News

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's iconic sports commentator Myron Cope is being remembered Sunday at the Senator John Heinz History Center as part of a special public tribute called "Yoi! Remembering Myron Cope." We'll talk with Steelers and Pitt Panthers play-by-play voice Bill Hillgrove and David Schlitt, Director of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Heinz History Center.    

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Every other Monday night, the basement of the Jefferson Avenue Methodist Church in Washington, Pa. is turned into a soup kitchen and a doctor's office. It’s called the “WeCare Street Outreach,” and it's run by Dr. Monica Speicher.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Sediment and pollution still plague the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which supplies water for agricultural purposes in several states, including Pennsylvania.

University of Essex / Flickr

About three years ago, Laura Offutt was between medical consulting projects and looking for something new to try. Around the same time, she noticed that her teenage children and their friends were not happy with the way health information was being presented in school. 

Additionally, Offutt said the teens seemed to have picked up bad information while attempting to fill in the gaps in knowledge from their school presentations. That’s how she started a teen health blog, now a website, called Real Talk with Dr. Offutt.

Kristi Jan Hoover / City Theatre

From the murderous Phantom in the musical Phantom of the Opera to the ex-convict Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, theater is notorious for making seemingly villainous characters appear sympathetic. But could anyone imagine feeling sympathy for an alleged Nazi war criminal? Some Brighter Distance, a new play premiering tonight at the City Theatre in the South Side, explores the possibility .

Some Brighter Distance tells the story of Arthur Rudolph, a German aerospace engineer who participated in Operation Paperclip, a post-WWII program in which scientists, technicians and researchers from former Nazi Germany were brought to the United States. Playwright Keith Reddin says Cold War-era American officials hoped these individuals would help the country achieve an edge over the Soviet Union in the Space Race.

David Amsler / Flickr

The holidays didn’t do much to ease Pennsylvania angst about state government, according to a new Franklin & Marshall College survey, showing most respondents take a dim view of the state’s future.

The poll found that 67 percent of registered voters surveyed said Pennsylvania is headed “off on the wrong track” – a record figure in the past five years of polling.

And 38 percent said the state’s “most important problem” is government and politicians.

401 (K) / flickr

For low-to-moderate income families, tax season can be a confusing and intimidating time.

Matt Rourke / AP

A state Senate panel tasked with exploring the unprecedented removal of a sitting state attorney general included some major hedges in its final recommendations Wednesday.

The snow has finally melted and the temperatures have risen (albeit a little). So now it's time to brace the outside and find some good food and brews! WESA Digital Editor Sarah Kovash hosts this week, with Yelp Pittsburgh's Rachel Carlson. 

If you like drinking and learning, this Thursday night, head over to the Heinz History Center for Tipsy History. Sip on Wigle Whiskey and check out the Glass: Shattering Notions exhibit, focusing on Pittsburgh's glass-making history. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers face additional challenges once they get to the United States. A panel of refugee experts, hosted by the Peduto administration’s Welcoming Pittsburgh initiative, addressed those issues Wednesday.

Beni Dedieu Luzau said for many refugees or asylum seekers, being LGBTQI means scrutiny and isolation from their own community, and in some communities could even mean death. He said they come to the U.S. for freedom, but then fear for survival if they come out.

PhotographyMontreal / flickr

After a lawsuit launched by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth has agreed to use more resources to house and treat criminal defendants with mental illnesses. ACLU of Pennsylvania Legal Director Vic Walczak led the legal battle and spoke to Essential Pittsburgh about the case.

Lead-Tainted Water Has A Long History In The U.S.

Jan 28, 2016
Carlos Osorio / AP Photo

The municipal water crisis in Flint, Mich., has brought new attention to the dangers of lead in drinking water.

When the city starting using the Flint River as its source for municipal water in 2014, the water was so corrosive, it caused lead to leach out of pipes and fixtures. 

David Goldman / AP

Markets have been volatile at the start of 2016, and that could be bad news for municipal pension funds in Pennsylvania.

As it was, about half of the municipalities that maintain pension funds have distressed plans, with a total liability of $7.7 billion.

The commonwealth will devote more resources to treatment and housing for criminal defendants who have mental illness, under the terms of a deal approved by a federal judge Wednesday.

AP

 

United States Steel Corp. on Tuesday reported a fourth-quarter loss of $999 million, reversing a profit a year ago, as revenue plunged 37 percent and the company blamed cheap subsidized imports for hurting the price of flat-rolled steel.

Behind-The-Scenes At The Fort Pitt Museum

Jan 27, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Paintings, figurines and dioramas fill the hallways of the Fort Pitt Museum. However, for most of January, the doors of the museum have been closed, as the pieces underwent renovations and workers installed new exhibits. Essential Pittsburgh took a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility ahead of their re-opening to see what went into the process.

Matt Rourke / flickr

A state House panel is starting down a road that could end in the impeachment of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday sent to the full House a resolution that would empower a subcommittee to do a preliminary investigation into whether Kane “liable to impeachment for misbehavior in office.” The panel’s vote was unanimous.

supremecourt.gov

Pennsylvania has more people sentenced to life in prison as juveniles than any other state.

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court Monday could reduce those sentences for 497 inmates in Pennsylvania. Those people were convicted as juveniles for homicides; which used to mean automatic life in prison without parole.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that was cruel and unusual punishment. Monday, the court said that ban is retroactive to cases decided before 2012.

Ryan Loew / PublicSource

    

The street where Carol Speaks grew up is only blocks from where her grandson Antwann died.

At 19 years old, he was shot 17 times, according to Carol, in front of witnesses just down the street from Homewood’s Westinghouse Academy.

Carlow University

 

With increasing concerns over anti-Muslim extremism, local Muslim-Americans are pairing with Carlow University to talk about religion and their experiences living in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday’s event, called “The Muslim Next Door,” was developed with the intent of dispelling myths about Islamic stereotypes.

The panel includes speakers from the Turkish and Islamic centers of Pittsburgh and Carlow University students.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

It’s not much bigger than a laptop and a set of ski goggles, but workers at Neuro Kinetics, located in O’Hara Township’s RIDC Park, said they’ve created technology that will help diagnose concussions.

It's called the I-Portal, and it's awaiting FDA approval. 

“This is not quite what Star Trek envisioned, because that is a little bit more smaller, easier, portable, but on the right sort of path,” said Howison Schroeder, president and CEO of Neuro Kinetics.

Michael Watkins / AP

 

Part of a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that was closed over the weekend due to a massive backup of hundreds of vehicles will be closing again for several hours to allow recovery of one of the tractor-trailers involved.

Turnpike officials say an 86-mile stretch of the westbound lanes of the turnpike between the Breezewood and New Stanton interchanges will be closed for about three hours beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Pitt Med Student Earns Spot On Forbes' 30 Under 30 List

Jan 26, 2016
Chris Murawski

University of Pittsburgh medical student Christopher Murawski’s interest in orthopedics came as an accident, literally. After sustaining several ankle injuries from his high school baseball team, Murawski began showing an interest in the treatments he was receiving, eventually earning himself a spot on a renowned UPMC doctor’s orthopedic team.  He’s been chosen as one of this year’s Forbes’ ’30 Under 30 2016’ in health care and shares his thoughts on the experience.

Pittsburgh's 'Ghost Bomber' Still Missing After 60 Years

Jan 26, 2016
Filmet Inc.

The Bermuda Triangle may be legendary for disappearing boats and aircraft, but the Golden Triangle has its own mysterious disappearance. 60 years ago, a B-25 Mitchell bomber sank beneath the waves of the Monongahela River. It has not been seen since. Andy Masich, President and CEO of the Heinz History Center, told Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer about the history of the so called “Ghost Bomber.”

takomabibelot / flickr

Workers have imploded the old Hulton Bridge over the Allegheny River.

The implosion of the 107-year-old span that connects the Pittsburgh suburbs of Oakmont and Harmar occurred about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Alberto G. / Flickr

 

The state Senate approved a House-passed bill Thursday, delaying the requirement that Pennsylvania high school students pass standardized tests in order to graduate. 

This will give lawmakers more time to review and make changes to the Keystone Exams.

Balancing Privacy And Security On A Global Scale

Jan 26, 2016
Global Panorama / flickr

Public disclosures related to government surveillance capabilities and activities, and subsequent reforms, have brought the privacy versus security debate front and center. How should the U.S. balance privacy and national security? We'll talk with Sina Marie Beaghley, Senior International Policy Analyst for the Rand Corporation.

Eddie Welker / Flickr

 

Over the weekend, Pittsburgh was hit by the fringe of a blizzard that left more than two feet of snow in parts of the East Coast.

Public works crews and residents diligently spread rock salt on roads and sidewalks —an effective de-icing measure. But the traditional sodium chloride salt can potentially harm or kill trees.

Trees in one part of Downtown, though, might be out of danger.

Stark / Flickr

After the weekend storm blanked parts of the state with as much as three feet of snow, commonwealth authorities must balance competing priorities: keeping state-owned roads clear while extending help to municipalities still digging out.

“This storm ... it’s historic,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards on Monday. “A lot of these cities and municipal public works departments are really trying to get on top of it... there are some very small roads, and it’s very hard with cars parked on the side.”

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

 

Pennsylvania's governor is giving candidates in three special elections for the state House of Representatives a little more time to qualify for the March 15 ballot.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday said the deadlines for parties to file nomination certificates and for political bodies to file nomination papers will be extended by 24 hours for each day election offices in the state Capitol Complex are closed.

The deadline won't be extended past 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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