Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday announced that he was rejecting a controversial Republican-led redrawing of Pennsylvania's congressional map, calling the GOP's proposal "just as gerrymandered" as a 2011 map recently deemed illegal by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Wolf and the Legislature have until Thursday to agree on a new map, according to the Allentown Morning Call, which said if they fail, the Supreme Court’s majority-Democratic justices will do it. Pennsylvania Democrats have expressed an interest in taking a stab at it with Wolf and presenting a consensus Democratic plan of congressional districts to the high court, which is poised to impose the new boundaries. And there is no shortage of urgency on either side of the aisle, with the new map boundaries holding potentially huge implications for the upcoming 2018 midterms.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday unveiled plans for a new $200 million immunotherapy center that "could open the door to new innovation in this field," Geekwire reported. The UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC), as it's being called, will use immunotherapies to tackle health challenges in cancer care and transplants with big implications for cancer and aging treatments. The facility will be located at 5000 Baum Boulevard, near the UPMC Shadyside hospital, in a century-old, 200,000-square-foot building constructed by Ford Motor Co. The building at one time served the dual purpose of assembly plant and showroom for the automobile manufacturer. As for the new Immune Transplant and Therapy Center there, it's expected to open in 2020.
A day after Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers voted to authorize their union to strike in the midst of prolonged contract talks with the district, district officials on Tuesday said they're still hopeful a strike can be averted and a deal reached, the Post-Gazette reports. “I don’t want to give out odds, but I can tell you this: In my opinion, I don’t think there’s going to be a strike,” Superintendent Anthony Hamlet told the paper. “I think we’re too close. That’s just me being optimistic … we’re too close not to come to an agreement.” If a strike is called, it would be the first public school teachers strike here in more than 40 years. The district said it recognizes the disruption a strike would represent for thousands of students and families. “We fully recognize the hardship that a strike poses to our families and to the city that we call home," district officials said in a statement. "That is why the District continues to work so hard to reach a resolution that will be acceptable to all parties." A meeting between the union and district representatives from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Public Education is scheduled for later this week.
With a nod to the art of a handwritten love letter, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is turning its postcard station into a love letter writing station. Anybody (not just hotel guests) can pen a note and drop it in the designated mailbox for the hotel to stamp and send. Look for nice stationery, fountain pens and books of love poems for inspiration.
Where: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh at 620 William Penn Place (Downtown)
When: February 7, 2018 at 12:00 a.m. to February 17, 2018 at 12:00 a.m.
How much: Free
The Incline Likes
Our Who's Next series has honored nearly 250 young Pittsburghers making a difference in the region and of that list, there are at least three couples among the honorees. So for this Who's Next: Valentine's Day edition, we caught up with the couples to learn their love stories, the Pittsburgh connections and how they help each other succeed.
All this got us thinking back on some of our favorite Pittsburgh love stories from the past year. Like when a couple got married on the Phantom's Revenge at Kennywood. Or when these Pittsburghers tried to plan a destination wedding but, with Hurricane Irma churning, moved up the big day for a more casual affair where everybody wore black-and-gold T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Yinz Are Gettin’ Married N’at.” And if you're looking for some more Valentine's Day inspiration, share one of our yinzer love letters with a friend.
Happy Valentine's Day, Pittsburgh!
Ah, winter, that time of year when Pittsburghers enjoy a light dusting of snow, curling up with a good book and driving while clenching their internal organs against an explosive onslaught of massive potholes. Yes, this year's potholes are terrible and expected to be much worse than in year's past due to a relentless freeze-thaw cycle. But all is not lost: The city says it's working overtime to tackle repair orders and, as always, Pittsburgh has a good sense of humor about it. So here's to winter in Pittsburgh and all that comes with it. And here's to convincing your friends it would be more fun to walk.