Wednesday, May 12, 2021


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Local News

Catholic Churches Set To Open At 100% Capacity

The Diocese of Pittsburgh announced on Wednesday that effective Memorial Day, May 31st and until further notice, all Diocese of Pittsburgh churches may be open at 100% seating capacity. Bishop Zubik has encouraged pastors though, to consider maintaining an area of pews marked for socially distanced seating to accommodate parishioners who may feel more comfortable attending Mass in that way.  In accordance with state orders, masks must continue to be worn inside churches and parish buildings. As previously announced, priests, deacons, readers and cantors may remove their masks when speaking or singing while maintaining a social distance from others.  Parishes will continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing protocols, which currently advise that buildings should be cleaned once a day.  As previously stated, summer festivals and other non-liturgical events are permitted, as long as all current COVID protocols are followed.  “We are eager to welcome more people back to Holy Mass and to the reception of Holy Communion. We are excited to be moving in this direction,” said Bishop Zubik. “We know that people have been longing for spiritual healthcare and the healing power of Jesus. For those who have not been attending Mass in person, we’ve missed you. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.”

State AG Looking Into Compromised COVID Data

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office is looking into a breach of COVID-19 contact tracing data that may have compromised private information of some 72,000 people. Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Wednesday that investigations have begun “on multiple fronts,” but he declined to elaborate. The state Health Department disclosed two weeks ago that employees of contact tracing vendor Insight Global ignored security rules and created unauthorized documents outside the state’s secure computer systems. Insight Global has acknowledged mishandling sensitive information and apologized. The state has paid Insight Global about $28.7 million since March 2020.

Washington Park Pool Will Not Open This Summer

There is bad news for folks hoping to beat the heat this summer by heading to Washington Park Pool. The pool will not be opening this summer.  Washington City Councilman Joe Manning, who is currently serving as the Acting Director of the Parks & Buildings Department, due to the incarceration of Matt Staniszewski on a probation violation, says they received an electrical inspections report that pointed out numerous problems with the pool, including unsafe lighting and areas of the pool that are not grounded.  Manning says they had set some money aside to make those repairs, but it wasn’t feasible to do it at this point in time.  He says that even though the pool was shutdown last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, they didn’t really take a big hit in lost revenue because they operate the facility mostly as a community asset.  Manning says council is hopeful they’ll be able to make the necessary repairs as soon as possible and be able to have the pool back open for business next year.

Sean Parnell Announces Candidacy For U.S. Senate

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Sean Parnell announced his candidacy Tuesday for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat. Parnell is a decorated Army veteran and regular guest on Fox News programs who became a favorite of former President Donald Trump. Parnell unsuccessfully challenged Democratic U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb in western Pennsylvania last year. The Senate seat in the presidential battleground state is being left open after two-term Republican Sen. Pat Toomey announced in October that he wouldn’t run again. Both the Democratic and Republican fields are getting crowded, with next year’s primary election still a year away.

First Lady Jill Biden Heading To West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is joining first lady Jill Biden and actor Jennifer Garner during a visit to West Virginia on Thursday. Biden’s office says she and Manchin will arrive at Charleston’s Yeager Airport. They’ll join Garner at a coronavirus vaccination center and speak at Capital High School. A previously announced visit to Arnoldsburg Elementary School in Calhoun County has been scrubbed due to a COVID-19 quarantine in the school district. Biden and Manchin will then greet West Virginia National Guard members at the airport before departing. Garner grew up in Charleston. She has previously testified before Congress in support of education programs for preschoolers in poverty.

World News

Rising Prices Fuel Fears Of Inflation

NEW YORK (AP) – Rising prices for a variety of commodities are contributing to a jump in prices at the consumer level. The government said Wednesday that consumer prices surged 0.8% in April from March, while the year-over-year rise was the fastest since 2008. The cost of corn and soybeans used for animal feed is at the highest since 2012, boosting the price of meat. The price of lumber is at an all-time high, contributing to record home prices. Higher oil prices and rising demand for gasoline has helped push the average price of a gallon above $3 for the first time since 2014.  Prices for diapers and toilet paper are also going up.

CDC Approves Pfizer Vaccine For Children Age 12-15

UNDATED (AP) – Federal health advisers have endorsed use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in kids as young as 12. Earlier in the week, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the expanded use of Pfizer’s shots, citing evidence the shots worked as well in those 12 to 15 years old as those 16 and older. Kids in some places are already rolling up their sleeves. But much of the nation was waiting for Wednesday’s recommendations from advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many states will be shipping doses to pediatricians and even to schools.

COVID Deaths In U.S. Hit Lowest Level In Months

(AP) – COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have tumbled to an average of about 600 per day – the lowest level in 10 months. The number of lives lost per day has dropped to single digits on average in well over half the states and has hit zero on days. Confirmed infections, meanwhile, have fallen to about 38,000 day on average, their lowest mark since mid-September. They have plummeted 85% from a peak of more than a quarter-million cases per day in early January.

House GOP Ousts Liz Cheney From Top Post

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republicans have ousted Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as the chamber’s No. 3 GOP leader. They used a voice vote to punish her after she repeatedly rebuked former President Donald Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in inciting the Jan. 6th Capitol attack.  A closed-door meeting to depose her lasted less than 20 minutes. By removing the Wyoming congresswoman from her leadership perch, the GOP produced the latest evidence that challenging Trump can be career-threatening. Cheney was defiant and made clear inside the meeting, and afterward, that she would continue trying to steer the party away from the former president.

Dozens Killed In Mideast Conflict

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israel has killed a string of senior Hamas military figures and pounded three multi-story towers as it hammers the Gaza Strip with airstrikes. Meanwhile, militants in the territory fired barrages of rockets Wednesday. Dozens have died in the worst outbreak of violence since a 2014 war, with no resolution in sight. The fighting has taken on many hallmarks of that devastating 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas. But now it comes with a startling new factor: a burst of fury from Israel’s Palestinian citizens in support of those living in the territories as well as counter violence by Jewish Israelis. In response, Israel deployed border guards in two mixed Arab-Jewish cities that saw unrest in previous days.

Ellen DeGeneres Ending Her Talk Show

NEW YORK (AP) – Ellen DeGeneres is calling time on her long-running talk show. Reports say the daytime host, who has seen a ratings hit after allegations of running a toxic workplace, has decided that her upcoming season will be the last. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” started airing in 2003 and has a mix of dancing, games and giveaways along with A-list celebrities. But the host, who built her brand on the motto “Be Kind,” opened season 18 in September with a lengthy apology. Three of the show’s producers exited over the summer amid allegations of a dysfunctional workplace that harbored misbehavior, including sexual misconduct and racially insensitive remarks.

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 2021

NEW YORK (AP) – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will induct Jay-Z, Foo Fighters and the Go-Go’s, elected this year on the first ballot. They will join Tina Turner, Carole King and Todd Rundgren as performers ushered into the Rock Hall. The Cleveland-based museum will hold an induction ceremony Oct. 30 in Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, before what they hope is a full house paying tribute to the return of live music. The hall is also honoring LL Cool J, Billy Preston, Randy Rhoads, Kraftwerk, Gil Scott Heron and Charley Patton in special categories. The hall announced its 2021 class on Wednesday.