DiMatteo, who oversees oil and gas development on game lands as chief of the commission’s division of environmental planning and habitat protection, confirmed that gas companies have deducted post-production costs from royalty payments, although never enough to send the Game Commission a royalty statement with a negative balance, as some private landowners have reported.

The practice has drawn anger even from Republicans supportive of the industry, including Gov. Tom Corbett and state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-23, Williamsport. Both named Chesapeake Energy Corp. as a major offender.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/11-game-lands-in-nepa-have-gas-leases-1.1679176

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Corbett: Coal Is Working

States and the energy industry should work together to improve carbon-capturing technology to save coal-burning power plants and coal-related jobs threatened by federal clean air regulations, Gov. Tom Corbett said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a coal industry conference at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County, the Shaler Republican joined a chorus of voices complaining that environmental regulations will push coal out as an electricity source.

“If you take one energy source out of the mix, you just know the cost of electricity will go up,” Corbett told about 100 people at the Nemacolin Energy Institute gathering.

He later announced he would work with Wyoming Gov. Matthew H. Mead and other coal-producing states on research and eventually build a joint testing center for affordable emission-control technology.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5983934-74/coal-power-corbett#ixzz2zlWO7oig
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Report: Pennsylvania Forests Impacted By Drilling

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A small portion of Pennsylvania state forest land has been impacted by shale gas drilling, but many questions remain about how to manage the politically sensitive issue that is opposed by many residents, according to a new report.

The 268-page Department of Conservation and Natural Resources report issued this week concluded that “shale-gas production on state forest lands is neither benign nor catastrophic” and that there are clearly impacts and trade-offs.

“The question is what trade-offs are acceptable,” the report said.

The report found that about 1,486 acres of forest have been converted to various types of drilling-related development since 2008, including roads, well pads, and pipelines, out of about 2.2 million acres in the state forest system. That gas development resulted in 191 infrastructure pads and 104 miles of pipelines.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/pennsylvania/report-pennsylvania-forests-impacted-by-drilling/article_c98b8d73-66b5-52b5-b9f0-149d8d97c8a0.html

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