News

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A national transportation research group has estimated that completion of the 14-mile stretch of the Mon-Fayette expressway and the extension of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Busway would create nearly 21,000 jobs in the Mon Valley region and beyond.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

 

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner wants an overhaul of the county’s ethics and disclosure process.

In an independent report over a two-year time period, Wagner said her office found multiple deficiencies in the county’s ethics code, which was enacted in 2001.

Epicast Network

When Pittsburgh comedian Ed Bailey opened for headliner Tony Rock at Pittsburgh’s Improv comedy club last Friday, his polished set landed plenty of laughs – until he mentioned his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio

WESA/Nicole Fallert

At least 10,000 bees squirmed next to one another fulfilling their duties as housekeepers, nurses and foragers.

The brood surrounded their queen bee in an enclosure, hanging vertically in the SEED classroom at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Oakland.

“This is a four-frame, observational hive, it’s a small nucleus colony,” said Christina Neumann of Apoidea Apiary. She’s the beekeeper of the hive, which was unveiled at Phipps this week.

Decision Days Away In Lancaster Refugee Case

16 hours ago
Emily Previti / WITF

 

Five full days of testimony wrapped up Monday in the lawsuit against the School District of Lancaster.

The case claims six student refugees were denied enrollment altogether or placed at Phoenix Academy, a magnet school with an accelerated credit program where they allegedly didn't get adequate support learning English.

They’re seeking admission to Lancaster’s mainstream McCaskey High School.

National Human Genome Research Institute / genome.gov

At the most basic level cancer can be defined as the DNA of a normal cell going haywire. 

Flickr/TheNoxid

Pennsylvania will be at least 5 degrees warmer by 2050 than it was in 2000, according to Penn State University’s 2015 Climate Impacts Assessment Report. To combat a shifting environment, Gov. Tom Wolf has approved an update to the Climate Change Action Plan.

As part of the state’s Climate Change Act of 2008, the action plan is reviewed every three years in an effort to increase energy efficiency in all industries by 2030.

Matt Slocum / AP

U.S. Democratic Senate contender Katie McGinty went on the offense Monday, seeking to paint her opponent, incumbent Republican Pat Toomey, as an insincere flip-flopper.

Throughout her campaign, McGinty has played up her own working-class angle, presenting herself as a first-generation college grad—a claim she recently edited into a first generation four-year­ college grad—and a champion of the working class.

Toomey is the opposite, she said. 

Divided America: Diverse Millennials Are No Voting Monolith

Aug 23, 2016
Brennan Linsley / AP

 

The oldest millennials — nearing 20 when airplanes slammed into New York City's Twin Towers — are old enough to remember the relative economic prosperity of the 1990s, and when a different Clinton was running for president. 

eddie~S / Flickr

The City of Pittsburgh will hire EMTs for the first time since 2004 and raise the starting pay for paramedics.  

The city and paramedics union announced sidebar agreements to the existing union contract Monday. Pittsburgh hasn’t had dedicated EMTs since 2004, when they were laid off due to budget constraints, said Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich. Instead, they city has relied on paramedics, who undergo more training, but cost the city more per hour.

Reed Saxon / AP

 

Local courts that jail poor defendants because they can't afford to pay bail are unlawfully discriminating against the poor, federal attorneys say in a legal brief in a Georgia lawsuit.

The U.S. Justice Department says such policies are unconstitutional.

The federal brief was filed Thursday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the lawsuit of a north Georgia man who spent six days in jail in the city of Calhoun because he couldn't afford $160 bail following his arrest on a misdemeanor charge.

Matt Rourke / AP

Former Democratic congresswoman Gabby Giffords is endorsing the re-election bids of Republicans U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, citing their votes on gun control.

Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, made the endorsements in a Monday editorial on behalf of their organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Giffords was gravely wounded in a 2011 mass shooting in Arizona.

Alan Levine / Flickr

 

Data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education shows an increase in unsolved bomb threats in its public schools over the last three academic years, but a general decrease in terroristic threats.

An Associated Press analysis of school threat data found the disruptions increasing nationwide at the expense of students' learning time and local police departments' resources.

The state department provided data gathered from Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

New data show that almost all types of contaminant air emissions created by the Marcellus shale industry were up in 2014. 

The data come from a report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The 2014 numbers are the most recent available data and are self-reported by the Marcellus shale industry. 

Tom Hurley / 90.5 WESA

The 2016-17 school year is set to begin for Pittsburgh Public Schools next week after a tumultuous summer capped by the controversial hiring of new Superintendent Anthony Hamlet, who fielded questions for weeks over whether he plagiarized and misrepresented portions of the resume he used to earn the district's top job. The board voted to retain him in June.

Legislative Data Processing Center

 A proposed bill is looking to change how Pennsylvania draws its legislative and congressional districts

The bill’s sponsor, Monroe County Republican David Parker said the measure would cut down on gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is prevalent in Pennsylvania—it’s when legislative maps are drawn to benefit a political party.

Parker said the ultimate results don’t benefit constituents.

“When these districts become so large and kind of snake around and are odd shapes, it’s difficult for them to truly represent everybody in the whole district,” he said.

hipponotized / Flickr

Five years ago, Dr. Lisa Pan had a patient whose depression was so severe that no form of treatment would take away his suicidal thoughts.

AP

Pennsylvania has a long history as an important swing state in presidential elections. But over the last decade, approximately, political shifts have kept the state swinging left again and again—Republicans haven’t won Pennsylvania since 1988.

Nevertheless, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are fighting hard for Keystone State votes this year.

According to Chris Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College, Pennsylvania has been like “fool’s gold” for Republicans in recent years: tantalizing, but just out of reach.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

If you tell Christian Morris a story, he’ll give you an ear. Literally.

“It’s kind of weird to hold a 2-inch ear in your hand… I made them as a gift to people that I interview, because it’s like, you give me your story I’ll give you this,” he said.  

The ceramic ears, which come in an array of blues, greens and purples, are tokens Morris gives to people he speaks with as part of a public art project called Practices of Listening.

HelenCobain / flickr

Despite having a balanced 2016-2017 budget, Pennsylvania has taken out a loan to pay its bills. 

The state's $31.5 billion budget approved in June created revenue increases, including a new tax on video streaming services and higher taxes on tobacco, but some of those have yet to start flowing into the state.

Fearing the Revenue Department’s check book, officially known as its general fund, would hit zero before those new taxes arrived, the department asked the state treasurer to give it a $2.5 billion line of credit.

John Bazemore / AP

  

Western Pennsylvania home sales were up in the first seven months of 2016.

A new report from West Penn Multi-List indicates that sales were up 2.2 percent between January and July. Though it’s an overall positive sign, there’s also a downside said Ron Croushore, President of West Penn Multi-List and owner and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.

“The negative there is there is not enough inventory,” Croushore said. “We need more homes for people to look at.”

Matt Rourke / AP

 

A grocery store in Pennsylvania has become the first since Prohibition to sell wine in the state.

A Giant Eagle store in Robinson Township will sell wine beginning Friday. Only state-owned liquor stores had been allowed to sell wine since the nationwide constitutional ban on alcohol that lasted from 1920 to 1933.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports store officials and Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai plan a ceremonial Champagne toast to mark the occasion.

Bastiaan Slabbers / Newsworks

Pennsylvania continues to wrestle with an essential question for the future of its people and its economy: What should a high school diploma mean, and what should it take to earn one?

United Way

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is partnering with a dozen local organizations to focus on the academic and social needs of kids.

Since the five-year United for Children plan was announced in December, the organization has chosen local agencies to receive funding, volunteers and business support to help an estimated 300,000 children.

Why Are Pittsburghers' Property Taxes Going Up? Blame School Pensions

Aug 19, 2016
Anita DuFalla / PublicSource

 

Pennsylvania legislators about a decade ago passed a law to protect homeowners by limiting property tax hikes to the rate of inflation. Has the law, known as Act 1, worked?

    “Oh this is the night, it’s a beautiful night”…to explore Pittsburgh eateries. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to break down where to take your loved one this weekend. Side note, we can’t guarantee it will be as romantic as Lady and the Tramp. That’s on you.

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Two deteriorating dams at man-made fishing lakes in southwestern Pennsylvania will be repaired beginning next year as part of a $25 million statewide investment announced by Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has dubbed 10 dams, including those at Lake Somerset and Donegal Lake, “high-hazard” and “unsafe.” The designations mean that if the dams were to fail during heavy rain, property would be damaged and people could potentially die in the ensuing flood.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

For years, Pittsburgh-based medical relief charity Global Links has taken donations of wheelchairs, crutches and other mobility products.

Chris Meyer started volunteering with the group in 2010 after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, to help prepare those donated devices before they’re shipped to people in need.

Self-Driving Uber Cars To Carry Passengers Soon In Pittsburgh

Aug 18, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Uber's move to carry people with autonomous vehicles is not surprising, given the company's history of pushing into gray areas where there is little or no regulation, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina professor who studies self-driving technology.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

A federal jury will be allowed to decide whether a white Pittsburgh police officer violated the rights of a black man left paralyzed after he was shot during a traffic stop almost four years ago.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly on Monday rejected a motion for summary judgment on the portion of the civil rights lawsuit involving the officer who shot Leon Ford in November 2012.

Kelly also allowed the suit to continue against another officer who Ford said tried to drag him out of his car, but threw out claims against a third officer and the city of Pittsburgh.

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