News

   Memorial Day weekend is here and that means it is officially the start of summer. The city pools are open and it is time to fire up the grill.  WESA’s Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on all your swimming and BBQ needs this weekend.

Luv Purohit

Hundreds of summer camps are available to Pittsburgh youths each year, but for some parents there is really only one choice that makes sense.

“We wanted to create a space specifically for young people who have the experience of refugee and immigrant students,” said Jenna Baron, who four years ago founded the Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (PRYSE) Academy. “We organize a three-week summer program for immigrant refugee students in Allegheny County."

Courtesy Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered a method for classifying nerve fibers that could accelerate the pace of brain-mapping projects.

Matt Rourke / AP Images

Now that Bill Cosby's sexual assault case is proceeding to trial, what happens next?  Duquesne University Law Professor Wes Oliver, a criminal law expert who has been closely following the Cosby case in Norristown, PA, says it comes down to a question of credibility. He joins us to discuss the case.

Join the conversation live between 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Matt Rourke / AP

  Local organizations are denouncing the energy policy plan put forth by Donald Trump at a North Dakota oil and gas industry meeting Thursday afternoon.

Emily Winslow / Harper Collins

In January of 1992, Carnegie Mellon University student Emily Winslow left her Shadyside apartment to get change for a dollar to do her laundry. She was followed home by an unknown man who broke into her apartment and raped her.

Yoshimitsu Kurooka / flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign a bill that would establish an education funding formula for the state's public schools.

Pennsylvania is one of just three states without funding formulas. North Carolina and Delaware are the other two, according to the Education Law Center.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Lawyers for Attorney General Kathleen Kane have refiled a motion to throw out her criminal charges after an earlier motion was thrown out on a technicality.

Kane's lawyers made the filing Thursday in Montgomery County court.

Montgomery County Judge Wendy Demchik-Alloy had given Kane's lawyers 10 days to refile it after saying an April 26 filing didn't adhere to rules of criminal procedure.

Socialize Right Program Teaches Students How To Be Safe Online

20 hours ago
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

It seems a week doesn’t go by without a celebrity, athlete or politician posting something controversial on Facebook or Twitter. With more young people communicating via social media how do you keep them from making these kinds of blunders? That’s that goal of Socialize Right and we’ll discover how they’re accomplishing this mission with its developer Eric Sloss and Terry O'Hara, a consulting psychologist for Socialize Right.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Alicia Kozakiewicz recently spoke with seventh and eighth graders at Propel Schools about internet safety and being cautious online. The Alicia Project, Kozakiewicz’s platform, is deeply personal to her life.

PA Environmental Chief Is Out After Email Controversy

May 26, 2016
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

 

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley resigned on Friday following a controversial email he sent to environmental groups. The email contained expletives and other impassioned language, and chastised environmental groups for not doing enough to support several of the department’s recent environmental initiatives.

Jessica Kourkounis / NewsWorks

 

More than 53,000 people in Pennsylvania live in government-assisted nursing homes, hospitals or institutions. But in a new plan, the state Department of Human Services said it's hoping to move a lot of those people to apartments or homes.

Sip Tea And Contemplate Mortality At Death Cafe Pittsburgh

May 25, 2016
Marina Shakleina / flickr

“Death Cafés” have popped up in cities across the globe with a mission to engage in open dialogue about death and how death influences life, all while in a casual, comfortable atmosphere.

Co-organizers Rachel Butler, senior research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Health Care, and Carolyn Thompson, death care professional, joined Essential Pittsburgh to talk death, local Death Cafés and finding meaning in life.

Mike Mozart

United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Joe Wadlow is the founder of the Fallen Marine Motorcycle Run. He’s also one of the honorees at this year’s Tribute to Veterans sponsored by the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. He’ll join us to discuss his service to our country and fellow veterans. We'll also hear from U.S. Army Reserve Veteran Shawnell Wade about how the VLPWPA helped her through her transition back to civilian life.

Alan Levine / Flickr

 

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board granted nine more beer sales licenses to gas stations on Wednesday, including three in Western Pennsylvania. 

Spilled pill bottle
Charles Williams / Flickr

Pennsylvania is experiencing an overdose epidemic.

Allegheny County alone has seen its number fatal drug overdoses nearly double over the past five years, from 227 in 2010 to 409 in 2015. Neighboring West Virginia, where more than 35 residents out of every 100,000 died of drug overdoses in 2014, is home to the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country.     

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Wilkinsburg and Westinghouse sixth, seventh and eighth graders got an early taste of the schools' impending merger at a field day in North Park on Tuesday.

David Wilson / flickr

Labor advocates gathered Monday at the August Wilson Center for a panel discussion on the recently released report, “A Pittsburgh that Works for Working People.” The study, conducted by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, included a series of recommendations they believe would improve the lives of Pittsburghers. The panel, which included economists, service workers and religious and elected leaders, discussed what steps the city would need to take to implement the proposals.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

In 1910, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., then one of the nation’s foremost landscape architects, outlined a plan for Pittsburgh. It detailed his thoughts on how city leaders should handle development around Pittsburgh’s major roadways and rail corridors.

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Though more than 60 percent of the students in Pittsburgh Public Schools are people of color, district officials said eighty-five percent of its teachers are white and primarily women.

Carrick High School junior Trevon Stanton said throughout his education, he’s rarely had a teacher who looks like him. That’s why he’s considering becoming a teacher one day.

First off, it starts with me," Stanton said. "If no one’s going to be the change then I will.”

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council members heard testimony from local residents Tuesday on a bill that would ban the use of exotic animals in performances within city limits.

Ron Gongaware, 57, of White Oak is a member of the local Syria Shriners group based in Cheswick. He said the legislation would effectively end his organization’s Shrine Circus, which has been raising money locally for free children’s hospital services since about 1950. 

“And that circus is our biggest fundraiser we have, so the ban of those exotic animals would be a tragedy for us,” Gongaware said.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh man's lawyer says his client has accepted a $125,000 settlement more than six years after the man — who is black — says three white police officers wrongfully arrested him and then beat him.

Attorney Joel Sansone says his 24-year-old client, Jordan Miles, decided to end the litigation and put the events behind him. Miles wasn't immediately available to comment.

City council plans to take up legislation on the proposed settlement on Tuesday. A spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto says the deal was reached during federal mediation.

Meet Herb, A Robot To One Day Help Around The House

May 24, 2016
Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Personal Robotics Lab have spent years working on ways to make robots execute subtle, human-like movements in the hopes of helping around the house. 

With cameras for eyes, two thick arms and the occasional bowtie, Herb – an acronym for home exploring robot butler – only recently learned to move a cup across a table.

"We’re trying to get robots to be able to work in a home environment," said Carnegie Mellon University Ph.D. student Jennifer King. 

Jose Luis Magana / AP Images

A Baltimore judge cleared Edward Nero, the second of six police officers to stand trial in the Freddie Gray case, of all charges on Monday.

Gray sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody last April. The previous trial of Officer William Porter resulted in a mistrial, the state plans to retry Porter later this year.

Entreprenuer Examines Factors Behind Successful Startups

May 24, 2016
Sean Ammirati

It seems we hear about Facebook almost every day but does anyone remember Friendster? Why do some companies seem to strike gold while others simply strike out? Our guest Sean Ammirati went in search of an answer to this question and chronicles his findings in the book The Science of Growth: How Facebook Beat Friendster – and How Nine Other Startups Left the Rest in the Dust.

Brad Larrison / NewsWorks

 

Tommy Joshua was working in the garden when a guy from his neighborhood rode by on a bike and gave him some bad news.

"Some dude, some like arbitrary man," Joshua said, "told me straight up, 'Yo dog, they got a plan to like, take this whole jawn over. You're doing all this in vain.'"

In a five-year affordable housing strategy announced Monday, state government officials said they’ll invest Medicaid funding into affordable housing programs over the next five years.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania lawmakers made a step to continue helping the state's young people with disabilities find fulfilling careers and enter the work force.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Olga Welch said the biggest challenge she faced when named the dean of Duquesne University’s School of Education in 2005 was adapting to a new environment.

“The real challenge for a new leader is to learn your context and not assume what worked in another context will work in a new one,” Welch said.

How Long Will Philadelphia Hang Onto Its Spot As America’s Fifth Largest City?

May 23, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

When the United States conducted its first national census in 1790, Philadelphia was the second largest city (after New York) in the country, boasting 28,522 people. 

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