Traisaun Leake / Hazelwood Youth Media Justice

If a student misbehaves in a Pittsburgh Public School, the administrators are bound by a disciplinary code. But which reactions are punitive? Which are restorative? And what's more likely to help the student and his or her classroom culture?

(L-R) Sara D. Davis, Alex Wong / Getty Images, via NPR


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is heading to Pennsylvania for campaign stops on both ends of the state.

He's holding two rallies Friday — at 4 p.m. at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, and at 7:30 p.m. at the Newtown Athletic Club outside Philadelphia.

Michael Dakota / Lebanon Daily News


Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey has hired what's believed to be the first full-time facility dog at a children's hospital in the state.

Just 30 children's hospitals across the nation utilize facility dogs, which are different than therapy dogs in that they demonstrate various procedures for kids such as how to lay on x-ray tables and sit still during tests.

The hospital's Child Life Program will be using Kaia, a golden retriever, to help calm patients and create a more positive environment.

  We have all been there before. You are about to bob for apples when you start wondering how sanitary that water actually is. But you know what is even scarier than that water? Bad beer. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to let you know where you can get some good drinks this weekend and where you can bob for apples…if you dare!  

Joshua Franzos / The Heinz Endowments

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

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist, and host, Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

We’ll discuss the faculty strike at Pennsylvania’s 14 state universities. Also, we’ll discover what ideas were suggested to improve the quality of life for Pittsburghers at the P4 Conference. From a White House-driven police initiative to the release of a crime report we’ll take a look at police issues.

Rebekah Zook / 90.5 WESA

Janet Vukotich began her involvement with the South Hills Junior Orchestra simply as an “orchestra mom.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools students are graduating from high school at lower rates than the national average, according to state and national reports.

90.5 WESA

Earlier this month, we spoke to a handful of families from across the Pittsburgh region about the upcoming election. We checked in with them after the third and final presidential debate to hear what they were thinking as we move toward Nov. 8.  

Steven Senne / AP


Elvis Costello is canceling his upcoming show in Pittsburgh in solidarity with striking Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians

In a statement, he says his Nov. 1 show at the Heinz Hall cannot go on because he is unwilling to cross the picket line. 

He asks his fans for their understanding and to "support live music wherever it is heard.'' 

Matt Rourke / AP


Penn State's former president says he issued a statement calling criminal charges against two of his lieutenants groundless because he'd known and worked closely for them for 16 years.

Graham Spanier testified Thursday in the defamation and whistleblower lawsuit against the university by former assistant football coach Mike McQueary.

Spanier compared former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director

Tim Curley to Boy Scouts, saying they had a history of being completely straightforward with him.

A Bold New Vision For Restoring America's Most Polluted River

Oct 20, 2016
Shannon Tompkins / Flickr

In many ways, the Ohio River is an unsung resource for the region it serves. The Ohio’s near-thousand-mile course flows through Pennsylvania and five other states before emptying into the Mississippi. It’s a source of drinking water for more than 5 million people. But its long legacy as a “working river” has also made it the most polluted in the country. Today, many cities and towns along the Ohio are rethinking their relationship to the river—and seeing how a large-scale restoration effort could be critical to the region’s future. But just how do we get there?

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania


A newly-formed citizens’ coalition is pushing to change the way eminent domain is applied in Pennsylvania.

T-Mobile Fined $48M Over Slowing 'Unlimited' Data Plans

Oct 19, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

T-Mobile, the country's No. 3 wireless carrier, will pay $48 million for not clearly telling customers how "unlimited" data plans weren't really, well, unlimited.

The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that T-Mobile had a policy to slow down the speeds of customers who were the heaviest data users. But the company didn't let customers know how much data used would trigger the lower speed.

The FCC says T-Mobile started doing a better job with disclosures in June 2015.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA


Professors, students and supporters are taking to picket lines at state universities around Pennsylvania, including dozens at Slippery Rock University.

Peak Colors Are Coming To Southwestern PA This Week

Oct 19, 2016
Allegheny Front

The Allegheny Front has partnered with the online climate and weather almanac iSeeChange to help collect observations from people all across the country about what’s going on outside. And people have been noticing some strange things about the leaves on the trees where they live. Observers in Wisconsin and Michigan noticed leaves turning brown during the summer. And in Kansas, someone reported elm trees changing color in September.

Amie Downs

Imagine taking a Port Authority bus during your regular rush hour commute. Only instead of making your way along in the manner of fluid trickling from an eye dropper, your bus is traveling at a swift and steady pace thanks to a newly installed short-range communication device that shares routes with the traffic signal network.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The ballroom in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center where the P4 Conference is taking place this week is lit more like nightclub than a conference center. Bright green and blue lights shoot up the walls, a sharp contrast in the dimly lit room. A rapper takes the stage, spitting acapella rhymes that simultaneously praise and critique the city he loves. In the back of the room, an artist turns his words and the rest of the day’s speeches into comic strip-like panels.

Matt Rourke / AP

The former attorney general of Pennsylvania says she's been "humbled and embarrassed" by her perjury conviction and hopes to avoid jail time so she can raise her children.

Kathleen Kane is being sentenced Monday for leaking grand jury documents and lying about it under oath.

Defense lawyers say in court papers Tuesday that the fall from grace has been painful for Kane.

Prosecutors say the first-term Democrat disgraced the office by plotting revenge on rivals and blaming others for the leak.

Sung Kwon Cho

In the 1966 movie The Fantastic Voyage, a team of scientists were shrunk to microscopic proportions and sent inside the human body. Now, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are taking that idea into the 21st Century -- sort of. 

Pitt mechanical engineering associate professor Sung Kwon Cho hasn't figured out how to shrink a submarine, but he has figured out how to control the movement of a tiny device through a simulated blood stream using nothing more than an air bubble and an ultrasound machine.

Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has canceled all concerts through Nov. 18, including the Light Up Night Community Concert that evening that is part of the city's traditional holiday shopping season kickoff.

The orchestra had previously canceled concerts through Oct. 27 after the musicians went on strike Sept. 30. Both parties ended mediation when the musicians called the strike.

Jared Wickerham / AP Photo

On Monday afternoon, candidates in the Pennsylvania race for U.S. Senate taped the first of two debates at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. The outcome of the election could determine whether Republicans maintain the Senate majority.

Katie McGinty and incumbent Senator Pat Toomey attacked each other on state and national issues, including gun control, coal and steel jobs, and Obamacare.

In a charged exchange, they argued over who supported police more, both stating they'd received support from police unions and organizations.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Along the Allegheny River in an unassuming former car garage sits the 112-year-old Natrona Bottling Company. Established in 1904, the business has distributed thousands of glass bottles with their signature Red Ribbon Cherry Supreme, spicy ginger beer and mint julep.

Millersville University

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and its faculty union have agreed to a media blackout while they try to negotiate a contract before Wednesday's strike deadline.

The state system and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties jointly announced the blackout on Saturday.

Both sides say they're hopeful that minimizing distractions will help them reach a new deal.

The union says about 5,500 faculty and coaches at 14 state-owned universities will strike Wednesday at 5 a.m. if they don't reach a deal.

Elaine Thompson / AP

As the 2016 legislative session gets down to the wire in Pennsylvania, lawmakers are rushing bills large and small.

One of the measures that made it through the House Consumer Affairs Committee on Monday would make it illegal to tax plastic shopping bags in Pennsylvania.

The measure will likely face pushback from Democrats.

Bucks County Republican Frank Farry is sponsoring the bill and argues that bag taxes—which have become more popular in recent years—could compromise jobs.

Lawyer: Penn State Not To Blame For Ex-Coach Not Getting Job

Oct 17, 2016
Gene J. Puskar / AP


It's not Penn State's fault that a former assistant football coach who reported Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a boy 15 years ago can't find a new coaching job, a lawyer for the university said Monday.

Nancy Conrad said during opening statements in Mike McQueary's defamation and whistleblower lawsuit that because he spent his entire career at Penn State, he hasn't developed the network of contacts needed to find a new position.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

About 15 years ago, most chambers of commerce would likely say cutting edge corporate research was happening in suburban business parks, according to Bruce Katz, a centennial scholar at the Brookings Institution.

But that same research today is more often happening in urban locations.

Katz called those new urban research cores “innovation districts.”

A collection of mayors from across the country stopped in Pittsburgh Monday to explore ways to grow their own innovation districts using the Steel City as a model.  

via WITF


The first debate is set of a hotly contested Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race that could decide whether the GOP hangs onto its Senate majority.

Republican incumbent Pat Toomey will square off against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty today.

The hour-long debate will be taped at 1 p.m. at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and broadcast at 7 p.m.

It will be made available to stations in other media markets across the state.

Differences over national security, tax policy, gun rights, abortion and immigration are prominent issues in the race.

If you want to gain a couple thousand Twitter followers overnight, it’s not hard.

There are hundreds of websites promising more Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, Facebook likes and even fake reviews for a product on Amazon or a business on Yelp.

These accounts, whether created by bots or real people, are called fraudsters, and social networks and other sites play a constant game of catch-up trying to identify and disable them.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA


The City of Pittsburgh has roughly 13,000 city-owned vacant lots available for purchase. But how to start the process of buying that property can be complicated. Here’s a simple, step-by-step look at how to buy one. (You can also scroll down to the flow-chart below.)