Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

One year after Pittsburgh’s Wage Review Committee released its report detailing the hardships faced by low-wage workers in the city, Councilman Ricky Burgess said there is still more work to do.

Burgess counted among the victories of the last year the unionization of workers at Allegheny General Hospital and UPMC’s pledge to raise wages for service workers to $15 per hour by 2021.

In addition, workers at four other hospitals in the Pittsburgh region will see starting wages increased by $15 per hour over the next three to five years.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Donna and Steve Dzurilla live in a single-story home on a quiet street in Lincoln Place. They’re just barely in the city limits, surrounded by neighboring West Mifflin.

The walls of their home are lined with photos of places not far from their house, places that mean a lot to their families: the steel mills.


Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

On the day she was released from prison, Katy Anke and her parents learned there was an open bed at a private treatment facility near Pittsburgh. She could check herself in at 10 a.m. the following day. After weeks of trying to find a place that would take her, it sounded perfect.  

Google Maps


Usually, inadequate representation lawsuits go like this: your lawyer does a bad job defending your case, you're found guilty, and then you seek a new trial on the grounds of insufficient counsel. It's a single response to a single instance of misrepresentation. 

But what if a public defender system is so chronically underfunded and understaffed that criminal defendants know going into their case that they won't be able to get a proper defense? Must they wait, individually, for their case to be tried and then hope for some sort of relief? 

Evan Vucci / AP


On Monday afternoon, the line to enter the Donald Trump rally in Ambridge, a small town near Pittsburgh, stretched for blocks. The rally was held in the field house of the Ambridge Area High School. 

Before the speech, protesters stood on the other side of the street chanting, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Donald Trump go away.” Several young women held signs that read, “Students against bigotry.”

James Thomas Finley was visiting Ambridge, and watched from a nearby porch. He said he can't believe Donald Trump is running for president.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Residents, developers and businesses curious about building permits they’ve submitted or the status of construction in their neighborhood can now access information directly from their phones or computers.

Chuck Szmurko / Wikipedia

Though Pittsburgh lost out on the $50 million Smart Cities grant, city officials are still participating in a project called MetroLab, under the same federal initiative.

The MetroLab network is a city-university partnership that’s part of the White House’s Smart Cities project, where schools serve as research and development arms.

Patrick Semansky / AP


A western Pennsylvania school district is ending classes early over concerns about more protesters arriving for Donald Trump's scheduled rally at its high school field house.

Trump is scheduled to speak at 3:30 p.m. Monday at Ambridge Area High School before he travels to northeastern Pennsylvania for a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena near Wilkes-Barre at 7 p.m.

Sue Ogrocki / AP


Chesapeake Energy, which is facing a royalty owners revolt here in Pennsylvania, will have to share more details of their accounting practices with the U.S. Department of Justice. The company revealed in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the Justice Department has subpoenaed records on the gas driller’s accounting methods for “the acquisition and classification of oil and gas properties and related matters.”


Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in the second presidential debate Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.



Katie Meyer / WITF


Faculty members from Pennsylvania's state university system are rallying over the continuing lack of a contract agreement.

The professors at the 14 state-owned schools have been without one for more than a year, and negotiations between the system and the union aren't going well.

A walkout is scheduled for Oct. 19, and many think it's looking like a very real possibility.

As hundreds of faculty members carried signs in front of state higher education headquarters in Harrisburg, several students also milled around.



A state agency says it mistakenly cleared 28 people to work with children without noting their past.

The state Department of Human Services says it should have included incidents of abuse or neglect to the reports for the 28 people who pursued clearances through the state's Childline.

DHS blames its IT system for mistakes in eight of the cases, but says employees failed to note incidents in the other 20 cases.

The agency says it's made changes, is providing re-training for employees, and has hired a consultant to provide an independent review.

Matt Rourke / AP


Bill Cosby's lawyers say his Pennsylvania sexual assault case followed "a perfect storm" of mistakes and misconduct by a federal judge, an ambitious prosecutor and a celebrity lawyer.

They argue in a filing Thursday that the 79-year-old Cosby can't properly defend the decade-old accusation when key witnesses have died and evidence has been lost.

Cosby is set for trial in June on charges he drugged and molested a Temple University employee in 2004. He calls their encounter consensual.

Matt Slocum / AP


A judge has ordered the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to pay a former worker more than $3 million after finding he was wrongly fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on agency practices.

Ralph Bailets sued the turnpike commission and two of its officials over his 2008 termination. He says he was dismissed for questioning a major computer contract, hiring practices and how large trucking firms qualify for E-ZPass discounts.

Prosecutors in 2013 used his testimony to file corruption charges against several agency officials.

Cliff Owen / AP


U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's rating from the National Rifle Association has dropped after the Pennsylvania Republican went against gun-rights groups and voted to support expanded background checks.

Toomey's new C-rating is a downgrade from the A-rating and hearty endorsement the NRA gave him when he last ran in 2010.

Toomey is being challenged by Democrat Katie McGinty, who favors a broad range of gun-control measures and has drawn an F-rating from the NRA. The neck-and-neck race could help decide control of the Senate.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

It has been one week since the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra laid down their instruments and took up picket signs.

Gene Puskar / AP

The uninsured rate in the U.S. is at a record low and studies show Pittsburgh is beating the average.

According to research from the personal finance website WalletHub, Pittsburgh ranks 8th in the nation among the 64 largest cities, with a 6.42 percent uninsured rate. That compares to a national average of 8.6 percent.

University of Pittsburgh health economist Lindsay Sabik said having health insurance doesn’t always lead to access to affordable health care.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Diabetes cases are continuing to rise in the U.S. and according to the World Health Organization, the disease is projected to be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP


Former President George W. Bush is in Philadelphia Friday to raise campaign money for Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

The event at the Union League in Center City includes a "VIP photo session" and a luncheon. It's closed to the media, as are many political fundraisers.

"He's going to raise a lot of money," said insurance executive and GOP fundraiser Manuel Stamatakis, a member of the host committee for the event. "I ask people for money all the time, but I've had people calling me, unsolicited, saying they want to contribute to Pat Toomey."

Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP

When Steelers punter Jordan Berry was growing up in Melbourne, Australia, he didn’t follow American professional football and didn’t know there was such a thing as college football. But with his strong leg, developed playing Australian Rules football, he was offered an athletic scholarship by Eastern Kentucky University. He excelled there and was signed by the Steelers in 2015. 

Now, in his second season in Pittsburgh, Berry said the biggest adjustment to playing American football was learning how to be ready to come into the game cold.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has nearly 25,000 vacant lots, according to GTECH Strategies. 

GTECH Project Manager James Snow said blight is hard to define, but it could be an empty lot or an abandoned house.

  How is your transition to fall going? Have you fully submersed yourself in everything pumpkin? Don’t panic, but if you don’t have a costume by now (Rachel), you are running out of time! Luckily, WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to tell you all the events that will distract you from your lack of costume and get you into the fall spirit!

Penn State Hershey Medical Center


The National Institutes of Health is awarding a $20 million grant to Penn State Health's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.

The funds essentially aim to use scientific discoveries to make healthier communities.

The money will go towards training programs for faculty, staff and students, groundbreaking research, as well as a data system that will be able to analyze information to predict and prevent disease.

It will connect research done at 10 different schools and institutes at Penn State.

Rick Smith / AP


Dozens of workers at the Pennsylvania plant that makes marshmallow Peeps are back on the picket line after learning they permanently lost their jobs during the three-week strike.

The Morning Call of Allentown reports most of the 400 employees at Just Born Quality Confections went back to their jobs Monday, ending the walkout.

Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 6 offered to continue working under an expired contract and the company agreed.

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

  After wending their way through a convoluted, controversial five-year process, new regulations for Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drillers are set to take effect Saturday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Urban Pathways College Charter School elementary students and teachers gathered in their cafeteria Wednesday morning to send off two of their own selected to participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Garden Party.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

When then-Pittsburgh Mayor Richard Caliguiri died from amyloidosis in 1988 not much was known about the disease. Since then, research and awareness has increased and now an endowed chair is being created to further research and treatment at the University of Pittsburgh.

Amyloidosis is a systemic disease that usually attacks the heart but can impact other internal organs.

Elaine Thomson / AP

Three transgender seniors at Pine-Richland high school have sued the district for changing its rules about which restrooms they must use. They are being represented by Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization that focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA


Sara Middleton and Catlyn Brooke both teach cross fit at the Allegheny YMCA on the North Side.


They renovated the upstairs studio themselves. Middleton built the barbell racks, as well as a huge structure for pull up rings and high bars.


  “I fell in love with it and I got certified to teach,” Brooke said.


Gene J. Puskar / AP

A farewell to the King turned somber when Jack Nicklaus, his voice cracking as a large tear formed in his left eye, urged the elite and the everyman to remember how Arnold Palmer touched their lives and "please don't forget why."

"I hurt like you hurt," Nicklaus said. "You don't lose a friend of 60 years and don't feel an enormous loss."