News

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

As GOP leaders search high and low for more than $2 billion to patch the commonwealth’s budget gaps, one state senator is trying to tempt his colleagues with revenue projections from one of his longtime pet issues—recreational marijuana.

clio1789 / Flickr

There are three big challenges when it comes to eradicating lead in Pittsburgh’s water system: locating lead lines, removing them and paying for it. On Wednesday, state senators approved two bills that would provide the city with the legal authority and money to help rebuild its entire system.

EarthJustice

When  President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cut funding for environmental justice work at the EPA, Mustafa Ali took a stand. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Public Schools Board unanimously agreed Thursday that the district needs a committee to create a plan to address what one board member called "an alarmingly high" rate of suspensions.

City education advocates have been pushing the Pittsburgh Public School district to address the high number of suspensions for years. For several months they’ve asked the board to ban suspensions for non-violent offenses for students below sixth grade.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On a weekday afternoon in Pittsburgh’s South Hills, a few dozen adults are standing within taped yellow boundaries, sneakers scuffing a gym floor, lobbing what looks like a bright green wiffleball back and forth over a short net with soft, square paddles.

Juror: 2 Holdouts In Cosby's Trial Refused To Convict

9 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP

After 52 hours of tense deliberations, two holdouts in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial refused to convict the 79-year-old comedian, a juror told ABC News.

The juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 10 of the 12 jurors agreed that Cosby was guilty on the first and third felony counts. And only one of the jurors thought he was guilty on the second count.

The two holdouts were "not moving, no matter what," the juror told the network.

Jurors initially voted overwhelmingly to acquit Cosby on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault, the juror said.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Though Pittsburgh’s bus rapid transit project, or BRT, might not be eligible for federal funding, the planning process is moving forward with a series of public meetings to gather feedback on street design and where to put new BRT stations.

Jason Pratt / Flickr

Thanks to Ike and the Interstate Highway System, summer heralds the well-loved American tradition of road trips.

But that jaunt to Florida or North Carolina doesn’t have to mean four wheels, it can mean two.

Carnegie Mellon University via Creative Commons

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are hoping a new quarterly report will help policymakers and the public keep track of the carbon dioxide impact of the nation’s electricity industry.

Along with reporting the total amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by all electricity plants, the quarterly Power Sector Carbon Index will break down the data by the type of generating plant.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

 

Last year, Hopewell Memorial Junior High School started noticing some negative race-based comments being made among students. Studies show safe environments are essential for learning, and being victim to identity-based harassment can be especially detrimental in school.

Speranza Animal Rescue

After almost a year of work over two legislative sessions, a comprehensive animal protection bill has passed the legislature, and will soon be signed by the governor.

This time last year, Libre the Boston terrier was near death, suffering from malnutrition and a severe skin infection on the Lancaster farm where he was born and neglected.

Today, he’s enthusiastically sniffing staffers in Adams County Senator Richard Alloway’s office, having become perhaps the best lobbyist Harrisburg has on animal rights.

Ally Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

  Massud Fattah fled with his family from Northern Iraq in 2012. He had worked with the army for years to help fight terrorism in his home country.

Ally Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

The first day of summer might make one think of a sunny stroll along the river or a fresh lunch on an outdoor patio. At the Carnegie Science Center, it’s snowballs.

Each year, the science center hosts its annual “Snowball Launch,” to ring in the warm season. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own snowball (likely saved in the back of the freezer since winter) to receive free admission and throw them via slingshot into the Ohio River.

York Residents 'Kind Of Used To' Blasts From Quarries

Jun 21, 2017
Google Maps

For about three decades, Richard and Laceda Waring have lived in a rancher in York, a couple of blocks away from a limestone quarry. Every so often, the earth rumbles, and the house shakes.

"Well, there's our daily blast," they'll say.

It's happened when they eat at a local diner nearby in West Manchester Township, surprising the other patrons.

"Sometimes I think we're going to go right down through the floor," Laceda Waring said with a laugh.

Uber CEO Kalanick Resigns Under Investor Pressure

Jun 21, 2017
Evan Agostini/Invision / AP, File

Travis Kalanick, the combative and embattled CEO of ride-hailing giant Uber, has resigned under pressure from investors at a pivotal time for the company.

Uber's board confirmed the move early Wednesday, saying in a statement that Kalanick is taking time to heal from the death of his mother in a boating accident "while giving the company room to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber's history." He will remain on the Uber Technologies Inc. board.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The Republican majority leaders of Pennsylvania’s House and Senate say they’re determined to put together a budget without raising taxes.

That means making up this year’s $1.5 billion shortfall, plus accounting for a roughly $3 billion structural deficit.

To get it done, the final plan is likely to involve significant borrowing.

One option under consideration would involve using an asset as collateral to get a loan, which would be paid off over 25 years or so.

Carlos Osorio / AP, File

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald reintroduced legislation Tuesday that would make lead tests mandatory for children under 2 years old in Allegheny County.

The legislation was unanimously approved by the Allegheny County Board of Health in May. However, Allegheny County Council members failed to act on it. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

By eighth grade, Christian Carter had been suspended from school a dozen times. The first time was in 3rd grade for what he described as questioning his teacher. Most were for one or two days.

Flickr user Global Panorama

PurePenn and AGRiMED Industries have been awarded licenses to grow and process medical marijuana in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

PurePenn is located in McKeesport; AgriMed is in Carmichaels in Greene County.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Zoning, permitting, licensing and inspections aren't necessarily the stuff entrepreneurs dream of as they begin to plan their business. Navigating all the steps of setting up shop can be confusing, said Henry Pyatt, Pittsburgh’s small business and neighborhood redevelopment manager.

“For most business owners, you only ever have to do it once in your life,” he said. So, “nobody ever gets good at it, because you only do it once and you never practice and you never do it again.”

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

CMU Robotics Institute assistant professor Stelian Coros was working to find ways to make animated characters navigate their simulated environments, such as in a video game or a movie, when he realized his work could be used to design and virtually test robots.

“And what I’m really excited about is moving towards a new paradigm where robots will be able to approach the complexity of biological structures in both form and in function,” Coros said. 

Matt Rourke / AP

According to Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, he and other Democrats haven’t so far been party to many of the budget negotiations that are heating up in the Capitol.

Matt Slocum / AP

Prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia plan to retry Bill Cosby after his two-week sexual assault trial ended Saturday in a mistrial, with the jury unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the three counts. Cosby is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. The entertainer says what happened was consensual.

Some key things to know about the retrial:

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WHEN WILL IT BE?

Coca-Cola's marketing efforts during the weekend's heatwave in Pittsburgh backfired when the company mistakenly used a map of Philadelphia in a post on Twitter.

Allegheny County Police

A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed drug and weapons charges stemming from a 2013 case against two men who were later charged in an ambush at a Wilkinsburg cookout that killed five adults and an unborn child last year.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David Cashman on Monday granted a dismissal request from defense attorneys for 29-year-old Cheron Shelton and 27-year-old Robert Thomas along with a third defendant in the drug case, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a 2013 memo last month written by his predecessor, Eric Holder. Sessions told prosecutors that not only will they abide by previously set mandatory minimum prison sentences, they would seek the harshest punishments possible.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is seeking public input as it finalizes plans for Pittsburgh's long-awaited bus rapid transit system.

Riders can offer suggestions at upcoming neighborhood meetings about street design, station locations and what amenities they’d like to see at each station, like benches and Connect Card machines. They'll also offer general updates and allow for questions about the planning process, spokesman Adam Brandolph said.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County has thousands of employees, but one of them has a rather unusual title. 

Several Pennsylvania newspapers will be under new management this summer. 

GateHouse Media, a behemoth conglomerate overseen by New Media Investment Group, is slated to finalize purchase of The Beaver County Times, Ellwood City Ledger, The Bucks County Courier Times, The Intelligencer (Doylestown), the Burlington County (New Jersey) Times and Calkins Digital in June.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Fifty military cybersecurity experts are defending the online infrastructure of their imaginary nations at the Cyber Endeavor X Games this week.

Now in its sixth year, the five-day competition is being held at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute.

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