News

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

For someone in hospice, a song might not cure them, but it could help brighten their final days.

“It’s not about healing, it’s not about making people feel better,” said Cindy Harris. “I often say that what we do is traveling music. We are all walking the same path in life… the only difference is that the person we’re singing to, they’re much closer to the end of the path.”

Harris is the director of the Pittsburgh Threshold Choir, which sends small groups of singers to Pittsburgh-area hospice facilities. The roughly 20 members offer bedside songs to those who are ill.

Flickr user Ecig Click

The Allegheny County Health Department is seeking public input on a proposed rule that would ban e-cigarettes and vaping from many indoor spaces. A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m.

The ban would apply to places where smoking is also currently prohibited under the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 30 men, mostly coaches and athletic directors, at the Sewall Center at Robert Morris University this week were asked one important question: "Who here was ever taught about consent?"

No one raised his hand.

Art Gentile / Bucks County Courier Times via AP, Pool

  A political consultant for Attorney General Kathleen Kane says her security agents took him to a parking garage, seized his phone, wallet and keys and searched him for a recording device before he had lunch with Kane at a luxury hotel.

Consultant Josh Morrow is testifying Thursday at Kane's perjury and obstruction trial. The first-term Democrat is accused of leaking grand jury files to the press to embarrass a rival.

Kris Knieriem / Hightail

Volunteers painted a vibrant mural at Propel Pitcairn charter school Wednesday in hopes of encouraging students to read more.

 Artist Lynne Mack said she hopes her colorful work, featuring bright-eyed animals gathering books, will inspire kids to read.

“Everything I do, I make gender neutral so that it appeals to both boys and girls,” she said. “They get so excited, they’ll touch it and point to (the animals). They just get so excited about seeing it.”

The mural is on a wall near the entrance to a first grade classroom, so students in all grades will walk past it.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

Nearly three hours of testimony on the use of police body cameras before a state House committee on Wednesday boiled down to three main issues: when to record, how much to release to the public and how long to retain the files.

Veterans Use Glass Art To Connect With Kids

Aug 11, 2016
Katie Zilcosky / 90.5 WESA

    

U.S. Military members develop many skills while serving, but those skills don’t always translate easily into civilian life.

Leadership Pittsburgh’s Community Leadership Course for Veterans tries to use those skills to benefit organizations in and around the Steel City.

“They’re trying to bridge veterans to the community to use their resources and also reintroduce veterans who were in the service for a number of years back to the Pittsburgh region,” said Chris Kowalczyk, a U.S. Army veteran.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is in the midst of a series of “open house” meetings regarding the latest revisions of a plan to build a major toll road between Monroeville and the South Hills.

After meetings in West Mifflin and Oakland earlier this week drew hundreds of people, two additional meetings in Monroeville and Churchill next week will give residents another opportunity to question state officials about the final leg of the long-delayed Mon-Fayette Expressway.

New Research Puts The Spotlight On The Humble, Understudied Moth

Aug 11, 2016
Anita Gould / Flickr

 

Chatham University ecology professor Ryan Utz says a new moon—when the night sky is at its darkest—is a great time to observe moths in the summertime. And it doesn’t take any special technology to get a look at the diversity the moth world has to offer either.

Utz and his students recently set up a four-by-eight-foot white board at the edge of a field and then simply lit it on a dark night to attract some of the 1,500 species of moths that might pay a visit.

Matt Rourke / AP

Donald Trump’s poll numbers are down in Pennsylvania—he currently trails opponent Hillary Clinton by nearly nine points in a recent state average.

But that’s not just bad news for Trump.

In election years, down-ballot races are always affected by the presidential contest. This year’s Senate contest between Democrat Katie McGinty and Republican incumbent Pat Toomey is no exception.

Wes Leckrone, who teaches political science at Widener University, said he is predicting Trump won’t win Pennsylvania.

Alex Loy / Twitter

  The city is increasing police patrols and bringing back an advisory council to try to prevent violence among rowdy teens, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday.

Police made more than a half dozen arrests after several groups of youths gathered Sunday night in Pittsburgh, the final day of the Three Rivers Regatta.

Witnesses said the teens stopped traffic, jumped on vehicles and knocked into bystanders.

Googlemaps

After a fiscal record-keeping scandal prompted a board shakeup and reforms of Pittsburgh’s state-appointed financial oversight board earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority and the city are now close to settling a lawsuit to release $18 million in withheld tax revenue to Pittsburgh's pension funds.

“(ICA board members) still have to vote on Tuesday, but that agreement will release all the money that the city is owed," said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

When students at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA are gone for the weekend, an app-controlled robot can now drop food pellets into their fish tank.

“We thought, what would you like to do?” said Russ White, vice president of technology strategy for Development Dimensions International. “Through talking to them we thought there’s probably a solution there.”   

Justin Wier / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is known for many things, including its bridges, historic inclines and three rivers.

But few likely realize the Steel City is also home to the highest concentration of internationally-ranked pinball players in the world. That’s right, pinball.

Pittsburgh is home to nine of the top 100 players ranked by the International Flipper Pinball Association. Next in line is New York City, which hosts eight players. 

Mark Moz / Flickr

Rent abatement, housing renovations and new affordable housing construction projects could be on the agenda if City Council approves a tax increase worth an estimated $10 million.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools’ new Superintendent Anthony Hamlet, now a month into the job, said student and teacher input will be essential to the district's strategic plan going forward. 

In an update to the school board Tuesday, he called the first phase of his 90-day transition plan, “a listening tour.”

“We must focus on teacher input and best practices when we consider introducing more research-based, proven models that drive student outcomes,” Hamlet said. “But, you must do this by a bottom-up approach with our best teachers taking a leadership role in the conversation.”

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The healthy human gut is home to hundreds of millions of bacteria species.

But people who are missing a few hundred or so particular species are at greater risk for certain health issues, including Crohn’s disease, which is characterized  by chronic inflammation of the bowels. 

Richard Duerr, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is co-senior author of a study linking that lack of gut diversity with a specific genetic variation.

1Hood Media / Facebook

Celeste Smith wants people to know hip-hop has always been alive in Pittsburgh, whether people have seen it or not.

Gerry Broome / AP

 

**UPDATE: This story was updated at 11:45 a.m. to reflect Pence's Pittsburgh comments. 

The Republican nominee for vice president appeared at two campaign events in two different Pennsylvania cities on Tuesday.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence began a town hall at 3 p.m. at the Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center in Lancaster, continuing running-mate Donald Trump’s focus on winning the Keystone state.

Prosecutor: Attorney General Kathleen Kane Acted Over Revenge

Aug 9, 2016
Dan Gleiter / PennLive.com via AP, Pool

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane's criminal trial is underway in Montgomery County.

So far today, jurors heard two conflicting versions of how the state's chief law enforcement officer came to be a defendant.

Prosecutors described Kathleen Kane's actions as "lies, leaks and lawlessness," while her defense team told jurors she did nothing wrong, except make a few, "honest mistakes."

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Voice-activated technologies, like the Amazon Echo speaker, are gaining popularity with people of all abilities.

But Pittsburgh-based Conversant Labs has developed an app that’s aimed at benefiting people with visual impairments. It’s called Yes, Chef! and uses voice commands to lead users through recipes.

“So, your hands are dirty they have like raw chicken, raw meat, you don’t want to have to wash your hands every time to either touch your phone and get food on your phone or on your lap top,” said founder Chris Maury.

No Place But Home / Youtube

Examine the life and storied career of Braddock-based filmmaker Tony Buba in a new documentary short produced in partnership between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Museum of Art. The film, No Place but Home, was produced by Ryan Loew and Matthew Newton. It premiered last week at a CMOA event.

NASA

The Perseid meteor shower is back for its annual mid-summer show, but with more force this year.

Stargazers can catch a glimpse of 100 to 150 meteors – remnants of the Swift Tuttle comet – flying by Earth every hour when celestial activity peaks between late Thursday evening and early Friday. The annual pass usually takes place each year from mid-July to mid-August. 

“All of these little particles of rock burn up in our atmosphere and put on a pretty spectacular show,” said Charissa Sedor, planetarium producer of the Carnegie Science Center’s Buhl Planetarium.

Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

 

Pennsylvania has more trash in its landfills, per person, than every other state, except Nevada. There are 35.4 tons of trash for each person in the state, according to ananalysis of data from the Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, conducted by the energy company SaveOnEnergy.com.

betaylor.com

 

B.E. Taylor, a musician whose annual Christmas concerts and recordings made him well known in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is dead of complications from brain cancer at age 65.

The general manager of a funeral home where Taylor lived in Wheeling, West Virginia, confirmed that he died Sunday. Funeral arrangements will be private.

The Aliquippa native's series of popular Christmas recordings began in 1991 and led to seasonal shows that drew thousands.

A family spokesman says he was working on "B.E. Taylor Christmas 4" at the time of his death.

Ben Allen / WITF

Authorities say a 20-year-old man was holding a knife to his mother's throat before a police officer shot him once and killed him inside the bedroom of the family's Harrisburg home.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said at a news conference Monday that police responding to a child's 911 call found Earl Pinckney holding a knife with a 4-inch blade against the throat of his mother, Kim Thomas.

Thomas is disputing that account, insisting her son didn't have a knife. She said Pinckney, the father of a newborn, was not dangerous.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The needle is in and out in a second. I let my breath return to its normal pace, and I’m given a Tweety Bird bandage as a reward for my maturity.

Lee Jin-man / AP

Leah Smith was not necessarily looking to set any records in the Olympic 4x200m freestyle relay in Rio. As she swam the second leg last night at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Smith realized her job was to keep the United States within striking distance of Australia and China, close enough to give the world’s best female swimmer, Katie Ledecky, a chance to pull ahead of the competition in the anchor leg. And that’s exactly what happened.

The Americans finished the race in 7:43.03, good for the gold medal, Smith’s first of the Olympics.

Sue Seecof / Flickr

Pennsylvania's alcohol regulators are taking applications for permits under the expanded sales of booze approved by the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this summer.

The Liquor Control Board said the law that went into effect Monday lets about 11,000 businesses that currently have what's called restaurant or hotel licenses, which let them sell beer to go, apply for permission to also sell takeout wine.

Eating place licenses that sell beer to go, typically pizza shops or similar establishments, can apply to upgrade to a restaurant license.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Pittsburgh Public school administrators began training for the district’s new transgender nondiscrimination policy which goes into effect this school year.

Vanessa Davis, executive director of THRIVE, said the policy, which will allow transgender and gender expansive students, those who identify outside of gender categories, to use pronouns, names and bathrooms they identify with, is a large undertaking. Any change stemming from the policy won’t come overnight, she said.

Pages