News

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

  Video cameras are filming the 2600 block of Brownsville Road in Carrick as part of a new wave of neighborhood watchmen.

Two years in the making, Councilwoman Natialia Rudiak announced Friday the start of a “Virtual Block Watch” in Carrick's business district. Fifteen business owners invested a combined $2,850 to purchase and install cameras outside of their locations directed at public thoroughfares, while Rudiak’s office provided $1,080 for signage.

Talk Radio News Service / flickr

Allegheny County health officials say they are already in line with new White House standards to fight HIV and AIDS.

The plan unveiled Thursday updates one issued by the Obama administration five years ago. Developments since then include new diagnostic tests, a daily pill for infection prevention and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which allows for more American’s to receive treatment and testing.

Robin Robokow / flickr/robokow.net

Many may not know that one of the world’s most recognizable songs is actually one of the most profitable.  The “Happy Birthday to You” tune has been around since the late 1800’s and due to copyright protections, anyone who wants to include the ditty in their movie, ringtone or stage production has to pay for permission. Now there’s a new case against the owners of the copyright and an old songbook in Pitt’s Hillman Library may be used as evidence. Here to tell us about that songbook and the future of “Happy Birthday” is Barco Law Library interim director Marc Silverman.

How Low Gas Prices Affect Consumers And The Natural Gas Industry

23 hours ago
Gerry Dincher / flickr

With the local economy relying more and more on the gas and coal industry, the news that Consol Energy posted a loss for the past quarter and outlined spending cuts for the next year-and-a-half can't be good. As the price for natural gas continues to slide, what does it mean for us? We talked with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer David Conti.

Looking Out Foundation

Mona McDonald had no idea how to protect herself.

“There was a certain amount of fear that a lot of women experience just walking around in your everyday life,” she said, recalling herself in the mid-1970s. “You absolutely don’t know how to handle yourself if someone were to approach you, confront you or physically attack you.”

Used with permission from Carlino Giampolo and the Panther Hollow homepage.

Boundary Street runs through Panther Hollow in the shape of an inverted L. The houses cluster on the northern and western sides of the street and all face inward toward a stretch of grass and trees. They aren’t numbered chronologically, though the first few homes begin ordinarily enough: 1, then 1 ½, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9. Then 523, 525, 12, 14, 17 and 40.

In a bid to establish a safety net for part of the state’s social safety net, the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association is urging state lawmakers to offer some help as the budget impasse hits the one-month mark.

The trade group sent letters to lawmakers in mid-July asking them to consider a short-term funding measure and held a press conference in Pittsburgh last week to drum up support. The group has also suggested that the state provide interest-free loans to social service agencies and nonprofits, “similar to what was done for state employees the last time the budget was not passed on time.”

U.S. Senator Bob Casey said the nation must increase its commitment to inspecting the safety of train bridges to avoid disaster on Thursday.

Casey said he wants an additional $1 million added to the Federal Railroad Administration budget to increase the number of railroad inspectors from eight to 15.

He said the eight inspectors are currently responsible for inspecting more than 70,000 train bridges nationwide.

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Chants including, “Happy birthday, Medicare! Love it, improve it, expand it to all,” “Medicare, Yes! Insurance company profits, no!” and “Health care for all, it’s a human right!” could be heard outside the UPMC headquarters Downtown as older people, representatives of labor and advocates for single-payer health plans rallied for support of Medicare on Thursday.

The event was organized by the Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare and Healthcare 4 All PA to mark the program's 50th anniversary

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council got an earful at a public hearing Thursday on paid sick days legislation. The measure was put on hold by council last week to allow for amendments and a public hearing. 

The most visible attendees were pro-sick days legislation, though several came to represent the other side.

By a 5-0 vote Thursday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission rejected one part of Pittsburgh Yellow Cab’s fare hike request and delayed action on the other two provisions.

Pittsburgh Transportation Group, the parent firm of Yellow Cab, wanted to impose a surcharge of up to $8 per trip on Friday and Saturday nights, Sundays and holidays.

Commissioner James Cawley joined his colleagues in rejecting that request, saying the variable surcharge “does not allow a passenger to determine if it is the proper amount,” and because it “appears to be arbitrarily determined.”

Dining Destinations Part Two: San Francisco to Cleveland

Jul 30, 2015
Melt / meltbarandgrilled.com/

It’s been said an army travels on its stomach. Well if it’s good enough for the army why not a savvy traveler? This week contributor Elaine Labalme continues our tour of the U.S. via dining destinations.

Riverhounds Goalie Ryan Thompson Leads Jamaican Team To Victory

Jul 30, 2015
David Goldman / AP Images

The name Ryan Thompson may not have been well known around the international soccer world before last week. But after the Riverhounds goalie led Jamaica to a stunning 2-1 upset victory over the U.S. in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semi-Finals, Thompson has raised the profile of Pittsburgh soccer and the USL. He joins us live in studio.

700 arcade and pinball games, over 2,000 retro console games and tabletop games all free to play with admission? Sounds like the Greatest Arcade in the Universe if you ask us, which is exactly what ReplayFX is promising. The arcade will be open all weekend, beginning Thursday, at the David Lawrence Convention Center. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Latino Family Center is in a new Hazelwood space this month, their third since the unit first opened in 2009.

“It’s affordable to live here, and they have services like the Latino Family Center that can at least give them a sense of community and they know they have advocates in us and even if they’re trying to access something and can’t,” site director Rosamaria Cristello said. “They’ll come to us. They have that support.”

PA Early Childhood Programs Stretched To Financial Limit, Study Finds

Jul 30, 2015
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Common sense might suggest that the best early childhood programs would do better financially.

But a new study finds that providers in Southeastern Pennsylvania have little fiscal incentive to reach for high quality.

A Nonprofit Finance Fund study of nearly 150 early-care and education programs in the Philadelphia area found that all of them – no matter their quality rating – operate on razor-thin margins.

90.5 WESA Announces Newsroom Promotions

Jul 30, 2015

  

PITTSBURGH, PA., July 29 2015—90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station, announced changes in its newsroom structure effective July 29, 2015. Marco Cardamone, Board Chair and Interim General Manager, made the announcements at a staff meeting.  

A flight operations control center in Moon Township is closing, causing some 650 employees to relocate to Texas, retire or look for a job elsewhere.

The Moon Township center was built less than seven years ago, specifically for US Airways, which merged with American Airlines in December 2013.

The last flight out of the Pittsburgh-area center is scheduled to take place on Aug. 23, which is also the day when the new operation center in Fort Worth will be fully functional. Pittsburgh workers who choose to move must do so between Aug. 20 and 24.

Flickr user matt.farina

Andreas Beck has heard it all. Everyone has a great idea for a website.

Beck, executive board member of Drupal Camp PA, said the camp he helps organize, which teaches people how to use the open-source programming software Drupal, can help almost anyone with basic computer skills build a website.

The two-day camp will be held at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Systems this Saturday and Sunday. The conference includes speeches from developers and training sessions geared toward everyone from beginners to advanced users.

Mystery Continues Over Radioactivity In Western PA Stream

Jul 30, 2015
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

On the banks of Ten Mile Creek, a stream that snakes through Greene County, Ken Dufalla looked out at one of his favorite fishing spots.

“That’s probably one of the best walleye fishing there is in the evening you can find. I’ve caught muskies, walleyes, saugers,” Dufalla said.

As Medicaid Turns 50, Reflecting On Its Impact

Jul 30, 2015
Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Fifty years ago, on this date, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicaid program  into law. Designed as a program involving federal and state cooperation to cover medical expenses for specific segments of the nation’s population, the program has had its share of accomplishments and challenges.

We’ll mark the anniversary of Medicaid with Julie Donohue associate professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health and Vice President for Health Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Edwin Park.

Pittsburgh officers rolling past loud parties and unauthorized construction will be able to cite residents' complaints as part of a new three-strike system with the city's disruption ordinance.

In a preliminary vote, Pittsburgh City Council gave unanimous approval Wednesday to legislation aiming to better regulate the city’s noise control that replaces old language and better defines residential noise violations as any “sound that annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”

Visitors will be able to enjoy the view of the city from the Monongahela Incline through Labor Day weekend.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County announced Wednesday that it will delay the start of major renovations until Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The twelve week shutdown had been planned to start Aug. 31.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Criminal convictions bring expected consequences — fines, probation, parole and incarceration.

"What they don't tell you ... is that there are about 550 collateral consequences," said state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery, Bucks). "They're not in the criminal statutes, they're in the other statutes and (enforced) by societal standards."

Supporters believe 2015 could finally be the year for a bill promising to wipe clean criminal records from low-level offenders truly committed to rehabilitation.

EPA Finalizing Federal Standard On Carbon Pollution

Jul 29, 2015
Ian Barbour / flickr

Allegheny County Courthouse will be the site of a rally in support of the Clean Power Plan. The EPA is in the process of finalizing this, first of its kind, federal standard on carbon pollution from power plants. Joining us to address what this means for the environment is Katie Bartolotta, Outreach Coordinator for Penn Future.

Homeowners forced to buy expensive flood insurance through the federal government could have more buying power if a pair of proposals make it through the U.S. House and Senate.

Ron Ruman, Pennsylvania Insurance Department spokesman, said his office would like to see private insurance on a level-playing field with the federal government’s flood insurance offerings.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman proposed a resolution Tuesday that would create a data sharing system between the city and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to assist authorities in tracking down stolen or wanted vehicles.

“Right now our ticket enforcement officers could walk down the street, enter a license plate at a meter, write a parking ticket, and that car could either be stolen or wanted as part of an Amber Alert and they would have no idea,” he said.

In a state budget stalemate with few compromises, a left-leaning think tank says focusing on property tax relief could prompt some bipartisan agreement.

Gov. Tom Wolf made his pitch to offer property tax relief central to his proposed budget. In May, the state House passed a GOP-crafted proposal with bipartisan backing.

It included the kind of broad-based tax increases Republican leaders now say they can't support. 

Better Bikeways Plan / BikePgh

Pittsburgh may not yet be a mecca for bicyclists and walkers, but local officials are trying to change that and make area roadways accessible for a mixture of transportation options. Efforts are not going unnoticed.

TransitCenter, a group that advocates for public transit and comprehensive transportation policies, released a report this week profiling Pittsburgh among six innovative U.S. cities for transportation policy planning. 

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

At first glance, the mobile app "Triangle of Life" looks like any other video game. Fun music, animals and prizes are won as the lead character moves through the game. 

But it isn’t just about jumping and scoring points or making it to a complicated finale — although that happens, too. Instead of coins, gamers collect experiences. The goal is to give kids who have experienced trauma and are in therapy a fun tool to navigate their emotions and make healthy choices.

Pages