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Tuition tax deal made

AP—Pittsburgh officials tell The Associated Press that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has reached a deal with university leaders that averts the need to impose a first-of-its-kind tax on college tuition.

Three city officials say a deal has been reached. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced. Ravenstahl and university leaders will announce the details Monday.

City Council was to vote Monday on the 1 percent tax. Ravenstahl wanted the tax to generate about $16 million a year.

Nonprofits are exempt from most taxes, and Ravenstahl is searching for ways to get them to help the city’s budget.

Budget for fund

Last Monday, Pittsburgh City Council approved a 33 percent budget allocation increase for the Pittsburgh Hunger Fund, which supplies food and operational support for food pantries and programs. This comes at a time where food costs are rising, homes are in foreclosure and unemployment is rising.

The allocation was sponsored by Councilman Ricky Burgess and increased the 2010 budget from $326,150 to $439,800.

UPMC receives

diversity award

In recognition of their efforts to promote diversity in the workplace through their Center for Inclusion in Health Care Initiative and their recognition of October as Dignity and Respect month in the city, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center received the 2009 Global Diversity Innovation Award by the World Diversity Leadership Council at the 2009 World Diversity Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

“We are honored to receive this award, which is confirmation of UPMC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the community,” Candi Castleberry-Singleton, UPMC’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, said in a release. “To succeed in having a diverse workforce, it is important to ensure that inclusion is at the core of everything an organization does and everything employees do.”

This year in October, the center’s initiative, which started in November 2008, resulted in 5,000 pledges from numerous organizations promising to promote and support diversity and respect within their companies. There will be a day of service Jan. 13 where UPMC employee volunteers will work with Smart Futures, a local nonprofit organization that develops web-based career education programs. They will be recruiting for one of their online mentoring programs.

Dog licensing service

Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein has introduced a new dog licensing service that will give owners the option of immediately purchasing their license via the Internet. Through a partnership with Educational Billing System, a local computer billing firm, residents will be able to visit http://www.alleghenycounty.us/treasure, click on the dog license icon, and purchase individual or multiple licenses, correct of change owner information and get an immediate validated receipt.

There will be a $1 processing fee per transaction. Those who do not want to use the internet, can still get their license through the mail or in person at the treasure’s office at the Allegheny County Courthouse from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information on licenses or the website, call 412-350-4120.

Financial Aid Nights

In an effort to inform high school seniors and their families about higher education and the ways to pay for it, the Pittsburgh Public School District will hold several Financial Aid Nights at various local high schools in the district. Attendees will get information on The Pittsburgh Promise, a scholarship given to Pittsburgh Public School graduates for their higher education tuition; completing financial aid applications; grants; work-study and more.

The nights will be held from Jan. 12-Feb. 17 and include representatives from Pittsburgh Public Schools, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, the Negro Educational Emergency Drive and several colleges. For more information on the Financial Aid Night locations, call Ebony Pugh at 412-622-3616.

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