News

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Faced with a citation and the threat of losing their liquor license for noise violations, the owners of James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy are crowdsourcing to afford costly soundproofing renovations this summer. 

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Standing on the corner of Liberty Avenue and Wood Street, Joe Kennedy held a paper sign Thursday. It read, “I am a human being.”

“Systems change when change is demanded, and I’m here to demand change,” said Kennedy, 48. “It is unacceptable that in a society that calls itself the land of the free and the home of the brave, black men are being gun downed at taxpayer expense by law enforcement.”

David Dermer / AP Images

In 2012, Pine-Richland graduate Meghan Klingenberg served as an alternate for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer team. This year in Rio de Janeiro, Klingenberg will have the opportunity to be on the medal stand.

Why Pipeline Safety Is One Of Pennsylvania’s Next Big Energy Challenges

Jul 22, 2016
Keith Srakocic / AP

On  the morning of April 29, a natural gas transmission line exploded in a field in Salem Township in western Pennsylvania. 

    It’s great going home to your parents for the holidays. You get your laundry done, hot meals are cooked every night and you get free Wi-Fi. But what do you do when they come to visit you? WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to help you out with a “plethora” of ideas. This is your parents' weekend to go crazy.

Barbara Hafer, Former PA Treasurer, Indicted

Jul 22, 2016
Paul Vathis / AP

  Former Pennsylvania Treasurer Barbara Hafer was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury.

This makes her the third state treasurer to face federal charges in three decades.

Hafer is accused on two counts of making false statements to FBI and IRS agents during a corruption investigation in May.

She was allegedly concealing $500,000 in consulting fees paid to her by companies that did business with the Treasury Department while Hafer was in office. 

Scott 412 Foto / flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he became addicted to watching the Republican National Convention this week. He described falling asleep on his couch watching the late night shows and cable news.

“I’ve been watching conventions since I was in second grade,” Peduto said. “I can’t think of a convention that I actually became compulsively obsessed with watching.”

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

When a child leaves their home for foster care, they often have to leave their belongings behind. And if a social workers is able to grab a few things, they’re usually jumbled in a trash bag.

Foster Love Project aims to ease that process by offering a new bag filled with comforting items like new pajamas, a stuffed animal and blanket, we well as essentials such as toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.

S&P Report Shows Good And Bad News For PA Finances

Jul 22, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

After Pennsylvania went two days without a revenue plan last week, Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings put its credit on its “CreditWatch" list.

Inclusion on the list signifies a state in danger of an imminent credit downgrade.

The commonwealth made it off the list this week, after the budget was balanced.

Mary Altaffer / AP

The Republican National Convention wraps up in Cleveland tonight with speeches from prominent republicans, religious leaders, business moguls and presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Katie McGinty said she has been struck by the negative tone of the gathering.

How A Bar Band From Latrobe Became 'The Shondells'

Jul 21, 2016
Mike Vale / Facebook

In early 1966,  a rock n' roll song called "Hanky Panky" went to the top of the charts in Pittsburgh after a Steel City dance promoter and DJ named Bob Mack gave it a spin. What Mack didn't know is that the song, recorded by Tommy James and The Shondells in 1964, had languished for two years prompting the band members to go their separate ways and get day jobs. When Mack finally tracked down Tommy James in Niles, Michigan where the song was recorded, James told him The Shondells were no more.

Allegheny County Parks Department

Allegheny County parks officials are looking for a rogue red-bellied piranha found in North Park Lake on Wednesday.

A woman and her son caught the piranha that officials said likely came from someone’s private aquarium. After removing the fish from its hook, it “flipped back into the water,” county spokeswoman Amie Downs said.

Mandela Washington Fellows / Facebook

Duquesne University is hosting 25 African young professionals this summer as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The initiative seeks to provide leadership training to young professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

There are thousands of abandoned coal mines dotting the landscape of Pennsylvania, and many of them leak water tainted with toxic metals like iron and manganese, which seeps into streams and groundwater.

 

It’s been a long, expensive process for the state to clean up the acid mine drainage. But state environmental officials now say an alternative method of remediation -- constructed wetlands -- could remove iron and manganese from mine drainage at a much lower cost.

New Study Links Asthma With Fracking

Jul 21, 2016
National Institutes of Health / Flickr

 

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have published a study linking unconventional gas development with asthma attacks.

“We found that patients living closer to more—or bigger—unconventional natural gas wells had higher risk for an asthma attack,” says Sara Rasmussen, the study’s lead author.

Elianna Paljug

Georgia Institute of Technology sophomore Elianna Paljug had just watched fireworks on the oceanside Promenade des Anglais when a Tunisian man driving a truck plowed through a crowd of Bastille Day revelers. The attack last week in Nice, France killed 84 people.

Christopher Ena / AP Images

Pittsburgh native Shelly Culbertson describes a journey through six countries seeking to understand how the Arab Spring shaped the Middle East in her book "The Fires of Spring: A Post-Arab Spring Journey Through the Turbulent New Middle East." She joins us in studio to discuss her journey and where the Arab Spring nations stand today.  

David Goehring / flickr

While traveling from Wyoming to New York City, Winifred Gallagher was struck by the vast size of the United States. The trip inspired her to write about the agency fondly remembered for traversing the length of the country delivering correspondence: the post office.

Robb D. Cohen / AP Images

Fifty years ago, the Beach Boys released the influential pop album “Pet Sounds,” which many consider one of the first concept albums. Written and produced primarily by Brian Wilson, the album includes hits like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” and “God Only Knows.” We caught up with Al Jardine, who is coming to Pittsburgh next month as part of a 50th anniversary tour during which they perform “Pet Sounds” in its entirety.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The state is making strides on developing its new medical marijuana program.

Secretary of Health Karen Murphy said, since the commonwealth’s legalization of medical marijuana in April, her department has been working constantly to build the program.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Fourteen Pittsburgh Police officers trained to detect implicit bias and procedural justice interventions as part of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice will now be tasked with passing along that information to fellow officers.

Allegheny County Health Department

The Allegheny County Health Department will use new placards designed to make it easier to check restaurant and food facilities' inspection histories. 

A green, yellow or red sticker will adorn food establishments throughout the county, after undergoing an inspection. Each one will have a QR code, which patrons can scan with their smartphones to access a facility’s inspection report.

Food Safety Program Director Donna Scharding said the signs allow consumers to make educated decisions conveniently.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Roughly 300 registered nurses at Heritage Valley Health System in Beaver began a 24-hour picket Tuesday morning, demanding better working conditions and benefits.

Registered Nurse Molly Romigh, president of the hospital’s local chapter of the Service Employees International Union, said nurses are dissatisfied with the RN-to-patient ratios maintained by their employer.

Melinda Roeder / 90.5 WESA

So, you had a baby a couple of years ago, and you go to a store’s app to search for a toy for your now-toddler. And whaddayaknow, there's a sale on the perfect treat.

That could become more common as artificial intelligence continues to creep into our mobile shopping experiences.

One Pittsburgh company, CognistX, is at the forefront of that movement. Its mobile app enhancements let retailers use advanced information about a person’s lifestyle and spending habits to target specific content toward shoppers.

Steve Brodner / Toonseum Facebook

While this election season may be stressful for voters across the U.S., it has served as the fodder of political cartoonists’ dreams. Pittsburgh’s Toonseum is showcasing some of the best political cartoons of the season with their exhibit This Campaign is Yuuuge!: Cartoonists Tackle the 2016 Presidential Race.

Christina Spicuzza / flickr

Cleveland and Philadelphia, our neighbors to the north and east, will be hosting the Republican and Democratic conventions respectively. If you traveling to those cities and want to enjoy them beyond the political trappings of the convention centers travel and food contributor Elaine Labalme joins us with suggestions for seeing the cities.

Howard Kernats / KWSA

Seven wrestling matches with titles on the line. A strong-arming visitor from Moscow. An "ambulance match" in which two wrestlers will go head-to-head until someone leaves in ambulance.

It sounds like the recipe for a WWE pay-per-view event, but it’s actually a local independent wrestling showcase.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Local elected officials gathered in Bloomfield on Monday to celebrate the opening of the Penn Mathilda Apartments, a new affordable housing development meant to keep low-income residents in the East End, especially as gentrification pushes up rent payments.

Wikipedia

When Presidents take office, they swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. A new book edited by Ken Gormley, the recently-appointed president of Duquesne University, looks at how past presidents have interpreted the Constitution.

Lawsuit Brewing Over Refugee Education In Lancaster

Jul 19, 2016
Alex Brandon / AP

 

About 17,000 school-aged refugees move to the U.S. in an average year, an estimate that's a few years old and likely growing along with overall resettlement activity.

But no one is tracking how young refugees fare in school here.

Georgetown University released a study earlier this year looking at education access by students with limited English proficiency.

It focused on undocumented immigrants.

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