Friday, July 31
Anchor denies sham Porsche sale; congressman husband charged
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia news anchor says authorities were wrong to cite the sale of her Porsche as evidence of wrongdoing in the indictment of her congressman husband.
Renee Chenault-Fattah (sheh-NAWLT' fah-TAH') says she sold the car to a family friend for $18,000 because she and Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah needed the money to close on a vacation home.
Federal prosecutors say it was a sham sale designed to hide a bribe from a lobbyist. They allege the car never changed hands and that paperwork was falsified.
The newswoman sent a letter Thursday to her station, WCAU-TV, saying she kept the car after the sale partly because the buyer didn't have a garage.
Chenault-Fattah is not charged in the case. She's on leave from WCAU.
Her husband has also denied wrongdoing.
Pope's upcoming visit inspires anxiety in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eight weeks before Pope Francis arrives in Philadelphia as the centerpiece of his U.S. visit, it's still unclear how much he'll disrupt traffic, business and daily life.
With official information scant, rumors are swirling about massive security fencing and miles of street closures. There are fears of long walks, too-few bathrooms and a dearth of food in areas where traffic is restricted.
The lack of clarity is breeding confusion and consternation in the City of Brotherly Love and contempt for the people who run it.
City officials blame the Secret Service, which has declared Francis' Sept. 26-27 visit a National Special Security Event.
The agency says it will release road closure and security checkpoint information about three weeks before Francis — leaving the city and visit organizers vulnerable to rumors.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offering newsroom buyouts
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A union at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says some newsroom employees are being offered buyouts.
A Newspaper Guild memo on the buyout plan appeared Wednesday on the website of Jim Romenesko, who follows the news industry.
The memo said that about 120 Guild members at the Post-Gazette are eligible but that participation will be limited to 21.
The union says the newspaper's owners are citing weak revenue and a difficult advertising environment as reasons for needing to shrink newsroom staffing.
The Post-Gazette declined comment.
Newsroom employees at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News are also currently weighing buyout offers.
At the Post-Gazette, the union said those receiving buyouts will get 1.5 weeks of pay for every year of service up to a maximum of 39 weeks of pay.
MACY'S CLOSING-DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH
Pittsburgh trying to keep 2 eateries after Macy's closure
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The city of Pittsburgh is trying to secure the naming rights of a restaurant and cafe from Macy's in hopes that both will live on after the landmark store is closed.
Macy's is closing its downtown location around Labor Day after selling the landmark building.
Officials tell the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the city wants the naming rights of Tic Toc restaurant and Arcade Bakery. Both are shutting down Friday.
The agreement would assign their names, branding and intellectual property rights to the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority. Macy's has agreed to do so at no cost to the city.
Officials say the deal could involve rights to menus, particular dishes, or types of cookies.
The Macy's redevelopment proposal includes two floors of retail, a 155-room hotel and more than 300 apartments.
GREAT LAKES GRANTS
EPA: Up to $13.9M available for Great Lakes restoration
DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says up to $13.9 million is being made available in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants.
The agency says it's seeking proposals for new projects for the 2015 funding cycle. They're available to state, tribal, interstate and local governmental agencies, as well as colleges, universities and nonprofits.
Applications are due Sept. 28. EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman says in a statement this round of funding will be used to target invasive species and to reduce runoff in urban and agricultural watersheds.
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence of Michigan says it's "a great opportunity to increase our efforts to protect and restore our Great Lakes."
An online event explaining the grant application process is planned for Aug. 13.