The week that was: Aug. 10-15

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Legal Lyft

Catching a ride in a pink mustachioed sedan is less likely to get your driver in a jam thanks to a temporary easement by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The PUC issued a certificate of public convenience to San Francisco-based ride-sharing company Lyft Inc. that allows the company “to transport as a common carrier, by motor vehicle, persons in experimental service between points in Allegheny County.” Lyft’s legal status had been up in the air for the better part of the year and the company received regular $1,000 fines and cease-and-desist orders. The temporary order allows Lyft drivers to operate legally for 60 days as long as they show PUC-approved insurance policies, notify insurers they are driving for a ride-sharing company and do not drive cars older than eight years with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. Drivers must also undergo criminal background checks, have a valid license and be 21 or older.

Tower power

Hoping to add another showpiece to the city’s skyline, Oxford Development Co. announced details Thursday of a 20-story office tower. Construction for the $192 million glass and aluminum tower on Smithfield Street between Fifth and Forbes Avenues kicks off in the second quarter of 2015 and is projected to be complete by 2018. It will feature 13,200 square feet of street-level retail space, an outdoor area on its ninth floor and a sky deck on the roof. Its green amenities will include LED lighting, waste recycling and a raised floor system that heats and cools spaces from below, allowing vents to be arranged for maximum efficiency for individual employees.

Nofunemployment

A summer shortened by a polar vortex also iced the nation’s youth out of the job market. In July, unemployment for individuals ages 16 to 24 years old was 14.3 percent, more than twice the national rate of 6.2 percent. The figures are in line with a drop that started in 2010, when the percentage of young people working or looking for work reached its lowest rate since 1948, when the government began tracking the statistic. In July, 20.1 million young people across the nation were employed.

Quote of the Week

“On June 24 [2011] I retired because of hard breathing. By the last of September [2011] I was on oxygen 24/7. It happened that fast.”

— David Wilson, a retired Greensboro coal miner, discussed his experience with black lung disease during a Wednesday event at the Allegheny County Courthouse.  

Deborah M. Todd: dtodd@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1652. Twitter: @deborahtodd.


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