Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

Lead Task Force Makes Recommendations To Fight Childhood Lead Exposure

The Allegheny County Lead Task Force has released a series of recommendations with the goal of minimizing childhood lead exposure.

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Politics & Government

90.5 WESA

The ACLU of Pennsylvania is again confronting Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris for allegedly censoring a constituent on her new official Facebook page.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

When Bill Peduto is sworn in to his second term as mayor of Pittsburgh Jan. 3, Kevin Acklin will no longer be his chief of staff. 

Acklin, a corporate attorney, announced last week he’s returning to the private sector.

But Peduto is not only losing his chief of staff. Over the last four years, Acklin also served as the city’s chief economic development officer.

“It's hard to replace someone that's irreplaceable,” Peduto said. 

Expert Testifies Pennsylvania Congressional Map Shows 'Extreme Partisan Intent'

12 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP

A political scientist serving as an expert for voters challenging Pennsylvania's congressional districts testified Monday that "extreme partisan intent" by Republicans appears to have been the predominant factor in producing a map that has disproportionately favored GOP candidates.

University of Michigan professor Jowei Chen said during the first day of a Commonwealth Court hearing over the 2011 maps that none of the hundreds of computer simulations he has run has produced a map so favorable to Republicans.

Science, Health & Tech

Don Ryan / AP Photo

Some homes with solar panel installations also have solar batteries, which store energy for later use. A Pittsburgh start-up has developed artificial intelligence software that could make those batteries more efficient. 

Currently, solar batteries with decision-making abilities can only do so based on real-time information. For example, on a cloudy day when solar panels might not produce enough electricity to power a house, a charged battery would automatically kick in to make up the difference.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

The Allegheny County Lead Task Force has released a series of recommendations with the goal of minimizing childhood lead exposure. 

This Ancient Penguin Was As Big As Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby

9 hours ago
Gerald Mayr / Senckenberg Research Institute via AP

Fossils from New Zealand have revealed a giant penguin that was as big as a grown man, roughly the size of the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The creature was slightly shorter in length and about 20 pounds heavier than the official stats for hockey star Sidney Crosby. It measured nearly 5 feet, 10 inches long when swimming and weighed in at 223 pounds.

If the penguin and the Penguin faced off on the ice, however, things would look different. When standing, the ancient bird was maybe only 5-foot-3.

Identity & Justice

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

As a young black man, playwright Nathan James often felt like he had to mask his emotions. The Pittsburgh native returns to the August Wilson Center this week to perform his one man play “Growing Pains.” 90.5 WESA’s Virginia Alvino Young recently spoke with James about his show, which looks at how and where we grow up impacts who we become. 


Education

Jim Mone / AP

A contentious proposal to let students use state money to pay for private school is getting another chance to make it onto the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 2 would create education savings accounts—a similar concept to private school vouchers—that would let students in the lowest-performing public schools use the money the state would have spent on their education for alternative school options, as well as related expenses like textbooks.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Redd Up Your Pittsburghese: A Deep Dive Into How Yinz Talk

The famous, or perhaps infamous, Pittsburgh accent is as central to the Steel City’s identity as Terrible Towels and yellow bridges.

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Development & Transportation

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Swissvale council member Julie Grose drives to the top of Grand View Golf Course in North Braddock. From up there she can see all of Braddock, the Monongahela River, and on a clear afternoon, east to Oakland and downtown.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Allicia Leaper / Crush Photography via AP

A beloved Santa with "naughty" tattooed on one arm and "nice" tattooed on the other has been asked to tone down his typically goofy poses at a suburban Philadelphia mall, leaving some fans miffed.

Scott Diethorne is known for silly poses like hanging kids upside down and flashing his "naughty" or "nice" forearms.

Customers tell Philly.com that when they arrived at the Oxford Valley Mall in Bucks County for their annual photos recently, they learned Santa Scott could only take "traditional" Christmas pictures — no tattoos or upside-down poses.

Frank Victores / AP

 

In Monday night’s contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was taken off field during the first quarter with a back injury that reportedly caused him to momentarily lose feeling below the waist. The game was called “vicious” by many, but others, including Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, say that violence is normal for AFC North football.

Environment & Energy

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

As lawmakers hash out differences between the tax bills in front of Congress, they must decide whether to keep a proposed tax break for oil and gas investors -- and just how big the reduction should be.

Economy & Business

Katie Blackley / WESA

 

The city of Pittsburgh is preparing to defend two laws that would impact local workers – one requiring private employers to offer paid sick leave, and another creating new training requirements for security officers in many city buildings.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently decide to hear cases challenging the laws early next year. 

So far, the city has lost in lower courts because, the courts found, it does not have the authority to impose these regulations on businesses.

 

Local Headlines

Centre County Correctional Facility / AP

A son of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, serving decades for child molestation, was himself sentenced to prison Friday on child sexual abuse charges.

Judge Ponders Reinstated Charges In Penn State Frat Death Case

Dec 8, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A prosecutor Thursday used a press release to sharply criticize a judge hearing the case against former Penn State fraternity members charged in a pledge's drinking death. Defense attorneys accused her of violating rules of professional conduct.

"While this case may be unusual and novel in complexity and number of defendants, the court has an obligation to handle it properly and be fair to both sides," Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller wrote in a statement. "To date, it has failed miserably."

Keith Srakocic / AP

University of Pittsburgh police have issued a warning about a stalking suspect.

In a campus alert, police say they have received several complaints about Daniel Dintino approaching females on or near the campus and making them feel uncomfortable.

Dintino was released on bail after he was arrested on Monday on an outstanding theft warrant.

Police fear he may have returned to campus after he was warned not to.

Food & Drink

Oh Boi-lo! Holiday Beverage Source Of Cheer And Warmth

Dec 11, 2017
Mike Steinhoff / Flickr

'Tis the season for a hot beverage that warms from the inside out.

For many residents of the coal region, that means it's time to heat up a batch of boilo.

The sweet citrus drink has remained a popular beverage for cold winter days, even as other traditions from coal region's eastern European immigrants have faded.

National & International

Updated at 11:04 p.m. ET

Democrat Doug Jones has won the Alabama Senate special election, according to The Associated Press. The victory is a stunning upset in a deeply red state that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump, who backed Republican Roy Moore explicitly in the final days of the campaign despite multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and assault.

Stories from National Partners

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/35290925806">Lance Cheung/USDA</a>

On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote to end “net neutrality” — rules that keep internet service providers (ISPs) from creating paid fast lanes for some content, while blocking or slowing downloading speeds for other content.

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