News

Pennsylvania Primary Features Appeals Court, Local Contests

Apr 17, 2017
Matt Rourke
AP

Numerous contests for school boards and county and municipal government, as well as a handful of appeals court races will be on the ballot next month in Pennsylvania's primary election.

Survivalist Researched Escaping Manhunts Before Fatal Ambush

Apr 17, 2017
Rich Schultz / AP

An anti-government survivalist charged with ambushing two troopers at a state police barracks did research on how to escape a manhunt more than a year before the deadly attack, according to evidence presented Monday at his murder trial.

Eric Frein's laptop was used to search online for "how to escape a manhunt" and "how are manhunts conducted" in May 2013.

Ted S. Warren / AP

One year ago, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf. Officials with the Department of Health said they hope the first prescriptions will be filled in May of 2018.  

Niven Sabherwal / 90.5 WESA

When attorney Joe Froetschel commutes to work on his bicycle, he thinks about how the city operations work and where the money comes from. As he rides through Oakland,  he notices hospitals like UPMC and University of Pittsburgh buildings that dot the neighborhood. He's also surrounded by churches and charities and the Carnegie museums.

NRG Energy

When Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt visited a Greene County coal mine last week, he said, to applause, “the war on coal is done.”

via Hillman Compay and Family Foundations

Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist Henry Hillman died at the age of 98 Friday.

The Hillman family confirmed his death, saying in a statement, “Daddy had such a tremendous life filled by a large family he loved dearly, innumerable friends, and great adventures in business and philanthropy.”

Matt Rourke / AP

Outpourings of grief and sympathy are flooding in to Pittsburgh from around the world, marking the death of NFL icon, Dan Rooney.

Joshua Franzos / Pittsburgh Foundation

An unusual election season led to an unusual donation pattern for the Pittsburgh Foundation in 2016—an influx of $18 million in donations came in the last four weeks of the year. That’s nearly double the amount from the same period in 2015.

Department Of Aging Gets Training To Better Provide For LGBT Seniors

Apr 14, 2017
Annette John-Hall / WHYY

Senior citizen Harry Adamson is 67 and lives in the part of center city Philadelphia known as the “gayborhood." He came out at age 25 when “anything gay was either suspect or terrifying.”

Adamson has also lived with HIV for 32 years. So he thinks the recent training that the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and other state agencies received to better respond to the needs of LGBT adults, including those living with HIV/AIDS, is a good idea.

“But you have to discern how you can engage people so they can tell you what they need,” Adamson said.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The funeral arrangements are set for Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, and they include a public viewing at Heinz Field.

Team spokesman Burt Lauten says that will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the PNC Champions Club at the stadium.

Rooney's funeral Mass will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul Cathedral in the city's Oakland section.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday ordered the Commonwealth flag to be flown at half-staff across Pennsylvania to honor Rooney, who died Thursday at 84.

United Artists / Library of Congress

If you’re a registered voter or have a driver’s license, odds are, you’re eligible for jury duty. But just because you’re called, doesn’t mean you’ll serve.

Research from the Jury Sunshine Project in North Carolina shows that some people get dismissed from the jury pool a lot more often than others.

On this week’s episode of 90.5 WESA’s Criminal Injustice podcast, University of Pittsburgh law professor and show host David Harris talked to Wake Forest School of Law professor Ron Wright, who’s finding those exclusions make a big difference in the outcome of some cases.

RIDC

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week’s topics include a look at why the commonwealth continues to put money into an industrial site to lure businesses to western Pennsylvania. We’ll also look at the public safety issues of mandatory minimum sentencing for violent crimes and withholding of police names after a shooting. And two reporters from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will join us to address changes in the region’s demographics. We'll also mark the passing of Steelers owner Dan Rooney

Marketplace/Carnegie Mellon's Biorobotics Lab

Marketplace Morning Report is wrapping up a three-week series, “Robot-Proof Jobs.” Host David Brancaccio hit the road for the stories talking to workers and experts from Pittsburgh and New Castle, Pa. to Milwaukee, Wis. The reporting also drew on the findings of The McKinsey Global Institute, which analyzed the work activities of more than 800 occupations in the U.S. to determine what percentage of a job could be automated using current technology.

Brancaccio spoke with 90.5 WESA’s Larkin Page-Jacobs about what he learned on the road.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Stephanie Garcia, 17 of Beechview, read a biographical card about a Polish Boy named Aaron.

“His mother’s name was Louisa, his father’s name was Sigmund,” she said. “Aaron died in Shoah when he was a boy. His age, date and where he died have not been recorded.”

AP, file

Former U.S. ambassador to Ireland and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney has died at the age of 84.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

After months of building and $3.8 million in construction costs, the Midwife Center in the Strip District has more than doubled its space to 11,700 square feet. Unveiled by officials on Thursday, it's now the largest freestanding birthing center in the country. 

Margaret Sun

If you find yourself in a transportation jam, screens scattered through Oakland could help you find a way out soon. The Oakland Business Improvement District is teaming up with a few other non-profits to provide large screens showing real-time transportation options.

One Way To Respond To A Warming Planet? Get Smaller

Apr 13, 2017
Kai Schreiber / Flickr

Though the earth is experiencing its first bout of human-induced climate change, the planet has faced massive global warming events in the past. For instance, 56 million years ago, the earth was 46 degrees hotter on average than it is right now. And in response, mammals literally shrank. Imagine an early horse ancestor the size of a cat.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Births in Allegheny County are expected to rise for the third consecutive year in 2017, but state Department of Health officials are hesitant to pin it on any one reason – especially a hockey game.

Ancestry.com Helps Family Of Dead Boy Find Man Posing As Him

Apr 12, 2017
Ancestry.com

Federal prosecutors say Ancestry.com helped the family of a baby who died in Texas in 1972 discover that a Pennsylvania man had assumed the child's identity.

Forty-four-year-old Jon Vincent was arrested in Lansdale, near Philadelphia, on Monday. Prosecutors say Vincent stole Nathan Laskoski's identity after escaping from a Texas halfway house to start another life.

Prosecutors say he first obtained a Social Security card as Laskoski in 1996.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

More than 100 people gathered Tuesday evening at a town hall called “Not Another Flint” to discuss the water challenges confronting Pittsburgh.

“It isn’t Pittsburgh and Flint as some people are trying to make it out to be,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said. “There are over 5,330 other water systems in the United States that have the same elevated lead.”

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

Unless Congress passes the Miners Protection Act by April 28, more than 2,000 retired union coal miners in Pennsylvania will lose their health care.

The bill proposes to use interest from the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to shore up the health and pension funds administered by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).  

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Emerald View Park encircles Mt. Washington, Duquesne Heights and Allentown in a tight hug, an embrace from which Derek Stuart prepared to depart.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Residents asked questions about the effects of lead poisoning, the cost of lead line replacement and the responsibilities of local landlords at a panel discussion about water issues Tuesday night.

Johnstown Area Third Fastest Shrinking City In The US

Apr 12, 2017
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Johnstown has taken the bronze medal in a race no one wants to win  — the country's fastest shrinking cities. The Johnstown metro region, which includes all of Cambria County, lost 5.5 percent of its population since 2011.

According to the research group 24/7 Wall Street, that's the third fastest rate of decline after Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Farmington, New Mexico. 

Johnstown City Manager Arch Liston was surprised to hear that the city was so far down the list — but the numbers didn't shock him. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

Nearly every subspecialty seems to have its own academic journal, from one dedicated to "Positivity” – it’s a math thing – to one for engineers working in the packaging industry.

But until now, there has never been an academic journal for research into blockchain – the technology behind Bitcoin.

Marc Levy / AP

A federal task force is walking back a 2012 recommendation that men between ages 55 and 69 not be screened for prostate cancer.

That brings federal guidelines in step with recommendations from a state task force, released last week.

Both the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force and the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Task Force now advise men to talk with their doctors about whether they should be screened.

Darlene Harris / Facebook

A Pittsburgh city councilwoman who's running for mayor is defending Facebook pictures of herself riding a circus elephant and a camel, saying she just wanted to "see how they're taken care of."

Democrat Darlene Harris posted a picture of herself atop the Shrine Circus elephant and another riding the camel. The circus was at PPG Paints Arena over the weekend.

Harris, who's running against Mayor Bill Peduto in the primary, rejected critics' claims that circus animals are abused, saying, "Those animals are taken care of better than some people take care of people."

Daveynin / Flickr

The House GOP-led budget proposal—which passed on to the Senate last week—has drawn criticism from legislative Democrats, and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf for its austere tax cuts.

But it’s also seeing pushback from a more bipartisan group: the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association.

For the last few budget cycles, state funding has stayed largely flat for a number of county-level programs—including probation services, behavioral health services, and the multi-use Human Services Development Fund.

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