Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Everything You See Costs Money. Here’s How Pittsburgh Pays For It

Every day in Pittsburgh money comes in and money goes out, paying for police, firefighters and street lights. Anything that’s visible, and some things that aren’t, all have a place in the city’s budget. At its core, a budget is simply an itemized rundown of likely income and expenses, the contents of which a committee will begin to hash out in August, and by December, City Council will take a final vote.

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Occurence of Trihalomethanes in the Nation's Ground Water and Drinking Water Supply Wells, 1985-2002 / United States Geological Survey

Contaminants In Pittsburgh's Drinking Water Worry D.C. Environmental Group, But Not Local Experts

Politics & Government

Matt Rourke / AP

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a revenue package to patch a more than $2 billion hole in the state's $32 billion budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. It could face opposition in the House of Representatives before it reaches the desk of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who supported it. Here are details:

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NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION

Science, Health & Tech

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A ceremonial groundbreaking took place Thursday afternoon for a medical cannabis growing and processing facility coming to McKeesport.

The PurePenn facility will fill 20,000 square feet in its initial phase, on an industrial site that was home to steel processing plants from 1869 until the 1980s.

CEO Gabriel Perlow said it’s a symbolic convergence of the past and future.

“This is about changing people’s minds, changing ideologies and ushering in the future of health care in America,” he said.

Identity & Justice

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

On a humid Friday afternoon in the West End, students practice soccer and push each other on the swings. The kids are loud, except for the few listening to music on their phones under the shade of a tree.

Some speak Swahili, some Arabic, but they all understand how to play.

The 5th annual Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment program, or PRYSE Academy, is serving about 70 middle- and high-schoolers this year.

Duquesne School of Law / Facebook

A $7.5 million grant will help Duquesne Law School lead an effort to improve continuing education programs for Pennsylvania's judges, district judges, senior judges and justices.

Duquesne announced Tuesday the donation from alumnus Tom Kline that will create a center for judicial education named for the Philadelphia lawyer.

The state Supreme Court in December imposed a requirement that judges annually complete at least three hours of training in ethics and nine hours on other aspects of their job.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

One afternoon nearly three years ago, Masedi Thata Kewamodimo walked to the radio station near her university in Botswana and said she wanted to go public about being HIV positive. Now she is visiting Duquesne University through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Back home, she focuses on HIV advocacy and helping people cope with the daily challenges of the stigmatizing status by speaking on government-owned radio stations, which reach everyone in the country. 

Education

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Asia Parker wants to be a mathematics professor.

“Math is just amazing. You can do anything,” she said.

Parker, 17 from Carrick, waited in a Duquesne University laboratory near a kiln heating materials she was using in semi-conductor experiments. Semi-conductors are often used in computers and solar panels. The high school senior wants to make new compounds for Jennifer Aitken’s research, which is looking at shifting the wavelength of lasers.

Good Question!

Pittsburgh's First Female Council Member Was No Stranger To Breaking Barriers

For most of the history of Pittsburgh, elected officials have been white men. But in 1956, then-Mayor David L. Lawrence did something unheard of: he appointed a woman to City Council. That woman was Irma D’Ascenzo, an Italian-American Hazelwood resident who was working as secretary and chief examiner for the city's Civil Service Commission. Throughout World War II, and in the years following, she’d been volunteering and was active in her community. D’Ascenzo’s great-granddaughter, Jeanne...

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Development & Transportation

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Every day in Pittsburgh money comes in and money goes out, paying for police, firefighters and street lights. Anything that’s visible, and some things that aren’t, all have a place in the city’s budget. At its core, a budget is simply an itemized rundown of likely income and expenses, the contents of which a committee will begin to hash out in August, and by December, City Council will take a final vote.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The historic Hunt Armory in Shadyside has been through a lot. It housed weapons and a unit of the Army National Guard, hosted home shows and polo matches, survived a fire in 2010 and a failed redevelopment attempt in 2016.

Those plans, for an Olympic-size ice rink and cafe, were sunk by lack of funding. In May, the Urban Redevelopment Authority requested new proposals that preserve the building and provide community recreation space.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Row House Cinema

Organizers for Pittsburgh's International Children’s Film Festival say they want to expand the worldview of children through film and other programs.

The five-day event kicks off Friday morning at Row House Cinema with Drag Queen Storytime followed by a screening of the 1984 movie "Muppets Take Manhattan." The schedule includes other films and activities to promote acceptance and inclusion - all taking place at Row House Cinema and some take place during morning hours or mid-day.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

After 42 years selling used vinyl records, Jerry Weber will walk away from his namesake record store in Squirrel Hill for the last time this Sunday.

Turning Trash Into Art To Save Urban Wildlife

Jul 27, 2017
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Rebecca  Reid knew it was a long shot, but she emailed Portuguese street artist Bordalo II anyway. She’d seen his large murals depicting wildlife on Facebook.

Environment & Energy

On Health Effects, Blame The Trucks, Not The Fracking?

6 hours ago
Matthew Warner / Flickr

Mike McCawley has studied the health effects of welding fumes, coal dust, and the volcanic ash from Mt. St. Helens.

When he started to studying the potential health effects of fracking a few years ago, he began hearing stories from residents and medical professionals in fracking areas of children getting asthma and an increase in cardiovascular disease.

Economy & Business

Gene J. Puskar / AP, File

GE Transportation plans to end most locomotive production at its century-old plant in northwestern Pennsylvania, eliminating about 575 jobs.

GoErie.com reports the work is being transferred by the end of 2018 to Fort Worth, Texas, where workers aren't union members.

The Lawrence Park Township plant, just outside Erie, currently employs more than 2,5f00 workers. Locomotive prototypes will still be produced there.

Richard Simpson, a GE Transportation executive, says the company has to put work at its most competitive location, which doesn't include Erie.

Local Headlines

Retired Priest Accused Of Forcing Boy To Perform Oral Sex

Jul 25, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A now-retired Roman Catholic priest was charged Monday with forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him while counseling the fourth-grader about misbehaving on a school bus.

The state attorney general's office accused the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney of committing felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell during the 1991-92 school year.

Northside Food Pantry

It was the holiday season of 2012 when Central North Side resident Jana Thompson first asked her neighbor, Darlene Rushing, to join her in volunteering at the Northside Food Pantry.

Rushing agreed, and came in to help on the pantry’s last day of operation before closing for the holidays.
 

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro plans to announce criminal sexual abuse charges against a western Pennsylvania priest.

Shapiro's office says he'll be in Lower Burrell to announce the charges this afternoon.

It wasn't immediately clear if the priest serves at a parish in that area, and the priest has yet to be identified. Lower Burrell is about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg.

Food & Drink

Ron Larson / Ace Hotel

Amid Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom, a new conference this week aims to tackle tough issues within the food and service industry, including gentrification, sexism and cultural appropriation.

National & International

It has been 80 years since J.M. Barrie died. It has been even longer since Peter Pan's creator penned The Reconstruction of the Crime with humorist E.V. Lucas — and yet in all this time, editor Andrew Gulli says the brief play the pair pulled together never glimpsed the stage or even the printed page.

Stories from National Partners

A new way to go local: Buy solar energy from your neighbors

3 hours ago

The green trend these days is to go local — and if urbanites can source everything from veggies to craft beer in their neighborhoods, why not solar energy?

LO3 Energy, a New York-based startup, is working on one way to do so. Its project, Brooklyn Microgrid, aims to help electricity users buy energy from their energy-producing neighbors, using smart meters and an app.

90:90

90.5 WESA Celebrates 90 Neighborhoods: 90 Good Stories

Nominate a neighbor who's making a difference where you live for our newest "Celebrates" series

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Where the News Comes Together

Each Friday, reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

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