William Real / Flickr

Pittsburgh’s old property violations system was, in a word, cumbersome.

“A citizen would put a call into 311. We would then print out that call here (and) manually hand it to an inspector. They would then go out, see the property, inspect it, write on the back of the paper if there was a violation and then give it to someone to be typed up, and then we’d actually mail it out,” said Maura Kennedy, director of the Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections, or PLI. “That took weeks.”

Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

Allegheny County can no longer hold individuals based on solely on their suspected illegal immigration status, according to a settlement reached Wednesday with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As Syria continues to be shattered by its civil war, the U.S. and Russia are at odds about the best strategy to stabilize the nation and neutralize ISIS. While The Islamic State and other extremist organizations add to the complexity of the conflict, there are many questions to be answered. What are Moscow's goals in Syria? Should the U.S. play a more active role? We'll put those question to Dr. Colin P. Clarke, Associate Political Scientist for the RAND Corporation.

(CC-BY 3.0)

Updated: 3:15 p.m.  

Carnegie Mellon University is facing renewed criticism over its alleged role in a massive takedown of "Dark Web" sites last year.  

Simon Brass / flickr

Children of incarcerated parents face social, emotional and academic difficulties at a far higher rate than their peers.  These kids are at increased risk for negative behavior and potential future criminal activity.  One group, Amachi Pittsburgh, is working to stop the cycle of incarceration and provide opportunity for children. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Perhaps what Attorney General Kathleen Kane needs is an asterisk – a footnote, or some other kind of small explanation of her current situation.

That’s what one legal ethicist advised in testimony Tuesday to the state Senate committee considering Kane’s removal in light of her law license suspension last month.

Johnny Lucus / Flickr

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, defined as 30 grams, or about an ounce.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

The Monongahela Incline is scheduled to reopen Wednesday ahead of its long-stated Light Up Night goal.

The 635-foot incline closed for renovations Sept. 8.

Jennifer Szweda Jordan / 90.5 WESA

Smart home resident Michael Rankin loves his oven. 

“If you put your arm on it, you don’t get burned,” he said.

The induction stovetop, which works by heating only when certain types of pots or pans are on top, stays cool to the touch even when it’s being used. That technology is one of a myriad of clever features incorporated into a "smart home" in Aliquippa designed to cater to its four inhabitants all living with disabilities.

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

The newly-dubbed UPMC Rooney Sports Complex will house the Pittsburgh Steelers practice facility for 15 more years as it undergoes an additional $10 million expansion this summer, UPMC and Steelers officials announced Tuesday.

“And of course the major piece of the puzzle will be the expansion of the training facility on the first floor, which will include an expanded weight room and conditioning room,” said current franchise President Art Rooney II.

'Peanuts' Legacy Continues 65 Years After Debut

Nov 17, 2015

This is a big year for Peanuts. Charles M. Schulz’ classic strip debuted in newspapers 65 years ago. Charlie Brown and company are in their first theatrical movie in 35 years. Also, the annual Christmas special turns 50 this year. Joining us for a look at the Peanuts gang is cartoonist and pop culture contributor Joe Wos who was the first resident cartoonist for the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

Professor Stresses 'Vigilance' Following Paris Attacks

Nov 17, 2015
Alastair Grant / AP Images

Since the tragic events that rocked Paris last Friday the world has been on high alert. How should the nation be reacting to the terrorist event that shook Paris?  We’re posing this question to Michael Botta, associate professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Intelligence Studies at Point Park University and a former counter terrorism special agent.

Allegheny County / Twitter


A large, smoky chemical warehouse fire near Pittsburgh forced residents from about 70 nearby homes and injured multiple people.

Emergency crews on Tuesday moved people living near Weatherford Engineered Chemicals in Leetsdale to a high school gymnasium as a precaution.

The evacuation order has since been lifted, according to county officials. 


Leave extra travel time if you plan to take Parkway East this weekend.

The inbound and outbound sides are scheduled to close in spots starting 11 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Monday.

The outbound detour begins at the Oakland exit, but drivers should be able to access the outbound parkway from the Squirrel Hill/Homestead and Edgewood/Swissvale entrances.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

Steubenville, Ohio made headlines in 2012 when a high school girl was raped by a group of boys after she passed out following a night of partying. The assault was captured on cell phones and shared on social media, forcing the town and the country into a conversation about sexual violence against female students.

That night, what lead up to it and its aftermath are the subject of the play ‘Good Kids’ being performed through Sunday by University of Pittsburgh students at the Stephen Foster Memorial. 

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA News

Pittsburgh may be the City of Champions, but a high smoking rate is not the competition its residents should want to win, said Allegheny County Councilman Tom Baker.

Reducing Implicit Bias In The Judicial Process

Nov 17, 2015
Ronnie Macdonald / flickr

The Supreme Court considers what it takes to show prosecutors are discriminating against minorities when selecting juries.  This practice is known as implicit bias, and continues to become more prevalent. 

David Harris, a University of Pittsburgh Law professor, will soon head to the White House to address this practice.  He explains that implicit bias causes us to make quick judgments about people or groups of people, resulting in unintended discrimination.

Lionel Cironneau / AP

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and several American states saying they will not accept Syrian refugees, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto remained steadfast in keeping the city open to those fleeing their homeland. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

If you're headed out for a night on the South Side, you could find yourself having to pay for parking past 6 p.m.

City officials are planning on eventually enforcing parking meters through midnight.

They haven't said when the change would take effect, but hope to start enforcing it in the coming months. 

This comes as part of the new initiative developed by Mayor Bill Peduto, City Council President Bruce Kraus and Nighttime Economy Coordinator Allison Harden to ensure a safer business district on East Carson Street in the South Side.

A+ Schools

A+ Schools' annual analysis of Pittsburgh Public Schools noted again a troubling academic disparity between the district's black and white students.

“The gap is in the 30s,” said Carey Harris, the Pittsburgh-based advocacy group's executive director. “That’s got to be a focus, and I think probably the No. 1 concern leading up to that (will) be attendance and suspensions.”

Mary Wilson / WHYY

Tiny preschoolers and K-12 school students took Monday off to join school board members and exasperated parents calling for an end to the state budget impasse, as Gov. Tom Wolf signaled a budget deal wouldn’t be ready before December. 

Members of the advocacy coalition known as Campaign for Fair Education Funding fanned out throughout the Capitol building to meet individually with their lawmakers and ask for a finalized state budget.

Integrating The Arts Into STEM Curriculum

Nov 16, 2015
Eddie Welker / flickr

Creating the formula for the perfect curriculum can be a complex issue, requiring balance between subjects, instructors and policy advocates.

For several years, there’s been an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but many education experts are now pushing for an equal emphasis on the creative arts.

Uncovering Details About 'The Day Hitler Died'

Nov 16, 2015
The Day Hitler Died / Smithsonian Channel

Following the reported death of Adolf Hitler at the end of World War II, speculations arose about his potential escape, with some claiming that the dictator was still alive somewhere.  Judge Michael Musmanno, a Pittsburgh native, naval officer, and controversial judge in the Nuremburg Trials, made it his mission to prove that Hitler was, indeed, dead and gone.  

Michael Sorg / Flickr

The country’s second-largest for-profit education provider will have to pay the U.S. government nearly $100 million in a landmark settlement.

Authorities said in a news conference Monday that Education Management Corporation, or EDMC, which is based in Pittsburgh, agreed to the settlement after receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money while using predatory recruiting practices.

Screengrab / Twitter

As the state budget impasse continues, organizations that provide assistance to those in need across Pennsylvania are going into debt to cover costs.

Victim Outreach Intervention Center (VOICe) is one of those. The Butler County organization provides services to individuals and families who are survivors of sexual, domestic and other types of violence. Executive Director Heidi Artman said the organization relies heavily on state funding and she sums up the last few months as such.

NIAID / Flickr

 When the word “bioterrorism” comes up in conversation, an anthrax-laced envelope might come to mind. But what about terrorists utilizing mosquitos to spread a virus?

That’s the type of bio-warfare the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research is focusing on fighting.

A $7.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, allows researchers to accelerate the development of drugs and vaccines against alphaviruses, a group of about 30 different viruses that are mainly transmitted by mosquitoes.

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

  The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council is launching a website they hope will be the go-to source to find all arts and cultural events in the city.

Arts organizations can post gallery openings, theater and dance performances and other cultural events to the new site – Artsburgh. Users can scroll through the calendar or create a profile to distinguish what types of events are most important to them.

Chris Pizzello / AP Images

While many may know him as the cool, tough Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli on TV’s “Happy Days,” actor, author and director Henry Winkler has earned fame through a lifetime of achievements both on the screen and through his philanthropic work. Most recently, he served as the keynote speaker at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Second Annual Men’s Night Out last week.  Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with Winkler to reflect on his many acting roles, his Jewish identity and the challenges of growing up with a disability.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The governing boards of two of the region’s public radio stations, 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP, are merging into a single 501(c) 3.

Gov. Tom Wolf is asking Pennsylvania residents to be vigilant and report suspicious activity following the Paris terror attacks but says "there remains no known imminent threat" to the commonwealth.

Wolf said the Office of Homeland Security has advised him that police in Philadelphia have stepped up security for the weekend. He said citizens may also experience increased security in other areas of the commonwealth.

The governor said Pennsylvania residents "should be vigilant, remain patient and be respectful" to law enforcement officers.