News

Matt Slocum / AP

Prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia plan to retry Bill Cosby after his two-week sexual assault trial ended Saturday in a mistrial, with the jury unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the three counts. Cosby is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home near Philadelphia in 2004. The entertainer says what happened was consensual.

Some key things to know about the retrial:

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WHEN WILL IT BE?

Coca-Cola's marketing efforts during the weekend's heatwave in Pittsburgh backfired when the company mistakenly used a map of Philadelphia in a post on Twitter.

Allegheny County Police

A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed drug and weapons charges stemming from a 2013 case against two men who were later charged in an ambush at a Wilkinsburg cookout that killed five adults and an unborn child last year.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David Cashman on Monday granted a dismissal request from defense attorneys for 29-year-old Cheron Shelton and 27-year-old Robert Thomas along with a third defendant in the drug case, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a 2013 memo last month written by his predecessor, Eric Holder. Sessions told prosecutors that not only will they abide by previously set mandatory minimum prison sentences, they would seek the harshest punishments possible.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is seeking public input as it finalizes plans for Pittsburgh's long-awaited bus rapid transit system.

Riders can offer suggestions at upcoming neighborhood meetings about street design, station locations and what amenities they’d like to see at each station, like benches and Connect Card machines. They'll also offer general updates and allow for questions about the planning process, spokesman Adam Brandolph said.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County has thousands of employees, but one of them has a rather unusual title. 

Several Pennsylvania newspapers will be under new management this summer. 

GateHouse Media, a behemoth conglomerate overseen by New Media Investment Group, is slated to finalize purchase of The Beaver County Times, Ellwood City Ledger, The Bucks County Courier Times, The Intelligencer (Doylestown), the Burlington County (New Jersey) Times and Calkins Digital in June.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Fifty military cybersecurity experts are defending the online infrastructure of their imaginary nations at the Cyber Endeavor X Games this week.

Now in its sixth year, the five-day competition is being held at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Roughly 3,900 Pennsylvanians died of opioid-related overdoses last year.

State Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa wants Pennsylvania to sue pharmaceutical companies for what he characterizes as deceptive marketing of opioids.

StoryCorps Pittsburgh: Ike and Ada Ezekoye

Jun 18, 2017
StoryCorps

Husband and wife Ike and Ada Ezekoye discuss how events in their home country of Nigeria have influenced their lives in Pittsburgh

Overcoming Opioids: Easing An Epidemic 1 Doctor At A Time

Jun 17, 2017
Carla K. Johnson / AP

Even doctors can be addicted to opioids, in a way: It's hard to stop prescribing them.

Melissa Jones is on a mission to break doctors of their habit, and in the process try to turn the tide of the painkiller epidemic that has engulfed 2 million Americans.

It was in doctors' offices where the epidemic began, and it's in doctors' offices where it must be fought. So Jones is using some of the same tactics pharmaceutical sales forces used to push their potent pills into communities — this time, to get them out.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The number of people unemployed in Pennsylvania is up slightly over the past month, increasing by 8,000.

The state Labor and Industry Department issued seasonally adjusted data Friday showing the Pennsylvania's jobless rate rose one tenth of a percentage point to 5 percent in May, up from 4.9 percent in April.

It's the second month in a row the figure has increased. The national rate is 4.3 percent, down by one tenth of a point from the prior month.

PIZW / Flickr

The bright purple airplane landing at PIT on Friday inaugurates year-round, nonstop service to Reykjavik, Iceland. It’s just one of several new destinations added to the airport this year.

While Pittsburgh will never be the hub it was throughout the 1990s, the goal is to make it really work for the region, said Alyson Walls, airport communications manager.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penguins officials estimate 650,000 people showed up for this year’s Stanley Cup victory parade after captain Sidney Crosby led the team to their second consecutive NHL title. 

Kris Hart

If there's a checklist for starting a political campaign, one item would have to be, "Am I qualified to run?"

Businessman Kris Hart planned to announce his candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Thursday, but quickly changed his plans after he learned — from me, I'm afraid — that he didn't meet the state residency requirement to serve as governor.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Recently, the East Allegheny School District broke ground on its first charter school.

5th Day Of Deliberations Begins At Cosby's Sex Assault Trial

Jun 16, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Bill Cosby is thanking his fans and supporters as a jury considers sexual assault charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Cosby tweeted the message on Friday shortly after jurors asked to review his lurid testimony about giving quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with. 

Jurors considering the fate of Cosby at his sexual assault trial returned for a fifth day of deliberations on Friday, a day after telling the judge they were deadlocked on all charges.

Zeevveez / Flickr

A contentious bill to prohibit municipalities from taxing or banning plastic bags has passed the legislature, and now faces a potential veto at the hands of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.

Several manufacturers of the plastic used for disposable shopping bags are based around Pennsylvania, and employ over a thousand people. The Republican sponsors of the bill say that’s the main reason they’re supporting it.

Gov. Tom Wolf / 90.5 WESA

With a little over two weeks until the state budget is due, House and Senate Republicans have been holding closed meetings to hash out details.

Few concrete plans are available, but GOP leaders say they’re on roughly the same page on spending.

A few months ago House Republicans released their budget proposal, which would spend about $800 million less than Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s blueprint and not raise taxes.

The Senate’s GOP majority hasn’t released its own plan yet, and it’s unclear if they will.

Desiree Williams / Flickr

An immersive theater production will take visitors to places normally off-limits at the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. 

Rusty Blazenhoff

Governor Tom Wolf said Thursday that Pennsylvania doesn’t need the federal government interfering with the state’s developing medical marijuana program.

Googlemaps

The League of Women Voters is leading a new lawsuit seeking to throw out the map of Pennsylvania's congressional districts as an unconstitutional gerrymander that favors Republicans and violates the rights of Democratic voters.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in the state Commonwealth Court. It is the first to challenge districts originally drawn by Republican state lawmakers in 2011. It says Pennsylvania's map is one of the worst gerrymanders in the country.

Tensions Rise As Bill Cosby Jury Struggles To Reach Verdict

Jun 15, 2017
Matt Slocum / AP

As deliberations in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial continue into a fourth day Thursday, nerves are frayed, patience is shot and no one is certain when it will all end.

Some jurors appeared angry, the judge sounded exasperated and accuser Andrea Constand's mother broke down in tears Wednesday.

The sequestered jury has been at it for more than 27 hours since getting the case Monday, pausing a half-dozen times to revisit key evidence, including Cosby's decade-old admissions that he fondled Constand after giving her pills.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University’s provost and chief academic officer, Farnam Jahanian, will take over as the school’s interim president next month.

The university’s board of trustees appointed Jahanian Wednesday. He’ll take over July 1.

Jahanian will follow Subra Suresh, who announced nearly two weeks ago that he will step down after a record-short tenure.

Matt Rourke / AP

A group of legislative Democrats are pushing no fewer than twelve bills on voter registration in the House and Senate. They would model expanded voting and voter registration in Pennsylvania after reforms already done in other states.

However, Democrats haven’t even been able to get the measures past the first stage of consideration in the GOP-controlled chambers—the House and Senate State Government Committees.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The tension between charter school advocates and those who support traditional schools often comes down to money. Charters are public and funded by tax dollars, but many argue the schools siphon scarce resources.

Last year, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called for an overhaul of the state’s charter school law.

“I am not saying we have the worst charter schools in the United States, " he said. "I am saying we have the worst charter school law in the United States." 

Irina Zhorov / Keystone Crossroads

The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously agreed Tuesday to create a bipartisan group tasked with investigating lead exposure in the state.

Cosby Jury Reviews Accuser's Testimony Amid Deliberations

Jun 14, 2017
Matt Slocum / AP

Jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial reviewed portions of his accuser's testimony Wednesday as they deliberated for a third day over whether the 79-year-old star drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia estate.

Jurors made the request to have portions of Andrea Constand's testimony read back to them after deliberating about 21 hours without reaching a verdict in a case that has already helped demolish Cosby's nice-guy reputation.

Constand, 44, who spent seven hours on the stand last week, was in the gallery as the jury scrutinized her story.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Pittsburgh Penguins' Stanley Cup victory parade and rally drew an estimated 650,000 people downtown. Not bad for a city that, officially, has only 305,000 residents.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is working to address the issue of lead in drinking water "on every front," according to Mayoral spokesman Tim McNulty.

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