News

Looking At Addiction As A Health Crisis

14 hours ago
Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

For the past 20 years, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, has been a vocal advocate for drug and alcohol rehabilitation in Pennsylvania. And he’s been pushing the public and lawmakers to stop looking at addiction as a crime.

“Addiction has to be looked at like a disease and it is, like other diseases, highly treatable, and treatment works,” he said.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority proposed mixing green and gray infrastructure to reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into the Ohio River. 

The draft “Green First Plan” calls for millions of dollars in water retention systems that are both above and below ground. The systems would range from cement cisterns that hold water during rainy days to be processed later, to green spaces that can absorb storm water runoff into the ground.  

Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo

 

Time is running out for Pennsylvania coal miners. By Jan. 1, 13,000 coal miners could lose their pensions and thousands their health care. Legislation called the Miners Protection Act would avert the loss of benefits, but the U.S. Senate has yet to schedule the bill for a vote.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

When someone is incarcerated, they family members – especially children – can be forgotten, but Elizabeth Mansley works hard to remember them. 

Last year, Mansley, a Mt. Aloysius College associate professor of criminology, and her students launched The Storybook Project.

“The idea actually came from my daughter,” Mansley said.

Rodrigo Olivera / flickr

Posing with a new gun, from the top of a tall building or on a seaside cliff are just some of the ways more than 127 people died taking selfies between 2014 and 2016.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi, India found that number in a study of selfie-related deaths. The team is now using the data to help prevent future casualties-by-selfie.

Aaron Warnick / PublicSource

 

What was supposed to be a routine visit to the pediatrician with little Oren resulted in a finding that sent Katy Rank Lev and her husband, Corey, into a frenzy.

Their 1-year-old had lead in his blood.

Markus Spiske / Flickr

We’re back from the holiday! WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh and Josh Raulerson of the PA Environmental Council took a two-week hiatus to stuff their faces, find the best pizza costumes and relax. So now, we’ve got all the local happenings to get you ready for the holidays … or holidaze, as Rachel puts it.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

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

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s acting Police Chief Scott Schubert assured a group gathered in Larimer Wednesday night that he would follow through with former chief Cameron McLay’s vision for the force in improving community relations.

“We can’t be successful out in the community if we don’t have the support of the public,” he said Wednesday.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Election officials in Philadelphia will conduct a recount Friday of the presidential vote in 75 of the city's 1,686 precincts, in response to petitions filed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

But at a hearing Thursday morning, the city's election board turned down the Stein campaign's request to open up voting machines and look for digital evidence of hacking.

Philadelphia is one of several Pennsylvania counties where partial recounts are happening, the result of precinct-level recount petitions from several hundred voters recruited by the Stein campaign.

The Effect Of The Ohio River’s Legacy Pollution

Dec 1, 2016
David Kidd / Flickr

Legacy pollution continues to be a big problem in the Ohio River. Things like PCBs and dioxin, which may have been discharged into the river decades ago, can still make the water unsafe for living things—including us. For example, there are advisories limiting how many fish you can eat from the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers because these toxins build up in fish. This week, we caught up with Judy Petersen, executive director of the Kentucky Waterways Alliance, to tell us more about how legacy pollution—and new pollution—affects our lives.

Ted S. Warren / AP

As the opioid epidemic continues, an unlikely service is offering support to those battling addiction: the Pittsburgh Poison Center.

Medical Director Michael Lynch said center’s new effort to combat opioid overdoses and addiction aligns with its mission to reduce poisonings through treatment advice, advocacy and education.

Anyone in western Pennsylvania battling opioids, or their loved ones, can call the Mr. Yuk line, or 1-800-222-1222, for help.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

When talking to researchers in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh, “Star Wars” is likely to come up. Specifically, the scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Luke Skywalker is fitted with a prosthetic hand, after losing his in a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Duquesne Elementary School kindergarten teacher Breanne Dolby thought she was bringing her students to the library for a “surprise guest reader” last Tuesday. Instead, she was awarded $1,500, a customized Steelers jersey and tickets to the New Year’s Day game.

Leslie Chatfield / flickr

Pittsburgh could become the first municipality in the state to ban conversion therapy for minors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. City Council introduced legislation Tuesday that would prevent parents and guardians from forcing youth to undergo the practice.   

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Jenni Broskey is bundled in a black hoodie at the back of a chilly warehouse on Pittsburgh’s North Side. She’s folding and bagging more than 200 newspapers, and she’s about to lose her job.

Uniontown McDonald's Franchise Owner & Creator Of The Big Mac Dies

Nov 30, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

The Pittsburgh-area McDonald's franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago has died. James Delligatti was 98.

McDonald's spokeswoman Kerry Ford confirmed that Delligatti died at home surrounded by his family on Monday night.

Delligatti's franchise was based in Uniontown, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain's signature burger with two all-beef patties, "special sauce," lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

Prosecutors Issue Guidelines On Probes Of Police Shootings

Nov 29, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

The group that represents Pennsylvania prosecutors issued guidelines Tuesday for investigating shootings by police officers, recommending that departments do not investigate their own and that the shooters' names should not be released unless they are charged.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said the deaths of three people in a car who were struck on Thanksgiving by a fleeing suspect could have been avoided if the police departments involved went about it differently.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

 

Planned Parenthood says it added more than 800 volunteers in Pennsylvania since Donald Trump won the presidential election three weeks ago.

The organization says it usually gets about 20 to 25 new volunteers in a month.

"The outpouring of support that we've seen over the last two weeks is like nothing I have seen in my 12-and-a-half years with Planned Parenthood. It is unprecedented," said Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Executive Director Sari Stevens.

Why The Debate Over Drones All Goes Back To Avian Suicide

Nov 29, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

The Federal Aviation Administration is due to release rules for drone operation over populated areas in a couple weeks. Interest is high in many sectors, including local government.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED: 8:20 p.m.

The Service Employees International Union targeted McDonald's restaurants and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with marches demanding a $15 minimum wage and union representation.

The union contends UPMC shuttle bus workers have also gone on strike seeking union representation.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Before heading to the practice field, Westinghouse High School football players met in a classroom, where Coach Monte Robinson read questions from a notecard about alcohol and sexual violence. He told them to be honest.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

 

If Donald Trump's stunning win in Pennsylvania mean it's the season for wealthy outsiders in politics, that can only be good for Paul Addis.

Addis, 63, a former energy executive, is exploring a run for governor in the 2018 Republican primary, where the winner is likely to face incumbent Democrat, Tom Wolf.

State Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York, is a rich, solid-waste magnate who's already running, and there's talk of other self-funding hopefuls across the commonwealth.

US Census Bureau / Pittsburgh Today

The most recent data from the U.S Census Bureau show that while poverty in the Pittsburgh region dropped in 2015, it’s still higher than it was before the recession.

In 2015, 12.3 percent of those living in the Pittsburgh region had an income below the poverty level of $24,300 for a family of four. That’s down from the post-recession high in 2013 of 12.8 percent, but higher than it was when the regional benchmarking group Pittsburgh Today started tracking the number in 2005.

Ross Cameron / AP Photo

Attorneys for Green Party candidate Jill Stein will launch a last-minute challenge to Pennsylvania's presidential election results today, and the Hillary Clinton campaign says it will participate to ensure the process is "fair to all sides." 

Lawrence Otter, an election attorney working with the Stein campaign, said the effort will begin with voters in selected precincts filing recount petitions, which county election boards are required to honor. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

Video footage from police dashboard and body cameras remains very difficult to obtain in Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court is currently considering what the rules for disclosure should be.

In a new survey of public records access in the state, dash cam videos were by far the least likely to be produced upon request.

PA Game Commission via YouTube

The Pennsylvania Game Commission expects about 550,000 hunters to take to the woods as the state's 12-day deer rifle season opens.

The game commission has previously estimated that about 750,000 hunters — or roughly 75 percent of those with licenses — hunt on the opening day of rifle season.

But commission spokesman Travis Lau says that estimate is dropping because more hunters are taking deer during archery season.

The game commission says archery license sales have increased every year since 2007.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Though more than 400 people gathered at Bud Harris Cycling Oval in Highland Park on Saturday morning, one person’s conspicuous absence loomed large.

Neovain / flickr

Older adults living alone are more likely to be emotionally well if they feel close to their neighbors and connected to their community, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh.

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