Blackhawk hires new superintendent

Story by Sandy Giordano – Beaver County Radio. Published February 28, 2024 12:43 P.M.

(Chippewa Township, Pa) Dr. William Pettigrew, acting superintendent reported Wednesday morning that the school board hired Johanna Vannatta, Chartiers Valley’s current superintendent,  to be the next district superintendent. The action took place at last week’s school board meeting and she will assume her duties at Blackhawk on or before July 1, 2024. Her salary will be $170,000 a year. Dr. Pettigrew came to Blackhawk after retiring from the Jeannette School District where he served the district for 26 years. He said he’ll probably play golf when he retires.

In other district news, the bocce team will participate in the Bocce finals at Geneva College on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.  The Cougars girls basketball team will play in the WPIAL finals at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday, March 2, 2024.

Report: A roadmap for industrial decarbonization in PA

Danielle Smith – Keystone State News Connection

Pennsylvania is a major source of greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S.

A new study has identified a path for its industries to reduce their emissions by 80% by 2050 but additional efforts are needed to achieve the goal in the industrial sector. The “Roadmap to Industrial Decarbonization” outlines specific strategies for each type of industry in the state to lower their carbon footprint.

Joe Goodenbery, senior manager for Strategen Consulting and co-author of the study, said nearly 60% of emissions come from fossil fuel combustion and natural gas accounts for roughly two-thirds of fuel consumption in the sectors.

“For our pathway to decarbonization, we’re examining emissions from notable industrial subsectors,” Goodenbery outlined. “Including fossil-fuel extraction and delivery of iron and steel, minerals, chemicals, refining, pulp and paper, and glass, among many others.”

Goodenbery noted emissions from oil and gas systems and coal mines account for roughly 34% of industrial sector emissions. According to the report, some energy union members perceive the move toward clean energy as a negative shift, fearing job losses rather than potential gains.

Goodenbery pointed out two of the five decarbonization levers are pathways to reduce industrial emissions and help Pennsylvanians save money.

“Efficiency also offers additional benefits through cost savings to consumers, because it will help lower energy bills,” Goodenbery emphasized. “Electrification can help provide heat for low- and mid-temperature heating needs, again, that would be less than 400 degrees Celsius. In most cases, these solutions can be implemented immediately with existing technologies.”

The report also examined ways to reduce carbon emissions from steel and iron production, focusing on primary and secondary steelmaking and fabrication.

Jennifer Gorman, senior analyst for Strategen Consulting and another of the study’s co-authors, explained primary steelmaking now uses mostly coal and blast furnaces.

“Material efficiency measures can also build upon these energy-efficiency reductions, and these include increased recycling and increased use of scrap steel as an input,” Gorman explained. “This could potentially lead to a 10% reduction in primary steelmaking emissions by 2050.”

Gorman added they found by using several combinations of proposed solutions carbon dioxide emissions from Pennsylvania’s iron and steel industry could be reduced 92% by 2050.

Wendy’s says it has no plans to raise prices during the busiest times at its restaurants

FILE – A sign stands over a Wendy’s restaurant, Feb. 25, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa. Wendy’s says that it has no plans to increase prices during the busiest times at its restaurants, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. The burger chain clarified its stance on how it will approach pricing after various media reports said that the company was looking to test having the prices of its menu items fluctuate throughout the day based on demand. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Wendy’s says that it has no plans to increase prices during the busiest times at its restaurants. The burger chain clarified its stance on how it will approach pricing after various media reports said that the company was looking to test having the prices of its menu items fluctuate throughout the day based on demand. Wendy’s said that its digital menu boards “could allow us to change the menu offerings at different times of day and offer discounts and value offers to our customers more easily, particularly in the slower times of day.”

Biden has his annual physical exam. The results will be closely watched amid his reelection bid

President Joe Biden departs Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following a physical, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Joe Biden spent about 2 1/2 hours at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Maryland for an annual physical that will be closely watched as the 81-year-old president seeks reelection. The White House said Wednesday it will release a written summary later in the day of what it calls a “routine” checkup. Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history and would be 86 by the end of a second term, should he win one. After his last physical, performed in February 2023, doctors declared Biden “healthy, vigorous” and “fit” to handle his White House duties. But voters are approaching this year’s election with misgivings about Biden’s age.

McConnell will step down as the Senate Republican leader in November after a record run in the job

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks after a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitch McConnell says he’ll step down as Senate Republican leader in November. The 82-year-old Kentucky lawmaker is the longest-serving Senate leader in history. He’s maintained his power in the face of dramatic changes in the Republican Party. He’s set to make the announcement Wednesday McConnell on the Senate floor. The Associated Press obtained his prepared remarks in which he says, “One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter.” McConnell says he plans to serve out his Senate term, which ends in January 2027, “albeit from a different seat in the chamber.”

EPA awards $1 billion to clean up toxic waste in third cash infusion for Superfund program

FILE – Ranking member Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., listens during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 23, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Environmental Protection Agency says 25 toxic waste sites in 15 states will be cleaned up as part of a $1 billion infusion to the federal Superfund program. The money is the third and last installment in $3.5 billion allocated under the 2021 infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says 25 toxic waste sites in 15 states will be cleaned up as part of a $1 billion infusion to the federal Superfund program. The money is the third and last installment in $3.5 billion allocated under the 2021 infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden. It will help clear a backlog of hazardous sites such as old landfills, mines and manufacturing facilities targeted by the 44-year-old Superfund program. Sites slated for cleanup include a former smelting plant in East Helena, Montana; an old textile mill in Greenville, South Carolina; and a New Jersey beach area blighted by toxic material used to build a seawall and jetty nearly 60 years ago.

Chatbots’ inaccurate, misleading responses about U.S. elections threaten to keep voters from polls

This photo provided by Lauren Feeney shows a group of election officials and AI experts from civil society, academia, industry and journalism testing how different AI models respond to queries voters might ask about elections, at Columbia University in New York, Jan. 25, 2024. (Lauren Feeney/Proof News via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Chatbots are spitting out fabricated and misleading information that risks disenfranchising voters leading up to the 2024 U.S. election. That’s according to a report published Tuesday based on the findings of artificial intelligence experts and a bipartisan group of election officials. Fifteen states and one territory will hold Democratic and Republican presidential nominating contests next week on Super Tuesday, and millions of people already using AI-powered chatbots to search for basic information, including about the voting process. The report found that chatbots have answers, but are prone to suggesting voters head to inexistent polling places or inventing responses. Some chatbot companies say they are refining their models.

Aliquippa man wanted for striking leashed dog with hatchet

Story by Sandy Giordano – Beaver County Radio. Published February 28, 2024 10:26 A.M.

(Aliquippa, Pa) A warrant for an Aliquippa man has been issued for injuring a dog. David Askew, 43, of Aliquippa is being sought by Aliquippa police after he struck a 9 month old female dog with a hatchet. The incident occurred on Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at the corner of Maratta Road and Main Street at 3:50pm. The dog’s owner was sitting on a stoop and the dog was on a leash when struck.

Askew faces a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, and possession of the instrument of crime with intent along with misdemeanor charges of make, repair, sell, offensive weapons, and cruelty to animals. The charges were filed in District Justice Felicia Santillan’s office.

Anyone with information on Askew’s whereabouts is asked to call Aliquippa Police 724-378-8000.

Hopewell School Board hires Director of Special Education

Story by Sandy Giordano – Beaver County Radio. Published February 28, 2024 10:22 A.M.

(Hopewell Township, Pa) The Hopewell School board hired March Bebout as the Director of Special Education at Tuesday night’s meeting with a salary of $97,000.00 a year.

Technology Director Dennis Barber presented an update to the board on the status of the technology that the district uses. He reported I-Pads need to be replaced and that the 33 white boards are breaking.

The district’s 2024-25 calendar was approved.

Isaiah Pisano was recognized along with other members of the wrestling team for winning his 100th match and being the district champion for 2024.

It was announced that the bocce team will compete at Geneva College on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 in the regional championship. Aliquippa’s team will also compete, according to their Coach Charles Brantner.

Matzie to introduce legislation that would add lawmakers, education secretary as permanent voting members of PIAA executive board

HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – In response to growing concerns over decisions and policies by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association and their impact on student safety, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today that he will be introducing legislation to make lawmakers on the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee and the state secretary of education permanent voting members of the PIAA executive board.

Matzie, who is vice chairman and longest-serving member of the oversight committee, said the move is justified because of PIAA’s status as a public agency – and necessary given the association’s lack of adequate response to questions and concerns raised by the oversight committee.

“The PIAA is a governmental entity,” Matzie said. “That was settled by the PA Supreme Court last week. It’s appropriate and necessary to bring accountability. Elected members of the legislature are tasked by the state Constitution to answer to and speak on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania. That includes, perhaps most importantly, our children and our schools and – by extension – those participating in junior and senior high sports.

“This legislation has been in the works for some time, but I felt the time was now – based on recent correspondence the PIAA sent on the premise of defending their indefensible competition formula. In reality, the correspondence was a hit job on one school, my school, Aliquippa. It’s abundantly clear that the PIAA would prefer to double down rather than work toward a better system. Their current system is not working, and their evaluation process is, frankly, lazy.”

The Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee, established in 2004, is comprised of six members – two appointed by the speaker of the PA House of Representatives and one appointed by the minority leader of the House; and two appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate and one appointed by the minority leader in the Senate. The PAOC meets annually to review the PIAA’s continued compliance with Act 91 of 2000, respond to issues related to the association’s activities, and issue an annual report of its findings.