Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Snagging Amazon HQ2: Who Wins When Tax Subsidies Lure Big Business To PA?

It was Sept. 7. A quick glance at the morning’s headlines revealed President Donald Trump had made a debt ceiling deal with Democratic leaders.

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Politics & Government

Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania's governor is moving to consolidate parts of the state's prison and parole systems in hopes of saving money by eliminating duplicated functions.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday that the Corrections Department and the Board of Probation and Parole will sign a memorandum of understanding that will outline their combined operations.

The two entities will remain separate but share employees, land, facilities and equipment.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state House has now sent the Senate most of the revenue components necessary to finish Pennsylvania’s budget—more than three months behind schedule.

Senate leaders say they’ll make a good-faith effort to pass them, despite their flaws.

But the budget’s completion might still hinge on whether the chambers can agree on a gambling expansion.

The main component of the House proposal is a $1.5 billion in borrowing against the state’s Tobacco Settlement fund. That money would be paid back with interest over 20 years.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennslvania

State House lawmakers have moved a bill onto the floor calling for a severance tax on natural gas drilling.

It's a big step for Democrats and moderate Republicans, who have pushed the tax for years. But there's a good chance the measure will languish without a vote for the foreseeable future.

It would create a tax on the volume of gas taken from the ground, on top of an existing fee for new wells drilled.

Its sponsor, moderate Bucks County Representative Gene DiGirolamo, estimated annual revenue between $200 million and $250 million, depending on gas prices.

Science, Health & Tech

Highmark's Allegheny Health Network Announces $1B Expansion

Oct 18, 2017
Keith Srakocic / AP

Highmark Health will spend $1 billion to expand its Allegheny Health Network hospital chain, including a new 160-bed hospital in Pittsburgh's North Hills suburbs, four smaller neighborhood hospitals, and renovations to existing hospitals, the Pittsburgh-based company announced Wednesday.

Highmark Health, the parent of health insurer Highmark Inc. and its eight-hospital network, announced earlier this year that it's spending $315 million on a new cancer institute at its flagship Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, and other expansions of its facilities in Erie.

Facebook / Screenshot

Pittsburghers woke up this morning to find they had unknowingly been transported to Philadelphia, according to their Facebook accounts.

Facebook released a statement saying:  “Earlier today, a bug caused some people in Pittsburgh to get prompts related to Philadelphia. We've fixed the issue.”

The bug caused the site's location software to think Yinzers were visiting the City of Brotherly Love.

Identity & Justice

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual assessment of LGBTQ-friendly laws.

Cities were scored on the inclusiveness of laws, policies and services for LGBTQIA residents. The HRC lauded Pittsburgh for its ban on conversion therapy and its non-discrimination policies. The city received additional recognition for its high score despite Pennsylvania lacking fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections.

Francisco Seco / AP Photo

A bipartisan team of three state senators has introduced legislation that would make relocation easier for victims of domestic assault within public housing.

Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia and Montgomery County), Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver, Greene and Washington Counties) and Sen. Judith Schwank (D-Berks County) are sponsoring the bill.

Education

Google Maps

Police say an elementary school teacher was hit in the face with a brick and dragged from her car in Pittsburgh after a dispute with the parents of one of her students.

They say the attack happened around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday as 46-year-old Janice Watkins was leaving Pittsburgh King PreK-8 on the North Side.

Authorities say she was being followed by a couple in a SUV, and when she stopped at an intersection near the West End Bridge, the woman threw a brick at her.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Over The River And Through The Hills: Everything You Never Knew About Pittsburgh's Iconic Tunnels

Pittsburgh’s tunnels are considered the gateway to the city. More than 229,000 people drive through the Liberty, Fort Pitt, Squirrel Hill and Stowe tunnels each day.

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Development & Transportation

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins' development arm, Pittsburgh Arena Real Estate Development LP, is nearing its final deadline to start the first phase of development at the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District.

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

It was Sept. 7. A quick glance at the morning’s headlines revealed President Donald Trump had made a debt ceiling deal with Democratic leaders.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Teenie Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: Heinz Family Fund

The year 1954 was a significant one in Pittsburgh: Jonas Salk administered the first polio vaccine to students in Lawrenceville, Roberto Clemente was drafted by the Pirates and Hill District resident Paul Jones became the first black man to sit on Pittsburgh City Council.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On a mild Tuesday evening in October, a 12-and-under soccer team from Elliott breaks from the huddle before a match. Tonight, they’re playing on a grass field at Beechview’s Alton Park.

Coach Alex Foulds paces on the sideline as the game progresses, constantly communicating instructions to players on the field. "Clear it out!" he shouts to his team. "Help him out!"

Environment & Energy

Climate Reality Project Head In Pittsburgh To Train Future Climate Leaders

15 hours ago
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

This week in Pittsburgh, about 1300 people are in training to become climate leaders in their communities. That means convincing other people to make changes to their lives. But how? Ken Berlin is the president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project, which works to build public support for addressing climate change. He says it’s about communicating four key messages. The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple asked him about them:

Ralph Wilson / AP

Better collaboration between employers and workforce training programs is key to filling the expected job openings in the growing oil and natural gas industries, according to research from the RAND Corporation.

Economy & Business

Richard Drew / AP

The city of Pittsburgh will officially throw its hat into the ring Wednesday as a contender for Amazon's second North American headquarters, along with what could be as many as 200 other cities.

Megan Farmer / KUOW


  Pittsburgh is among the cities competing to land Amazon’s second headquarters and that has many people wondering what could happen if the company actually picked their city. To get some answers, we turned to our fellow NPR member station, KUOW in Seattle, home to Amazon’s first headquarters.

Local Headlines

For Ornery Shelter Cats, 2nd Chance Is A Job Chasing Mice

Oct 18, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Gary wasn't used to being around people. He didn't like being touched, or even looked at. If anyone came too close, he'd lash out.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

In the next two decades, there will be a 40 percent growth in the population of residents 65 and older in Allegheny County, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday morning, Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh unveiled a plan of 30 action items to make Pittsburgh more inclusive for older residents by 2020.

The initiative's project manager, Laura Poskin, said the plan addresses issues of access, social connection and innovation.

Patrick Sison / AP

Beaver County announced Monday it is suing for millions of dollars in damages from opioid manufacturers,  drug distributors and physicians.

The civil suit claims 23 drug companies and doctors led consumers to believe that opioids were not addictive and the county spent taxpayer dollars responding to hundreds of deaths and overdoses.

Food & Drink

Secretive Foragers Are Cashing In On A Mushroom Bonanza

Oct 7, 2017
Max Whittaker

There, not a dozen yards from the road, was an enormous downed oak tree and, growing from it, about 50 pounds' worth of orange-gold chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms.

It was, she said, the "mother lode." So Bischoff, 42, pulled over and got to work. "I had a pry bar. Some of those sections were like two feet across. They were huge!" It was enough not only to fill her refrigerator but also to sell (for an amount she declined to disclose) to friends, strangers on Facebook, and even a local restaurant.

National & International

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein after an Italian model-actress alleged that he raped her at her hotel in 2013.

As NPR's Mandalit Del Barco reports, "A spokesman for the LAPD says the department is interviewing a 'potential victim' of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein in 2013."

The allegations of sexual assault are the first reported in Los Angeles. Police in New York and London are investigating allegations that Weinstein sexually assaulted five women in those cities.

Stories from National Partners

Carnegie Airborne Observatory

High-tech, remote imaging developed for the military has become a powerful tool in the hands of scientists studying the health of natural ecosystems.

The technology allows scientists to assess forests and coral reefs from satellites and from specially equipped aircraft that can get an even closer look — down to individual branches of trees.

On board these custom-built aircraft is a system of instruments called ATOMS, which stands for Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System.

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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

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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