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Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation Sunday to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, ending a nearly two-year effort to approve use of the drug. 

Pennsylvania is now the 24th state to make it legal.

Dr. Loren Robinson, Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, said it will take up to 24 months to implement the program.

“This includes the process of finding and setting up the growers and distributors, setting up dispensaries and identifying and certifying patients and providers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Robinson said.

David Amsler / Flickr

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is backing new proposals to give a person’s low-level criminal offenses a limited shelf life in Pennsylvania.

Plans in the House and Senate would automatically seal low-level criminal records in Pennsylvania after a person has had no criminal activity for five to 10 years. The legislation builds on a plan enacted into law this year to let people with minor offenses ask a judge to seal their criminal records.

Nadya Peek / Flickr

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the April 26 primary is Tuesday, and Chris Borick, a political scientist at Muhlenberg College, said he expects more absentee voters than in previous years.

“That’s not surprising given that the primary season this year is actually relevant on both the Democratic and Republican sides,” said Borick. “There’s actual competition this year.”

In the 2012 Pennsylvania presidential primary, there were 280,000 absentee ballots cast, according to the state Bureau of Elections. 

Seth Perlman / AP

 

More than 100 water systems in Pennsylvania have had lead levels above a federal threshold at least once since 2013, according to an Associated Press analysis of the data.

Wikipedia

Pennsylvania is now officially the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.  Following an arduous legislative battle, Governor Tom Wolf signed the Medical Marijuana Act Sunday, which will take effect in 30 days. 

Representative Dan Frankel of Allegheny County has been a longtime supporter of the measure.  He says an engaged governor and emotional advocacy from families of children struggling with chronic illnesses were both imperative in passing this legislation.

Keith Srakocic / AP

  Donald Trump addressed a crowd of more than 8,000 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

The following segment may contain language from the audience that may be inappropriate to younger or more sensitive listeners.

This is the full, unedited recording.

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Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Local officials joined U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) on Friday in calling on Congress to approve funding for grants that would help municipal police departments fight terrorism locally.

While the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee did approve a bill in February to formally authorize the eight-month-old Office of Community Partnerships in the Department of Homeland Security, the committee declined to pass the accompanying language that would allow the office to give grants to municipalities, nonprofits and universities.

Remembering Jackie Robinson's Debut At Forbes Field

Apr 15, 2016
Wikipedia

Philadelphia is officially apologizing today to Jackie Robinson for the abuse he endured in the City of Brotherly Love when he and the Dodgers arrived to play the Phillies during Robinson's rookie year of 1947. In Philadelphia, Robinson was refused service by a local hotel and taunted by Phillies manager Ben Chapman, who, along with his players, hurled racial slurs at Robinson each time he came to bat. We'll talk with baseball author and historian Richard "Pete" Peterson about this and what happened when Robinson made his first big league appearance at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.

 

Prevention Point Pittsburgh Celebrates 20 Years

Apr 15, 2016
Todd Huffman / flickr

Since they began in the Hill District in 1995, Prevention Point Pittsburgh has been providing needle exchange services to help stop the spread of injection-related diseases. Twenty years later, the organization has spread to three counties and has served more than 5,000 injection drug users. We’ll ask Overdose Prevention Project Coordinator Alice Bell how PPP has evolved over the years and how they measure success. We’ll also hear about the many services they provide to users. 

xMizLitx / Flickr

For attorney Aimee Zundel, Pittsburgh Public Schools' student policies need to serve the needs of all students.

"Particularly our at-risk populations and students that are more susceptible to not feeling safe within the school for example,” Zundel said. 

Zundel is working with the district, and its policy committee, to craft a plan to outline specific rights for transgender students. 

    Happy Tax Day. That refund check is in the mail so now it is time to put it to good use by going out and enjoying all the fun events in Pittsburgh. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to tell you how to spend that cash.

Rebekah Zook / 90.5 WESA

Debbie Thackrah said she never expected her initiative, Feeding the Spirit, to be as large as it is today, considering its humble beginnings in 2011.

“My running partner and I ... started running with five dollar bills to slip under their knapsacks so it would be there when they woke up,” she said. Thackrah, on her morning runs, was seeing an ever-growing homeless population in her town of Greensburg, spend the night in open, public spaces.

“It made me really upset,” she said.

Future Plans For The Produce Terminal Approved

Apr 15, 2016
Wikipedia

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted Thursday on a proposal to revitalize the Strip District produce terminal. We’ll learn about the results of the meeting and what this will mean for the future of the area from Kevin Acklin, URA board chairman and Mayor Peduto’s chief of staff. 

 

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Dozens of service workers, students and families protested outside a McDonald's restaurant on Pittsburgh’s North Side Thursday.

William Boas led the crowd in chants by megaphone. 

He said fast food jobs aren't just for teenagers. 

“This McDonald's right here is open 24 hours a day," Boas said. "We don’t have to be the smartest people in the world to know that it takes adults to run that store. Right now, it’s a Thursday morning. Kids are in school.” 

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Neighbors are optimistic about the latest plan to create offices, restaurants, apartments and maybe a new public market in the Strip District's historic produce terminal.

'Terrible Human Beings' Reflect On Donald Trump In Pittsburgh

Apr 14, 2016
Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump made his first campaign stops in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, beginning at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland to tape a one-hour Fox News special and ending with a rally at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. 90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode and Multimedia Editor Megan Harris join us to talk about what Trump had to say and the reaction to his message.

U.S. State Department Brings Networking Event To Pittsburgh

Apr 14, 2016
Sean Ray / 90.5 WESA

There are many ways to serve your country and since 2010 over 200 employees from the Pittsburgh region have served the U.S. Department of State. Among them, former U. S. Ambassador to Ireland, and Pittsburgh Steelers chairman, Dan Rooney. We’ll discover what the U.S. Department of State is looking for in people to serve America’s interests at home and abroad with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Human Resources Carol Perez.  

Mora McLaughlin / 90.5 WESA

Anyone who visits a Community Recreation and Healthy Active Living Center in Pittsburgh can meet with neighbors or grab a bite to eat. Now, they can also surf the internet with free Wi-Fi.

Citiparks and the Department of Innovation and Performance announced the installation of free Wi-Fi in 22 of its centers throughout the city.

The announcement was made at the Greenfield Healthy Active Living Center on Wednesday.

Multidisciplinary Perspectives On Prolonged Solitary Confinement

Apr 14, 2016
J Miller / flickr

  Prisoners who spend prolonged periods in solitary confinement are susceptible to a number of mental health disorders. They can include anxiety, depression and paranoia. Much like post traumatic stress disorder effects of these health concerns can continue for a long time. We’ll address the issue of prolonged solitary confinement with Professor Jules Lobel of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, Professor Michael Zigmond, University of Pitt. Medical School and Shandre Delaney, an activist whose son is in solitary confinement.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

At least 80 police officers from multiple agencies were called Downtown to control hundreds of protesters outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center during Donald Trump’s campaign stop Wednesday night.

“It could have gone better, but it wasn’t police who made it escalate and I feel good about that,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay said. “The officers showed restraint.”

Two officers were injured by pepper spray, one in a minor scuffle and another was kicked in the hand, according to police. McLay was initially unsure if any officers used mace.

Flickr user jrgcastro

Josh Malloy, 25, lives in East Liberty with his little brother and said his $12.50 per hour salary makes it difficult to keep up with the cost of living. 

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

  Presidential progeny Chelsea Clinton stopped by her mother’s Democratic campaign office in East Liberty early Wednesday.

The younger Clinton met supporters and volunteers at the office. She said Clinton’s work with early childhood education programs and women’s rights will be critical to the fate of future generations.

“It is important that we have a president that knows how to stand up for our values,” Clinton said. “And knows how to make government work on behalf of our values when in office and when not in office.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Supporters started lining up around noon outside of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland Wednesday to see Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Trump is the first Republican candidate to visit the Steel City and started his visit by taping a one-hour Fox News special

Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay said about 60 officers were on patrol in Oakland.

How Smiley Became The Face Of Eat'N Park

Apr 13, 2016
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

When it came time to reshape the image of Eat’n Park the idea was in plain sight. A smiley cookie. Cliff Miller is the man responsible for turning the classic cookie into one of the region’s most iconic brands and joins us for an exit interview.

How Communities Around The World Are Combatting Climate Change

Apr 13, 2016
Wikipedia

The latest news on climate change is how it’s tilting the Earth’s axis. Is it too late for the world to reverse the effects of climate change? In his new documentary, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, director Josh Fox travels the world to discover how communities are combating the impacts of climate change.

Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

 

If you had $50,000 to improve your community, what would you do? Would you invest in infrastructure, build a park or fund a non-profit organization? Or might you try something a little more creative?

The Knight Cities Challenge pushes urban thinkers to do just that: think creatively about how to engage their community. There are 26 Knight Cities around the country, including Philadelphia and State College, and anyone in those cities can submit a project to the challenge. The winners, announced Tuesday, get a portion of $5 million.

U.S. Attorney's Office Western District of PA

Our guest, U.S. Attorney David Hickton, says he may prosecute members of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a law typically meant to indict those affiliated with major organized crime.

Women & Girls Foundation of Western PA / Facebook

Fifty-six years after the Equal Pay Law took effect in Pennsylvania, politicians and advocates gathered in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday to call attention to the continuing pay disparity in the state and nationwide.  

Melinda Roeder / 90.5 WESA

Managers at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station got some advice this year from a panel of unlikely consultants – high school students.

Blackhawk High School students studied federal regulations for problems like workers' exposure to dangerous gases and the disposal of radioactive waste. Nuclear engineers and scientists from First Energy Corporation challenged the teens to produce energy safely and more efficiently.

George Yost Coffin / Wikimedia Commons

As Pennsylvania’s government faces a budget deficit of well more than $1 billion in the next fiscal year, one legislator is teaming up with a Harrisburg think tank to call for changes to income tax rates.

According to state Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia) and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the three proposals hashed out Monday would close the state’s “structural” budget deficit by shifting the income tax burden from low- and middle-income residents to the wealthiest Pennsylvanians.

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