TIME

Residents Asking Why City Smells Like Cat Urine

Air samples to determine what's causing the smell will take weeks to complete

(NEW CASTLE, Pa.) — Residents are hoping tests on air samples can explain why their western Pennsylvania city smells like cat urine.

New Castle residents began noticing the smell Nov. 1 in the city about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The New Castle News says the smell is still lingering near a sewage treatment plant in the city’s Mahoningtown neighborhood.

State environmental officials don’t believe the odor is harmful, but they don’t yet know what’s causing it.

A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says on-site monitoring didn’t detect any hazardous substances in the air.

But tests on air samples to determine what’s causing the smell will take weeks to complete. The DEP is also testing wastewater to determine whether it’s causing the smell.

TIME weather

Road Salt Prices Skyrocket After Last Winter’s Snowstorms

Road Salt Woes
Salt is unloaded at the Scio Township, Mich. maintenance yard on Sept. 16, 2014. Some Midwest county road officials are facing price increases that are three times what they paid last year. Carlos Osorio—AP

Prices have risen by up to three times since earlier this year

Last winter’s severe snowstorms triggered road salt shortages around the U.S., pinching supplies and forcing some transportation departments to stock up early. The result: road salt costs have doubled, and even tripled in some parts of the country, thanks to increased demand by states hoping to keep the roads clear.

From Minnesota to New York, states have had to pay premium prices for road salt this year. In Michigan, prices up are up 50%. In Indiana, they’re up almost 60%. In Missouri, some local transportation departments are reporting prices that have doubled. St. Louis, for example, is paying $112 a ton, up from $49 last year.

“Several severe winters are forcing prices upward,” says Todd Matheson, a spokesman for the department of transportation in Wisconsin, where more than four feet of snow fell in some places last week.

Wisconsin normally goes through about 500,000 tons of salt a year. But because of the potential for a repeat of last winter’s severe weather, this year the state has 564,000 tons on hand with 141,000 tons as an option to purchase. Costs are up statewide 14% compared with this time last year, averaging $69 a ton, Matheson says.

Ohio, which got unexpectedly hit with by storms over the weekend, triggering snow emergencies across the central part of the state, paid $105 a ton for a portion of the 600,000 tons of salt it currently has on hand. On average, the state paid $57 a ton compared with $38 last year.

Even with the rising prices, most states are not reporting road salt shortages. The New Jersey Department of Transportation is currently at 100% capacity (164,000 tons) and is in the process of adding 20,000 tons of storage space set to be available this winter. It can also store 716,000 gallons of liquid calcium and 150,000 gallons of brine, which is often applied to roads before a storm hits to help keep snow and ice from sticking.

One state that is running below average is Pennsylvania. The state has in store 90% of the average amount it uses during a winter, says Richard Kirkpatrick, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesperson. The average is 841,000 tons, and last year the state went through 1.2 million tons. But this year it only has 694,000 tons on hand with another 65,000 on order. And the long-range forecast? Above normal snowfall for much of the state.

TIME Baseball

Mo’ne Davis Helps Draw a Record Little League Viewership

Nearly 5 million viewers in all tuned in

Little League World Series’ sensation, 13-year-old Mo’ne Davis, may have got pulled during her game on Wednesday night, but the event did garner the largest viewership of a Little League game in ESPN’s history, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Despite the 8-1 loss by Davis’ Philadelphia team Taney Dragons to Las Vegas’ Mountain Ridge, the coverage drew a 3.1 rating, which, according to ESPN, was up 155% from last year’s viewership. In Philadelphia, 14.9% of homes tuned in on Wednesday, while 16.3% watched from their homes in Las Vegas. Nearly 5 million viewers in all tuned in for Wednesday night’s game.

Davis was catapulted to fame this summer as the first female in the history of the Little League World Series to pitch a shutout game. She landed a Sports Illustrated cover and a ton of fans.

However, her unfettered success took a turn when she was pulled in the third inning after allowing Las Vegas three runs on Wednesday. She was then unable to pitch against Chicago during Thursday night’s game (because of restrictions designed to prevent arm strain). And because Philadelphia lost 5-6, the possibility of her taking to the mound during a Saturday night rematch with Las Vegas was quashed.

Davis’ manager Alex Rice nonetheless has big hopes for the 13-year-old’s future. “The world’s her oyster, right?” Rice told the Associated Press after the Chicago loss on Thursday. “Mo’ne will figure out her future, and it’s going to be terrific.”

TIME nature

Woman Hospitalized After Massive Sinkhole Swallows Car Whole

A man looks at a car as it falls into a sinkhole on McKnight Road in Ross Township of Pittsburgh on Aug. 12, 2014.
A man looks at a car as it falls into a sinkhole on McKnight Road in Ross Township of Pittsburgh on Aug. 12, 2014. Roxanne Oglesby—Reuters

"I felt a thunk"

A Pittsburgh woman escaped her car in the nick of time, eyewitnesses said, after a massive parking lot sinkhole opened up beneath the car and it sunk into a water-filled pit. Photos showed the back of the sedan sunken nearly up to its front wheels in a hole roughly three times the car’s width.

The woman reportedly escaped through the passenger window and was listed in good condition.

“I felt a thunk,” the car’s owner, Natalie Huddleston, told KDKA news, “and all of a sudden I was tilted and I felt movement, I was swaying, I kept drifting back and realized I was stuck in this hole.”

[KDKA]

TIME Crime

Shooter Kills 1 at Pennsylvania Hospital

Hospital Shooting
Investigators work the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. AP

The suspect is in custody and injured.

A shooter opened fire in the psychiatric unit of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania on Thursday, killing one female employee and injuring a doctor, authorities said.

The suspected shooter was also shot and is in critical condition, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said in a press conference Thursday afternoon. Whelan said the suspects’ injuries were not believed to be self-inflicted, but it’s still unclear who shot him.

Whelan added that the shooter had “psychiatric issues,” though police are still investigating the motive for the attack.

Mercy-Fitzgerald Hospital, a teaching hospital, is part of a regional Catholic healthcare network, Mercy Health System. It’s located several miles south of downtown Philadelphia.

TIME Bizarre

Body Falls Out of a Coroner’s Car in the Middle of Traffic

“I thought someone was playing a prank," a local resident of Feasterville, Pa. said

Among the hazards to watch out for while driving in Pennsylvania: random dead bodies.

A corpse fell out of the back door of a coroner’s van and into the middle of traffic Friday following a car malfunction, according to the Bucks County Coroner’s Office. The unidentified driver was near a shopping center in Feasterville, Pa. on the way to the coroner’s office when the incident occurred around noon, the Bucks County Courier Times reports.

Local resident Jerry Bradley assisted the driver after he saw the body, which was covered in a body bag on a gurney, while waiting at a traffic light.

“I thought someone was playing a prank. Someone is pranking people,” Bradley told the paper Saturday night. “It was the most bizarre thing I’d ever seen.”

Bradley took a picture of the body in the middle of traffic before helping the driver quickly get it out of the street and back in the vehicle. The picture has been shared more than 1,900 times on Facebook.

“I have to keep going back to look at it to believe it happened,” Bradley said. “I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. If that was my loved one I’d be angry.”

County spokesman Chris Edwards directed questions to Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell but said “care was taken to respect the deceased individual” in a statement.

“The Bucks County Coroner’s Office deeply regrets this incident and will take steps to ensure that it is not repeated in the future,” he said.

[Courier Times]

MONEY Ask the Expert

How Do I Find the Best Place to Retire?

140605_AskExpert_illo
Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: I live in New Jersey. Which state would be financially better to retire to: Pennsylvania or North Carolina? – Kevin, Bridgewater, NJ

A: Your cost of living in retirement can make or break your quality of life, so it’s smart to take financial factors into account as you decide where to live. Moving from New Jersey where taxes are steep and home prices are high to a more affordable area will allow your savings to stretch further. Housing and property taxes are the biggest expenses for older Americans, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

By those measures, North Carolina and Pennsylvania both stack up fairly well. Neither state taxes Social Security benefits or has an estate tax, though Pennsylvania has an inheritance tax and North Carolina will begin taxing pension income for the 2014 tax year. When it comes to cost of living, Pennsylvania has a slight edge. The median price of homes in Pennsylvania is $179,000 vs. $199,000 for North Carolina, according to Zillow. Income tax is a flat 3.07% in Pennsylvania while North Carolina has a 5.8% income tax rate. You can find more details on taxes in each state at the Tax Foundation and CCH. But both states have cities—Raleigh and Pittsburgh—that landed at the top of MONEY’s most recent Best Places to Retire list.

Of course, you need to look beyond taxes and home prices when choosing a place to live in retirement, says Miami financial planner Ellen Siegel. Does your dream locale have high quality, accessible healthcare or will you have to travel far to find good doctors? Will you be near a transportation hub or will you live in a rural area that’s expensive to fly out of when you want to visit family and friends?

There are lifestyle considerations, too. If you like to spend time outside, will the climate allow you enjoy those outdoor activities most of the year? If you favor rich cultural offerings and good restaurants nearby, what will you find? Small towns tend to be less expensive but may not offer a vibrant arts scene or many dining options.

To determine whether a place is really a good fit for your retirement, you need to spend more than a few vacation days there. So practice retirement by visiting at different times of the year for longer periods. Stay in a neighborhood area where you want to live and get to know area residents. “Having a strong social network is important as you get older and if you move to a new area, you want to make sure you can make meaningful connections and find fulfilling activities,” says Siegel. By test driving your retirement locations before you move, you”ll have a better shot at getting it right.

Have a question about your finances? Send it to asktheexpert@moneymail.com.

TIME nation

School Aide Tricked 4th Graders into Eating Pet Treats

Getty Images

No injuries have been reported

An aide at a Pennsylvania school has been put on leave for giving fourth graders pet treats and saying they were cookies, the Associated Press reports via WFMZ.

They were given to approximately 75 fourth graders at New Hanover-Upper Frederick Elementary School last week during recess. Gabriel Moore, a student who ate three of them, told WFMZ that the aide told them they were dog treats at first, but then said they were cookies and totally acceptable to eat.

In an advisory to parents, the superintendent did not say what kind of treat the students were given, but said they would not be dangerous to eat.

TIME Turkey

Turkish PM Wants To Extradite Muslim Cleric From The U.S.

TURKEY-POLITICS-CORRUPTION-DEMONSTRATION
A Turkish protester (L) holds up a banner with pictures of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) and the United States-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (R) during a demonstration against goverment on December 30, 2013 in Istanbul. Ozan Kose—AFP/Getty Images

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen is attempting to topple his government from within the United States

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants the United States to deport an influential, Turkish cleric for allegedly attempting to topple his government.

Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, 74, was once Erdogan’s ally, but went into self-imposed exile in 1997 after rising accusations from the secular government of creating dissent in the state.

Ergodan accused Gulen of trying to build a “parallel state” in Turkey from America. Ergodan has been battling a bribery and corruption scandal in Turkey since December, for which he has blamed the cleric and his Hizmet, or “Service” movement. Gulen has denied claims he wire-tapped Turkish officials and engineered the graft probe that has ensnared the Prime Minister’s government.

“These elements which threaten the national security of Turkey cannot be allowed to exist in other countries because what they do to us here, they might do against their host,” Erdogan told PBS talk show host Charlie Rose in a Monday night broadcast. He told Turkish reporters that the extradition process will begin soon.

[Bloomberg]

TIME Crime

Pennsylvania School Stabbing Suspect Had ‘More People To Kill’

Alex Hribal
Alex Hribal escorted by police to a district magistrate to be arraigned, April 9, 2014, in Export, Pa. Keith Srakocic—AP

The 16-year-old suspected of stabbing 21 people at a Pennsylvania school allegedly made chilling remarks when confronted during the attack, according to a criminal complaint released Friday

After he was tackled, the teenager suspected of stabbing 21 people at his Pittsburgh-area high school refused to drop his knives and said “My work is not done, I have more people to kill,” according to a criminal complaint released Friday, CNN reports.

Alex Hribal, the alleged attacker, was tackled by a vice principal and taken into custody after stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard at Franklin Regional Senior High on April 9. All of the victims survived, though several were hospitalized.

The Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck told CNN Friday that Hribal is now being charged with 21 counts of attempted homicide as well as other charges, including bringing weapons—two 8-inch kitchen knives–onto school property. He was previously charged with four attempted homicides and 21 aggravated assaults counts. He was charged as an adult in both cases, according to CNN.

The criminal complaint released Friday revealed that investigators found a note in the suspect’s locker that appeared to signal his intentions, CNN reports.

“I can’t wait to see the priceless and helpless looks on the faces of the students of one of the ‘best schools in Pennsylvania’ realize their previous lives are going to be taken by the only one among them that isn’t a plebeian,” the note reads.

[CNN]

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