News

Marcus Charleston / WESA

Giordan Dixon, 16, stuck to his script at the new Homewood – Brushton YMCA on Bennett Street in Homewood South.

“I want to be a singer and a music producer,” he said, guiding small tours.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

 Last week, about 20 people waited anxiously for the walk signal at the busy intersection outside Target in East Liberty. When the light changed, they danced into the crosswalk. As James Brown sang “Get on the Good Foot,” they spun, they shimmied, they high-fived.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are using light to see inside the brains of subjects in ways traditional static imaging scanners cannot.

Functional near infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS, is portable and can measure brain activity while subjects are moving around. It can also be used in remote situations when people can’t get to an MRI scanner, which requires patients lie down and remain very still to get a usable image.

Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

 

Shell Chemicals has purchased land in Beaver County's Potter Township near the site where the company has proposed the construction of an ethane cracker plant.

The Beaver County Times reports Shell paid $6.5 million for its latest acquisition of 13.7 acres along state Route 18.

A portion of the land once housed the industrial insulation company VersiTech. The purchase of that land was the last big domino to fall in Shell's plan for the proposed plant.

Shell now owns nearly every parcel on the southern side of Rt. 18 between Interstate 376 and Raccoon Creek.

Matt Rourke / AP

Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has hired a new attorney to handle the appeals of her perjury and obstruction conviction and related jail sentence.

The Goldberg Katzman law firm confirmed that attorney Joshua Lock has been hired by Kane, but otherwise declined comment.

Kane is free on bond while she appeals her conviction and 10- to 23-month jail sentence. A jury found the 50-year-old Democrat guilty of felony perjury and other charges for leaking grand jury material to the media to embarrass a rival and then lying about it under oath.

 Election Day is over and you deserve a fun weekend. How about some chocolate, drinks and shopping? WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel and Josh Raulerson are here to fill you in on the weekend activities you need to know!

Darron Cummings / AP

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. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region. 

This week our panel of journalists discuss the presidential election results and the resignation of Police Chief Cameron McLay. We'll also check in with reporters in Harrisburg for a conversation on  how the commonwealth's election results will impact the House and Senate.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Nearly every day, William Moses uses public transportation and travels from his home on the North Side to Abiding Ministries in Allentown where he volunteers.

He first started with the ministries by serving breakfast to homeless people on the North Side.

“A friend of mine told me about it,” Moses said. “He said I should go down and help… because something good might come out of it.”

daveynin / Flickr

A three-day housing summit hosted by the University of Pittsburgh this weekend will bring together academics and activists.

The University-Community Housing Summit will explore urban renewal, human rights and gentrification through talks, workshops and neighborhood tours.

Mindy Thompson gave the keynote address Thursday. Her 2013 book Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities explored the urban renewal of Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

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Two York County School of Technology High School students face disciplinary action after they carried a Donald Trump campaign sign while “white power” was chanted as they walked through the school’s halls Wednesday. 

Renie Mezzanotti, the school's communications and outreach coordinator, said the incident happened while students were walking into the school at the beginning of the day and administrators were quick to squash the issue.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto met with the city’s public safety director, police chief and commander of special deployment Thursday to set a standard operating procedure for de-escalating public protests.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

 

 

Updated: 3:03 p.m. 

One police officer is dead and another wounded after a shooting around 4 a.m. Thursday in Canonsburg, about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Marvel Comics

 

Crafting a longer narrative voice for comics wasn't a huge stretch for Pittsburgh artist Yona Harvey.

“I feel like by nature I’m already a visual thinker,” said Harvey, “so that was already alive as a poet.”

Simeon Berg / Flickr

When Iowa-based IT and data company Involta broke ground last month on a new facility outside of Pittsburgh, it wasn’t just creating the average office building.

Located in Freeport, Armstrong County, the company’s new 40,000-square-foot building is planned to be a high security, high performance data center.

Data centers have one primary goal — making sure customers can access their data, be it healthcare, finance, or technology-related. And in order to accomplish that, center operators have to ensure their systems never fail.

Disability Rights Activists React To Trump Presidency In Philadelphia

Nov 9, 2016
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

When North Carolina was called for Donald Trump, a crying Dynah Haubert left the Sheraton ballroom.

She and other activists were among the crowds of Pennsylvania Democrats watching election results come in — until they could take no more.

It was back in July that Haubert experienced her first purposeful involvement in politics on the stage at the Democratic National Convention. "It's always been up to us. I felt that finally it's not just us shouting into the wind," she said.

Peduto Says Chief McLay Will Be Missed

Nov 9, 2016
Casey Chafin / 90.5 WESA

When Pittsburgh police chief Cameron McLay informed Mayor Bill Peduto that he was resigning, Peduto's first goal was to try and talk him out of it.

“At the beginning, I basically tried to diffuse it in a situation where you would say, ‘OK, where is it that you think things would be better?’” Peduto said.

But McLay said he realized tensions among the police bureau weren’t going to get better. The police union voted in September that it had no confidence in him after a series of bitter disagreements on a variety of issues, including forced overtime.

Sergei Karpukhin / AP

As the world woke up Wednesday to Donald Trump's presidential election victory, congratulations from foreign leaders were mixed with worries about how Trump's provocative campaign pronouncements will be translated into policy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram — yes, a telegram — to congratulate Trump. But Putin also addressed the troubled state of relations between the two countries.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

I've been hearing for weeks that if you drove through western and central Pennsylvania, you'd see Trump signs everywhere, like mushrooms.

How could the polls showing Hillary Clinton so far ahead in the state have been so wrong?

Trump, who happily ignored the conventional tools of political campaigns, just did it his way and won.

An early look at the numbers suggests it was Trump's ability to excite and expand his populist base that got the job done.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

 

Treasurer

 

Democrat Joe Torsella will be taking over an office marred by scandal after winning the race for Pennsylvania treasurer.

Torsella, of Montgomery County, beat Republican businessman Otto Voit of Berks County in Tuesday's election.

The 53-year-old Torsella was most recently a presidential appointee to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Matt Slocum / AP

 

 

Democrat Josh Shapiro became Pennsylvania's next Attorney General in a close win over Republican opponent John Rafferty.

 

Shapiro, of Abington, is the chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and was a member of the State House from 2005-12. Rafferty, of Lower Providence, spent three years as a deputy attorney general from 1988-91 and has served in the state Senate for 16 years.

 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

 

 

Republican Sen. Keith Rothfus of Sewickley won Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District, defeating Democrat Erin McClelland of Harrison.

Rothfus, the incumbent, focused much of his campaign on growing the economy and helping veterans. The two-term congressman said he would fight for a simpler tax code and few intrusions from the federal government into the operations of businesses.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey says he has voted for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, revealing his choice after saying for months that he hadn't been persuaded.

Toomey said after voting Tuesday night near his Allentown-area home that it was a tough call for him.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A small army of volunteers is helping voters in Allegheny County who unexpectedly find themselves in the hospital today.

Until the state legislature passed a law in 2006 creating emergency absentee ballots, there was no way for someone who missed the absentee deadline could vote if they could not get to the polling place. 

“When I signed up for this I thought we’ll just walk to their room with a ballot and they would fill it out and that would be it… But no, it’s an all-day process,” said Betsy Butler of Greenfield, a volunteer with the Election Protection Program. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

An Aspinwall entrepreneur pitched his plan for a medical cannabis dispensary to residents of Lawrenceville and surrounding neighborhoods at a community meeting Monday night.

Jake Voelker, 32, originally from Erie, presented his plan as a way to help fellow veterans who are seeking an alternative or supplement to traditional medicine.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Update 3: 8:15 p.m.

Polling places were open in Pittsburgh until 8 p.m. Tuesday. 90.5 WESA reporters spoke to voters outside of polling places in Lawrenceville, South Side, Squirrel Hill and East Liberty about the issues that matter to them most and how they decided on their votes.

Joshua Rice / Pittsburgh Public Schools

Many of Tim Mielke’s students are too young to remember previous presidential elections.

The ninth grade social studies teacher at Taylor Allderdice High School said his challenge this year has been explaining the unique aspects of this election by comparing it to previous election cycles.

Allderdice was one of 13 local high schools that participated in a mock election organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

Chris Cassidy / Courtesy Bill Blumenreich Presents

Neil deGrasse Tyson is perhaps the most famous living astrophysicist. He’s got a popular podcast called “StarTalk Radio,” which regularly ranks among the top science podcasts on iTunes. In 2014, he hosted the sequel to Carl Sagan’s groundbreaking TV series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” called “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

 

Pittsburgh City Council has voted to approve a measure that will let it censure or fine members up to $500 for discussing "secret" executive session meetings.

Pennsylvania's Open Meetings Law lets municipal bodies meet secretly to discuss litigation, labor negotiations, personnel matters, criminal investigations or the purchase or lease of property. But the law doesn't require those matters to be discussed privately, nor does it ban elected officials from speaking about them.

Why You Can Ditch That Non-Stick Skillet For Cast Iron

Nov 8, 2016
Mark Bonica / Flickr

Skillets and pans with non-stick coatings, like Teflon, have had a prime place in American kitchens for decades—and for good reason. They make it a cinch to flip pancakes and slide omelettes onto our plates. But some consumers have worries about the safety of the chemicals used to make non-stick coatings.

Translation Help At The Polls: What's Required And How It Works

Nov 8, 2016
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

 

There are requirements at polling places, but help doesn't reach everyone who needs it.

Elections have been hectic for Cesar Liriano for most of the nine years he's lived in the city of Lebanon. Presidential elections are craziest, but he's busy during the lower-turnout local and gubernatorials, too.

"Normally, I get up at 5 o'clock every day, doesn't matter elections or not," Liriano says. "I go down as soon to the polls as soon as they open, I go and vote with my wife, and then I get prepared to be running from one poll to the other."

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