Robert Strovers / Flickr

ALCOSAN Drilling In Preparation For Possible Underground Sewage Overflow Tunnel

For the next two months, the Allegheny County Sanitation Authority will send drilling rigs to 13 locations around the county to take samples as deep as 300 feet.

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Politics & Government

Communities With Casinos In Pennsylvania Concerned About Possible Funding Changes

Mar 27, 2017
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

When playing the slots in Pennsylvania, casinos and gamblers aren't the only ones making money.

The state collects 54 cents for every dollar a player loses in a slot machine.

The state uses most of that money, about 34 cents, for reducing property taxes. The state's horse racing industry gets 11 cents and 5 cents goes to a state economic development trust fund. The remaining 4 cents is split among the communities that host the casino.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

At the age of 13, Alex Hoffman was already using alcohol and marijuana. By 14, he was on juvenile probation.

“I wouldn’t stop smoking weed, I wouldn’t stop drinking, so I kept failing drug tests and that lead to my first time going involuntarily into juvenile rehab,” Hoffman said.

It was not his last involuntary commitment. He bounced in and out of programs and jail for years before getting clean three years ago, at the age of 21. He remembered being dropped off at a juvenile facility by his parents on his 16th birthday.

Science, Health, & Tech

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Figuring out where to find something in a large warehouse or navigating a sprawling campus, like a hospital, isn’t always easy.

“You know, how do you get from the main door (of a hospital) to a certain department? You’re asking 20 people along the way and then you get frustrated,” said ARIN Technologies CEO Vivek Kulkarni. “But if there were a way to navigate, like you use Google Maps, that would make life so much easier.”

PicoCTF / CMU

What’s being billed as the largest hacking contest ever is launching Friday.

PicoCTF from Carnegie Mellon University aims to educate middle and high school students on the importance of computer security and tackle a common misconception – that hacking is bad.

“What hacking is about is understanding computers deeply and understanding how they function and how they may have bugs in them, how something may go wrong and being able to anticipate that,” said David Brumley, director of CyLab, CMU’s security and privacy institute.

Identity & Justice

Fact Check: ICE Report Inconsistent With Local Jurisdictions In PA

Mar 27, 2017
Charles Reed/U.S. Immigratino and Customs Enforcement / AP

After President Donald Trump’s executive order, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were tasked with publishing reports on a regular basis showing how local law enforcement agencies respond to detainer requests, and what happens thereafter.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh police have charged 11 people after protesters threw rocks, broke windows and set off "large-scale" fireworks during a protest outside the Allegheny County Jail.

Police named the defendants Tuesday afternoon, but The Associated Press was not identifying them because it wasn't immediately clear what charges and actions were being attributed to which defendants.

Police say about 25 people from the Allegheny County Health Justice Project gathered about 8 p.m. Monday.

Education

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

On Saturdays, local teens take over the state-of-the-art recording studios on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus to lay down tracks about their lives and the people in them.

The program, Arts Greenhouse, started as a community project at the Center for the Arts in Society.

Essential Pittsburgh

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Behind The Scenes At Smallman Galley, Pittsburgh's Restaurant Incubator

First in an occasional series exploring Essential Pittsburgh. Jacqueline Wardle was working as the executive chef at Isabela on Grandview, a Mt. Washington restaurant, when she received a beguiling email: Instead of working for someone else, did she want to own her own restaurant?

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Development & Transportation

Robert Strovers / Flickr

For the next two months, the Allegheny County Sanitation Authority will send drilling rigs to 13 locations around the county to take samples as deep as 300 feet. 

Environment & Energy

Is A Petrochemical Boom Heading For Pennsylvania?

Mar 23, 2017
GoogleEarth

Shell is expected to begin constructing its $6-billion petrochemical plant in Beaver County later this year. But a new, state-commissioned report says that may be only the beginning for Pennsylvania’s petrochemical industry.

Local Headlines

Bruce Smith / AP

Authorities in western Pennsylvania say a construction crew found a cache of buried cannonballs at the site of an old civil war arsenal in Pittsburgh.

Public safety officials say the crew found about 20 cannonballs Monday at the site in the Lawrenceville neighborhood.

The police bomb squad responded to the scene but decided to allow the construction company's subcontractor to remove the cannonballs.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh nonprofit wants to replace the controversial black and yellow Sprint sign on Mt. Washington with a Hollywood-style letter sign.

Scenic Pittsburgh sent a letter to Louisiana-based Lamar Advertising, which owns the 7,200-square-foot billboard, asking them to donate or sell the property to the organization. Lamar is in a legal battle with the city of Pittsburgh, which claims the company is violating zoning regulations.

National & International

Updated 10:30 p.m. ET

About three years from now, the U.S. government is going to start asking some personal questions. The possible topics of those questions were released on Tuesday as part of the run-up to the 2020 Census, the national head count of every resident in the U.S. required by the Constitution every 10 years.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

If you have ever wondered how the Carnegie Museum of Art keeps it’s collection looking so good, the answer is Michael Belman.

Belman is the Objects Conservator for the museum. He evaluates proposed new purchases and checks items coming and going from the collection on loan.

But the biggest part of what he does is repair, restore and preserves three-dimensional fine art. Just keeping objects in the gallery dusted is an important first step. He talked to 90.5 WESA's Mark Nootbaar about his process. 

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Economy & Business

Chris / Flickr

A 124-year-old Pennsylvania fireworks business is set to plead guilty to failing to report more than 63,000 fireworks that were apparently stolen.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has already fined Zambelli International Fireworks $200,000 and ordered the company to close for two weeks.

Those penalties were announced in January. On Monday, company representatives are scheduled to plead guilty to a single count of failure to report the loss of explosive material. The New Castle company could be put on probation.

Food & Drink

For the last 20 years, Americans have been having a conversation about sustainable seafood that was largely focused on fish purchased at restaurants or fresh seafood counters. Armed with seafood guides, thoughtful customers were encouraged to pose questions about where their fish was caught and what type of gear was used — questions that are far trickier to pose in front of a wall of canned tuna in the middle of a supermarket.

Stories from National Partners

Brexit starts tomorrow — United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May will officially begin the two year process of pulling her country out of the European Union. Her two key goals: to keep the closest possible trading links with the EU and to end the automatic right of EU citizens to settle in Britain. But even before Brexit talks begin, the flow of EU nationals into the U.K. has been slowing down fast. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

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