50° F

Top stories of 2012: Specter's passing; UGI pipe replacement

Published On: Dec 25 2012 07:00:00 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 26 2012 05:37:16 PM EST

The passing of former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and UGI's pledge to replace its old gas pipes faster tied for 2012's 8th biggest story in the Lehigh Valley.

stories of 2012 as selected by our viewers. and we have a (tie( for number 8. the passing of former senator arlen specter.. and ugi's pledge to replace its old gas pipes (faster(.... both claim the spot. wfmz's amy unger has the recap. >> reporter: the man dubbed "snarlin' arlen" never backed down from a political fight on the senate floor.>> adrienne baker-green i think he liked the idea that people saw him as tough. he was tough.>> reporter: pennsylvania's longest serving senator switched parties (twice( over the course of his career... and managed to ruffle a lot of feathers on both sides of the aisle along the way. but arlen specter's toughest battle in his later years was a personal one.>> specter: lot of people writing to me saying since i shaved my head like bruce willis i'm now a sex symbol.>> reporter: he overcame bouts with cancer and a brain tumor... and vowed to come out on top again after he was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma earlier this year. but this was one fight specter would not win. he passed away on october 14th at the age of 82. and fittingly... the song that played during his funeral service... was frank sinatra's "my way." >> raymond jackson, allentown "it's just sad that somebody has to die in order for them to go around and change the pipes.">> reporter: the gas explosion that killed 5 people and leveled a city block in allentown last year is proving to be a catalyst for change beneath the streets. >> standup: as part of a settlement over the blast.... reading- based ugi agreed to replace 400 miles of aging gas lines within 14 years. at one time. ugi estimated it would take (50 years( to replace the lines.>> joseph swope, ugi spokesman "we think this is a good settlement for communities and our customers.">>> reporter: but some critics say... 14 years still isn't fast enough. and then there's the (cost.( ugi puts the pricetag at more than a (billion( dollars. but... as part of the settlement agreement... u-g-i will not be allowed to pass along the replacement cost to customers for the next two years. amy unger, 69 news. >>> rob vaughn: all hands on deck in the nation's capitol. holiday