Jacqueline Larma / AP

Governor Calls Threats And Vandalism Against Jewish Community 'Acts of Terrorism'

Jewish centers in York and Harrisburg were among those affected by a wave of bomb threats in at least 11 states Monday . This came the day after more than 100 headstones were knocked over at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

Read More

Politics & Government

Pennsylvania's 2018 U.S. Senate Race Gets Going With GOP Entry

4 hours ago
Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania's 2018 race for U.S. Senate is getting underway.

Rick Saccone, a fiery Republican state lawmaker from suburban Pittsburgh, formally declared his candidacy Monday to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. Saccone held the event in the Pennsylvania Capitol, where he was joined by conservative supporters.

The 59-year-old Saccone is one of the state Legislature's staunchest conservatives and is a strong backer of President Donald Trump.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's top prosecutor estimates that legal bills stemming from his convicted predecessor's actions cost about $3.6 million.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro told a state Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday that his staff had tallied the costs related to former Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Kane resigned last year after being convicted of leaking secret grand jury information and lying about it. She's been sentenced to 10 to 23 months, but is free on bail while she appeals.

Science, Health, & Tech

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

On Feb. 17, 2016, Kelsey Williams got some devastating news.

“I went in for my routine anatomy 20-week ultrasound with my second child – my husband and I have a 4-and-a-half year old – and nothing had been indicated as anything but typical up to that point in the pregnancy," she said.

Identity & Justice

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Jewish centers in York and Harrisburg were among those affected by a wave of bomb threats in at least 11 states Monday. This came the day after more than 100 headstones were knocked over at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety / AP

Four men have now been arrested in the robbery and fatal beating of a Somali immigrant cab driver.

Christen Glenn, 18, of Greensburg, and Daniel Russell, 19, of Youngstown, Ohio, were arrested Sunday in Youngstown, Pittsburgh police said.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Sharon Serbin describes herself as a Jane-of-all-trades: an artist, a personal trainer, and most recently, a life skills counselor at the Center for Hearing and Deaf Services. Serbin lost her hearing in her teens, and has spent many years working in the hearing and deaf communities. 90.5 WESA’s Margaret J. Krauss interviewed Serbin as part of an ongoing series in which we speak with leading experts and people of interest in the Pittsburgh community. Their conversation has been edited for length.

 

Education

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak says she's planning to introduce legislation Tuesday to create a task force charged with finding funding for children otherwise unable to attend preschool.

Citing a 2016 Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers report, Rudiak said 1,500 Pittsburgh children do not have access to full-day preschool deemed "high quality" by the Pennsylvania Keystone STARS initiative. The standards evaluate programs for staff qualifications, curriculum, facility environment and community and family involvement, among other things. 

Essential Pittsburgh

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Garfield Bike Shop Owner Says He's Ready To Retire And Pass On The Tools

Jerry Kraynick bends at the waist, hands on hips, and peers over his glasses. He gestures towards a bike. “Throw it up on the stand, and I’ll look at it.”

Read More

Development & Transportation

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and community activists have recently called attention to what many say is an “affordable housing crisis” in Pittsburgh. As new development comes to neighborhoods like Lawrenceville and East Liberty, many low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters are being priced out of the neighborhoods.

Environment & Energy

Marufish via Flickr

The number of jobs in Pennsylvania’s solar industry increased by a sunny 23 percent in 2016, according to the National Solar Jobs Census.

The report found industry jobs have risen 25 percent since 2015, resulting in 260,077 solar workers nationwide.

Andrea Luecke, president of the Solar Foundation, which commissioned the annual report for the U.S. Department of Energy, said American solar companies are expecting another 10 percent increase this year.

Auslandsoesterreicherflickraccountinhaber / Flickr

Ticks don’t always wait until the spring to become active. A warm snap in western Pennsylvania could mean more breeding among the insects, and more cases of Lyme disease.

Pennsylvania has had the highest rate of Lyme disease in the nation for years – and that number is going up. More than 12,000 cases were reported last year -- one-third the total cases of Lyme disease across the country.  

Local Headlines

Judge Rules Bill Cosby Case To Be Decided By Outside Jury

9 hours ago
Bill Fraser/Bucks County Courrier Times / via AP Pool

 A jury from outside the Philadelphia suburbs will be brought in to decide the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, a judge ruled Monday, rejecting a defense request to move the trial itself because of worldwide media reports that brand the actor a "serial rapist."

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill said jurors will remain sequestered during Cosby's June trial on charges that he drugged and molested a former Temple University employee in 2004.

Port Authority of Allegheny County

A white man convicted of throwing a black man onto the downtown Pittsburgh Wood Street T-station tracks has been sentenced to three years in federal prison. 

It is the first federal hate crime to be prosecuted in the region.

Ryan Kyle, 23, of Brentwood, was sentenced to three years in prison, a sentence that will run concurrently with his state prison term for the same assault.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

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

This week’s topics include the recent nationwide rise in constituent-led town halls; interfaith support for, and the economic impact of, Pittsburgh’s immigrant residents; and bills proposed to combat the commonwealth’s opioid epidemic.

National & International

It was, to be blunt, sex day at the Supreme Court. The justices heard two cases, both involving men who had been punished for having consensual sex with a minor. In one case, a 21-year-old legal resident of the U.S. was ordered deported after he pleaded no contest to having sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend. That would not be a crime in 43 states or under federal law, but it was enough to get him deported for having committed an "aggravated felony" in California.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Seven sweaty people stood panting in the Saturday morning light beneath a fading red and gold mural on the east side of a tattoo parlor on the corner of 11th and Carson streets. 

Trista Yerks described the work, created by street artist Shepard Fairey in 2009. It was one of several he installed throughout the city, made of layered wheat posters that degrade over time.

“You can see that it's very weathered. It's kind of starting to come down because of all the weather that Pittsburgh has,” she said. “So it makes me sad, but it wasn’t meant to last.”

Economy & Business

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Gisele Fetterman, founder of 412 Food Rescue and Braddock’s free store, and wife of Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, was an undocumented immigrant for 10 years. She said she lived in New York City with her mother and her brother and dreamed of becoming a citizen one day.

The thing she looked forward to most? Jury duty.

Fetterman shared her immigration story Tuesday evening at an event she and her husband hosted at their home, meant to highlight the economic contributions of immigrants in the Pittsburgh region.

Food & Drink

Sweeney Todd is a piece of theater that should make you lose your appetite. The grisly musical by Stephen Sondheim tells the story of a demonic barber whose clients become the filling for meat pies. Many productions leave the stage soaked in blood.

Stories from National Partners

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Donald Trump has used the phrase "enemy of the people" a couple of times.  

In early February, he tweeted it:

Sign up for our e-newsletter!

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.

Like us on Facebook

From Our Friends at WYEP

WYEP's Local 913

This week: Strange Monsters

JazzWorks

Classic and Contemporary Jazz Streaming 24/7