News

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates there will be a shortage of as many as 94,000 physicians in the U.S. by 2025. Most of those physicians are in rural areas and inner cities, and the greatest shortage will be among general practitioners.

Pennsylvania Confirms First Fracking-Related Earthquakes

Feb 22, 2017
Mark Schmerling / FracTracker Alliance

Pennsylvania officials say they’ve confirmed the state’s first fracking-related earthquakes took place last year in Lawrence County, northwest of Pittsburgh. As a result, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is stepping up its requirements for drilling in that part of the state, which is known for seismic activity.

Republicans Eye Revenue Assumptions In Wolf's Budget

Feb 21, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Republican lawmakers are using budget hearings to question Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's assumptions for revenue from a minimum wage increase and a new tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production.

Steelers' Joey Porter Fined $300 Over Dispute Outside South Side Bar

Feb 21, 2017
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police

Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter has been fined $300 after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct stemming from a dispute with a bar bouncer and a police officer last month.

Porter entered the plea Tuesday in City Court in Pittsburgh, ending a case in which he originally faced a serious felony charge of aggravated assault for allegedly grabbing the officer's wrists outside a bar after a bouncer denied him entrance Jan. 8.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Residents facing eviction from Penn Plaza and their supporters rallied on the steps of the City-County building Tuesday afternoon, calling on the city to step up efforts to increase access to affordable housing.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

When a company grows and adds satellite offices, it can often be difficult for the main office to stay connected to its remote locations.

Pittsburgh-based company NetBeez connects each site.

“I was imagining, you know, a lot of devices that are buzzing in the network and having all these devices they work like a swarm,” NetBeez co-founder Panickos Neophytou said. “It was a network of bees, so NetBeez came to mind and that is when we adopted the name.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Recently, several of Renee Christman’s English as a second language students have asked her what the word “illegal” means.

Many of her students at Paynter Elementary School in Baldwin are refugees and she said they’re aware of President Donald Trump’s immigration orders and that their parents are concerned. Her students collectively speak eight languages and about 15 to 20 different languages are spoken in the Baldwin-Whitehall school district.

Wystan / Flickr

From Obama-era task forces to widespread protests, the idea of community policing has become part of our national conversation. 

On this week's episode of the Criminal Injustice podcast, University of Pittsburgh law professor and host David Harris talked to Jerry Clayton, the elected sheriff of Washtenaw County, Mich. Now in his third term, Clayton started overhauling the department of 400 officers eight years ago with service and sustainability in mind.

Interest In Small Game Hunting Dwindling Locally

Feb 21, 2017
Torrey Wiley / Flickr

Small game hunting can be a big challenge.

Some small game species have become scarce and so have hunters who like chasing after them.

Results from the California Hill Gun Club's 23 annual "Small Game Hunting Classic" held in mid-January offered a pretty clear reflection of the state of small game hunting in Pennsylvania.

About 150 hunters used to take part in the event in which cash prizes are awarded to teams that returned with the most rabbits and grouse, but this year's classic drew only 73 hunters.

Jeremy Keith / Flickr

This week, WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Josh Raulerson and Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh hang out at 21st Street Coffee and Tea in the Strip District. This weekend is full of dance parties, beer and … Harry Potter.

Kick off the weekend with Pittsburgh Beerfest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. It runs Friday and Saturday and features beers from around the country, as well as local brews from Yellow Bridge, 412 Brewery, Arsenal Cider, Church Brew Works and more.

John Bazemore / AP

Pennsylvania has the fifth most hate groups in the US—a title it’s now claimed for the second year running, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center study.

PixController via YouTube

Pittsburgh's pair of bald eagles apparently have a new egg a week after their nest was lost when the tree was toppled by high winds.

After losing the nest Feb. 12, the pair started to build a new nest near the old one in a tree on a hill overlooking the Monongahela River.

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania said Monday that without a clear view of the new nest from a webcam, observers have deduced the presence of an egg by the birds' behavior.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Declining enrollment is causing the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to restructure some of its elementary schools.

Last weekend, Diocese officials announced that 10 elementary schools in the North Hills would be put under a single administration. The changes will go into effect next fall.

Bishop David Zubik said now, all 32 regional parishes will support those schools.

Joseph Kaczmarek / AP

Heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness. For some people, crossing a bridge induces the same physiological responses as those experienced by an animal frozen in fear, said Dr. Rolf Jacob, a professor of psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh.

Google Maps

Students from a Bucks County school plan to show community solidarity after a Ku Klux Klan flier was found near a home.

WCAU-TV reports that students at Central Bucks High School West will join the advocacy group Showing Up for Racial Justice to hold a rally Monday. SURJ is a national grassroots organization that focuses on mobilizing white allies for civil rights causes.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Ketchup maker and packaged food giant Kraft Heinz has withdrawn a $143 billion offer to buy Unilever, backing away after the mayonnaise, tea and seasonings maker rejected the bid as too low.

The companies announced the decision Sunday in a joint press release, saying that Kraft Heinz has "amicably" abandoned the offer.

The deal would have combined Kraft Heinz brands such as Oscar Mayer, Jell-O and Velveeta with Unilever's Hellman's, Lipton and Knorr. The merged company would have rivaled Nestle as the world's biggest packaged food maker by sales.

Pittsburgh Prison Already Shrinking As Closing Gets Underway

Feb 20, 2017
Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The process of closing a massive state prison complex in Pittsburgh has made progress in the weeks since it was announced, including the transfer of some inmates to other facilities and a decision by the Corrections Department about where it will relocate the prison's medical and therapeutic programs.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

 


 

Robots are great at doing a lot of things, but they have trouble interacting with the physical world. That challenge is being tackled by roboticists in Pittsburgh — and they’re looking to infants for inspiration.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The number of Pittsburgh police officers is on track to reach its highest number in 15 years, city officials said just one day after installing new Chief Scott Schubert.

On Friday, a class of seven new Pittsburgh police officers were sworn in – all experienced and coming from other regional departments.

Mayor Bill Peduto said the city has made intentional efforts to attract outside talent.

PA Department of Environmental Protection

Pennsylvania environmental regulators are set to release the findings of their investigation into a series of minor earthquakes that took place near fracking operations by an oil and gas company.

The quakes were recorded last April about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh and three-quarters of a mile from a natural gas well owned by Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. They were too weak to be felt by humans and no damage was reported.

'Human Library' Allows Penn State Community To Check Out Diverse Life Experiences

Feb 17, 2017
Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

Brian Davis is well-known around campus, and not just because the Penn State junior is always wearing a suit. He's triple majoring and double minoring, is actively involved in organizations across campus and has the ear of the University's president.

But that's not where his story begins.

"So my story is about me growing up in West Philadelphia, and for me joining a gang, and to how that was for me every single day," said Davis. "Whether that was getting shot at, fearing for my life, or fighting just because that was the mental capacity I had at the time."

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The city of Zumala sits on the Nile Delta. Edible mushrooms feed on plastic waste and plants filter the water for residents and businesses. Suspended tubular trains carry the city’s 300,000 people from place to place, high above the buildings.

The fictional city cost less than $100 to build and was designed by 10 middle-schoolers.

David Bachman / Pittsburgh Opera

There is no fancy set, no elaborate costumes. Just a small three-level stage, a string quartet and two opera singers — who both happen to be playing the same person.

“My character is Hannah Before; Hannah before she transitions to female,” said Brian Vu, a resident artist with the Pittsburgh Opera.

Fellow resident artist Taylor Raven is Hannah After.

Alan Diaz / AP

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.

This week's topics include Ford Motor Company  investing $1 billion into Pittsburgh company Argo AI. We'll discuss a reports recommendations for helping children in the juvenile justice system. Discover which politicians in the state took in the most PAC money in 2015-16 and another medical malpractice suit, regarding fungal infections, has been filed against UPMC.

Andrew Harnik / AP

President Trump held a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. In an event arranged the same morning, he first announced his new pick for Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, a law school dean and former US Attorney. He made an extended opening statement in defense of his administration, trumpeting accomplishments and blasting his critics and the news media. He then opened the floor for questions, which lasted more than an hour.

Chris Stalnaker / 90.5 WESA

About 100 local immigrants and supporters gathered in Beechview Thursday morning to protest the policies of President Donald Trump and show solidarity with their neighbors.

Matt Rourke / AP

After weeks of constituents demanding more access, Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey held an over-the-phone town hall from Washington D.C. on Thursday afternoon.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb on Thursday released a draft of the performance audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Thursday with 53 recommended changes.

The audit was concurrent with widespread customer billing and meter problems, issues of lead in drinking water and inconsistent leadership.

alamosbasement/ Flickr

The union representing Pittsburgh Public School teachers is offering resources explaining how they can help immigrant and refugee children whose families are at risk of deportation.  

Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, said teachers have asked the union for ways they could support their students.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A former West Mifflin Area High School football player who suffered a concussion in 2009 is suing the school district, the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Lawyers for Shane Skillpa, 23, said his helmet and the helmet of another student broke during a drill that required the boys to run headlong into each other. The incident occurred during a summer practice between Skillpa's freshman and sophomore years.

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