News

Matt Rourke / AP

Senators are trying to figure out how to move forward on the stalled state budget.

They’re planning to formally vote against a conservative House funding plan Wednesday in hopes of kick-starting an expedited process known as a conference committee.

However, there’s no guarantee that will happen.

After receiving it last week, Senate leaders quickly made it clear they don’t support a House proposal that would close the $2.2 billion budget gap primarily with one-time fund transfers instead of taxes.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

The state Auditor General’s office has released a report showing a provider of abortion-alternative services has misused taxpayer dollars.

That includes using some of its grant money for out-of-state promotions.

Real Alternatives has been receiving state grants through the Department of Human Services for 20 years.

All of it was supposed to go to the subcontractors that actually carry out abortion alternative services.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

While federal and state environmental regulators are in town this week examining the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s treatment processes, a city-hired consultant is working on its final recommendations to completely restructure the agency.

IMG, Inc. has until Nov. 8 to submit its suggestions. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

In light of President Donald Trump’s announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA, Latino advocates in Pittsburgh are beginning a monthly series of community meetings to set priorities and help cultivate leadership.

Banerjee Lab / University of Pittsburgh

For more than one million Americans with Type 1 Diabetes, managing the condition involves daily shots of insulin and closely watching their diets.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released its first ever guidelines on minors getting tattoos and piercings, recommending teens and their parents research possible heath effects of body modification before facing the needle.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Uber has resumed self-driving vehicle service in Pittsburgh following a crash.

The company briefly suspended their self-driving fleet Monday morning. Police say a car collided with a self-driving Uber SUV.

Two Uber employees who were in the SUV at the time of the crash and the driver of the car were not injured.

According to police spokeswoman Sonya Toler, the Uber driver was in control of the vehicle at the time of the crash. Uber says their self-driving vehicles returned to service late Tuesday morning following an investigation.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Officials from state and federal regulatory agencies are in town this week touring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s water treatment plant in Aspinwall.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are hoping to help pedestrians with disabilities cross intersections more safely.

Their research project makes up the latest phase in the 5-year-old smart traffic signals initiative centered in East Liberty, where wait times for vehicles have been reduced by 40 percent.

In the first year of the project, researchers will focus on building an app that pedestrians could have on their smart phones.

The app would send personalized data about that individual’s movement patterns to a smart traffic signal at an intersection.

Emma Lee / WHYY

This story is part of a WHYY series examining how the United States, four decades later, is still processing the Vietnam War.

-----

It was Bonnie Raines' job to case the joint.

Her target: the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. If all went according to plan, Raines and fellow anti-war activists would pull off a burglary that would go down in history as exposing J. Edgar Hoover's secret surveillance of groups demonstrating the war in Vietnam.

Always Shooting / Flickr

The 42-story Cathedral of Learning has reopened on the University of Pittsburgh campus after a sprinkler problem flooded the building.

Classes and other activities were canceled Monday after the malfunction caused water to run across the floors, into the hallways and down the stairs of the iconic structure.

University officials were still assessing the damage but say the 30 Nationality Rooms in the building were not damaged beyond water on their floors. The rooms each have a unique architectural design and contain artifacts of the various cultures represented.

Associated Press

Pittsburgh's proposal to become the location of Amazon's second headquarters includes a full-time team of up to 20 people, Mayor Bill Peduto said Monday.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel began his criminal justice career in 1989, just as the commonwealth's prison population began to balloon.

It was the beginning of America's mass incarceration era -- one that Wetzel said his office is only now beginning to reverse.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Senate is back in session, and is gearing up to respond to a budget package the House passed last week.

Senate leaders aren’t revealing much about their plans—though they indicate they have fundamental disagreements with House leaders.

Meanwhile, the standoff is prompting credit rating agencies and budget experts to put the commonwealth on their watch lists.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact PA

In March 2016, workers for one of the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline companies cut down a large swath of maple trees in Susquehanna County–a rural patch of northeastern Pennsylvania.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Senate could vote Monday or Tuesday on whether to put the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority under state oversight.

A bill that would empower the Public Utility Commission to oversee the embattled agency has been pending before the full Senate since June 30. When the chamber returns from summer recess Monday, it will have two days to act on the measure. Without action by Tuesday, the bill will be removed from the Senate calendar with the possibility of later consideration.

Leftover Painkillers Driving Opioid Crisis, Penn Researcher Says

Sep 18, 2017
Emma Lee / WHYY

A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania says one of the big narratives explaining the onset of  the opioid crisis is wrong. 

Peggy Compton, a professor at Penn's School of Nursing, said the public often misunderstands the role opioid prescriptions have played in the crisis. The epidemic wasn't caused by people taking pills prescribed by their doctor to treat pain, she said. That idea, she said during a discussion among pain researchers at Penn, is a "myth."

"Simply by giving prescribed opioids to patients with pain, we are not creating addicts," Compton said Friday.

Senate To Confront No-Tax Package In 80-Day Budget Fight

Sep 18, 2017
Carolyn Kaster / AP

The Pennsylvania Senate is due to reconvene in Harrisburg on day 80 of an increasingly ugly budget fight.

The Senate's chief piece of business Monday is sorting through the House's no-new-taxes plan approved last week amid a three-month stalemate over plugging a projected $2.2 billion budget hole.

Jacob Sippel / U.S. Navy / Creative Commons

A survey of 1,000 Pennsylvania nurses has revealed many feel they're overworked and spend less time doing patient care and more time on paperwork.

The report, released by advocacy group Nurses of Pennsylvania, reveals common complaints within the profession. It found 94 percent of nurses say their place of work does not have enough nursing staff, and 87 percent believe staffing levels affecting patient care are getting worse.

Sen. Pat Toomey A Key Player In Trump Tax Overhaul Effort

Sep 18, 2017
Emma Lee / WHYY

As President Donald Trump and Congress undertake an overhaul of the U.S. tax code this fall, Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is likely to be a key player in the effort.

Toomey brings a passion for tax policy and years of experience as president of the conservative group, Club for Growth.

Pennsylvania's Ugly Budget Fight Gets Personal And Regional

Sep 18, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The feel-good bipartisan spirit that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf tried to instill last year in Pennsylvania's Capitol is gone, stomped to bits in an increasingly ugly budget stalemate.

Lawsuit Alleges Sex Scandal In Pennsylvania Coroner's Office

Sep 18, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP, file

Workers at a coroner's office in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains respond when someone dies under unusual circumstances, but lately they've also had to respond to lurid allegations in a sex scandal that's generated two lawsuits and a police investigation.

Matt Rourke / AP

The commonwealth is putting off paying over a billion dollars to insurers who administer Medicaid benefits, because its main bank account is almost out of money.

It will be at least a week before the state can afford to pay, and the delay will probably mean the insurers will charge interest.

In some ways, this is a recurring problem for the commonwealth: bills come due at the beginning of the fiscal year, but revenue doesn’t come in until later.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

As Zaheen Hussain walked through the garden at the Millvale Community Library, he pointed to a small instrument mounted on the library's outer wall.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he thinks fully legalizing medical and recreational marijuana could solve the state's growing budget problems.

90.5 WESA: Reporter / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Initiative Overview

StateImpact Pennsylvania is an award-winning data-driven reporting project focused on the fiscal and environmental impact of Pennsylvania’s energy industry, including natural gas drilling, coal, renewables, and nuclear power.

 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

There are 5.5 million veteran caretakers in the United States, including spouses, parents, family members and friends who find themselves as the primary care provider for a loved one after a military injury.

Report: Pennsylvania Child Abuse Workers Swamped, Underpaid

Sep 15, 2017
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The county caseworkers who investigate child abuse in Pennsylvania are underpaid, inadequately trained, plagued by high turnover and face dangerous conditions, according to a report released Thursday that recommended changes to the system.

Mike Corder / AP Images

A route linking Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh is a semi-finalist in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge, a competition to plan and build a new high-speed transit system to move people and goods. 

Alan Levine / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Turnpike has begun removing more than 1,000 emergency roadside call boxes because too few people use them now that nearly everyone has a cellphone.

The turnpike commission says it will save about $250,000 a year by removing the boxes, which should be gone by the end of the month.

The boxes were installed in 1988 and in the year 2,000 motorists used them more than 18,000 times to call for help. Last year, the boxes were only used 772 times.

Pages