Metro Beat

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Beware of scams

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is warning residents to beware of scams, especially ones targeted toward senior citizens.The bureau says that it has been receiving reports of several types of scams, such as individuals calling and pretending to be a family member incarcerated in another country and needing money for bail; individuals going door-to-door pretending to be repair persons, carpet cleaners and insurance agents and robbing homeowners while they are distracted. Also they said they have received reports of individuals tapping into emails and sending letters requesting money to individuals on the person’s contact list. The scammers tend to try to include some information to reinforce the relationship. The bureau suggests that residents be cautious when speaking to or verifying personal information, check identification and if a person calls, ask the caller to provide a call back number and tell them you will return the call. That usually deters the scammer and they hang up the phone abruptly. Residents should contact their local police bureau if they feel something is illegal.

Pothole reports

When snow is not falling, Pittsburgh Public Works Crew will work on filling the numerous amounts of potholes around the City. Two sets of crews will be working day and night to fix them. A morning crew will work on pothole complaints submitted through the City’s 3-1-1 response line and at http://www.pittsburghpothole.com, and an overnight crew will work on potholes on primary road. “We know it’s tough for the drivers who are battling Pittsburgh’s potholes,” Rob Kaczorowski, Director of the Department of Public Works, said in a press release. “We’re going to do everything we can to combat this now by responding swiftly to every report, while we continue to prepare for winter weather.” When residents submit complaints they are being asked to provide a specific address, the direction of traffic, the size and scope of the hole and any landmarks around the hole. Although the pothole may be fixed, it may only be temporary. With the cold weather crews can only use a cold-patch material that fills holes two inches or deeper, until the weather gets warmer when they can use a more durable hot-patch material. To report the holes, Pittsburgh residents can call 311 and non-residents can call 412-255-CITY. While the City does not maintain state or interstate roads unless it’s an emergency, individuals can call PennDOT at 1-800-FIX-ROAD to make a report.

Youth employment program proposals

The Department of Human Services is now accepting contractor proposals for the Allegheny County Summer Youth Program which creates jobs for disadvantaged youths 14-24 and who live outside of the city of Pittsburgh.

“Last year, with the help of a $1.87 million grant through the federal Workforce Investment Act, we hired 600 young people to work on conservation projects in the County parks,” said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato in a press release. “The program provided the participants with good-paying summer jobs, while also teaching them valuable skills to help prepare them to enter the workforce. It was a positive experience for both the youth and the County. We are seeking proposals for this summer in anticipation of continued funding for 2010.”

Proposals are due by March 15 and information on the proposals can be found at the DHS website, which is http://www.alleghenycounty.us/DHSProvider.

New BlackBerry app. for physicians

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center announced the development of the first Electronic Health Record application for BlackBerry Smartphones. The application will make critical patient information available to physicians while at the patients beside. It will organize and manage patient’s allergies, medications, lab test results and physician’s notes. “We are looking for more effective ways to make patient information available at the point of care—and, increasingly, the point of care isn’t just in a hospital or doctor’s office,” William Fera, M.D., vice president, medical technologies, and medical director, interoperability, at UPMC said in a release. “We need to get the right information to the right clinicians at the right time, whether they are at home ‘on call’ or in a variety of mobile health care situations.”

The application was created by dbMotion, UPMC’s technology partner, and will be launched across their network, which consists of 20 hospitals.

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