News

Pennsylvania Case Takes New Approach To Redistricting Rules

Dec 4, 2017
Keystone Crossroads

Judges have been asked repeatedly to decide whether the lawmakers in charge of drawing congressional district lines have gone too far to favor their parties.

Carla K. Johnson / AP

 

A series of community discussions and an interactive website featuring the stories of the opioid crisis will launch in Pennsylvania next year as part of a campaign to reduce the stigma associated with drug addiction.

Pittsburgh Doctor Charged In 2 Fatal Opioid Overdoses

Dec 1, 2017
Brandon Giesbrecht / flickr

A Pittsburgh area doctor was charged Friday with causing the deaths of two patients by overprescribing opioids, state prosecutors announced.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Community College of Allegheny County is one local organization that plans to apply for a new state grant to fund apprenticeship programs.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Police say two Good Samaritans used their cars to stop a suspected drunken driver swerving all over a Pennsylvania highway.

Andrew Russell / Tribune-Review

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the beleaguered Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Penn State Still Fighting 2 Sandusky Abuse Claim Lawsuits

Dec 1, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penn State has already paid over $100 million to settle sex abuse claims against Jerry Sandusky, but it's still fighting two lawsuits with similar allegations.

A judge recently scheduled one case for trial in Philadelphia in February.

In both cases, men allege that as teens they were fondled by the ex-assistant football coach during the mid-2000s.

They accuse Penn State of negligence in its handling of complaints about Sandusky years before they say they were groped.

Commission Seeks Fracking Ban In Watershed Supplying NYC

Dec 1, 2017
Julio Cortez / AP

A commission that oversees water quality for the watershed that supplies Philadelphia and half of New York City with drinking water took another step Thursday toward permanently banning natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, despite industry opposition.

WITF

In the wake of recent high-profile sexual harassment allegations coming to light, lawmakers in Pennsylvania are proposing to reform how state government handles allegations concerning legislators.

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D-Delaware) plans to introduce a bill that would ban non-disclosure agreements and prohibit use of taxpayer money for settling claims in sexual harassment or assault cases that involve lawmakers.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

On the eastern border of Pennsylvania, north of the Philadelphia suburbs, a cluster of state Senate district appear — at first glance — to be arbitrarily drawn.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

In the 1970s, Pennsylvania had 300,000 volunteer firefighters, according to the State Fire Commissioner. That number has dropped to about 50,000, leaving some volunteer stations stretched thin and communities underserved.

Dr. Robert Kromos / Attack Theatre

Jimmy Cvetic’s poetry is rough, dark and punchy.

Matt Rourke / AP

*UPDATED: Dec. 1, 2017 at 10:05 a.m.

A Pennsylvania man whose nightly broadcast of taps through loudspeakers led to lawsuit threats and complaints from his neighbors played the recording for the last time Thursday night.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Corney and about two dozen supporters stood for the final playing of the taps outside Corney's Glen Rock home. He had invited the public over to listen to the recording and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate.

Corney had been playing the recording for about two years. He added the loudspeakers last spring.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s 2018 capital budget proposal does not include any funding for maintenance of the 1,400 vacant lots and 50 vacant structures owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Penn State University fraternity is facing charges over a woman's alcohol consumption.

'I Can't Just Step Away From My Grant': Scientists Grapple With EPA Head's Call To End Funding

Nov 30, 2017
Tim Evanson / Flickr

In October, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, ordered scientists who receive EPA grants to either end those grants or resign from EPA scientific advisory boards. But what about industry-backed scientists? He said they can stay.

Annette Elizabeth Allen / NPR

The Senate is debating its tax overhaul bill. To pass it, the Republicans need strong party unity and leaders have been working on changes to firm up support among uncommitted lawmakers, as the GOP can only afford two no votes from its party and still pass the legislation.

Susan Walsh / AP

An outspoken county commissioner from northern Pennsylvania says he'll challenge U.S. Rep. Tom Marino in next year's Republican primary, citing Marino's role in writing a law that critics say weakened the government's authority to stop drug companies from distributing opioids.

Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko announced his candidacy Thursday and accused Marino of soliciting campaign contributions from drug companies and then sponsoring legislation that allowed them to flood communities with opioids.

Buoyed By Trump, Some Miners Are Sticking With Coal

Nov 30, 2017
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

At a gymnasium in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Trenton Phillips is looking for a job as a coal miner.

Phillips already works at a company that fixes belt lines at coal mines. 

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On a Tuesday night, the first floor of the Cathedral of Learning is brimming with students, their conversations bouncing off the high, arched ceilings. They sit on the ground, in more than a dozen small circles; at the center of each circle is a dog. 

Oliver, a golden retriever, lays on his side as he's pet by five or six people at once. Despite all the attention, Oliver is calm and quiet. That's because he, like every other dog here, is a therapy dog from the College Canines program at Humane Animal Rescue

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Focus Features documentary dubbed “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about the life and work of Fred Rogers is coming to the the big screen in June, officials announced Monday.

According to a release, the film will examine how Rogers navigated cultural and social issues in a forward-thinking way.

President and CEO of the Fred Rogers Company Paul Siefken said Rogers was a fascinating man on and off screen.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Multicultural Liaison Unit launched Wednesday to help bridge the cultural and communication gap between the Department of Public Safety and immigrant and refugee communities.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About two dozen graduate students chanted "kill the bill" outside the Cathedral of Learning on Wednesday. Many teach undergraduate classes or assist with research in exchange for waived tuition or a stipend. 

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a measure that would require a $15 an hour minimum wage for employees of some contractors.

Google Maps

A local law firm decided to dig into PennDOT crash data to visualize the most dangerous intersections in Allegheny County. The study identifies 787 intersections that had five or more crashes from 2014 to 2016.

Dallas W. Hartman P.C. represents a lot of collision cases, and wanted to raise awareness about areas around the county where drivers are more likely to crash, said attorney Dallas Hartman.

Susan Walsh / AP

Democrats and some Republicans from the Philadelphia region are worried that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is trying to gut his agency from within.

The EPA has worked overtime to undo many Obama-era environmental regulations, while also scrubbing its website of any mention of “climate change.”

That’s triggered several red flags for U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who said he and other Democrats warned the GOP not to tap Pruitt to lead the agency.

Chris Knight / AP

The field for the 2018 lieutenant governor election is filling up, with a number of Democrats jumping into the often-low-key race.

That could mean a tough battle for incumbent Mike Stack, who has struggled through public conflicts with fellow Democrat, Governor Tom Wolf.

State representative Madeleine Dean, who has served part of Montgomery County since 2012, is the latest entry to the race.

Matt Slocum / AP

There were fewer fatal crashes and more alcohol-related arrests on Pennsylvania's highways over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

State troopers investigated 981 crashes between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26. That's up from 931 during the holiday last year. Four of the crashes were fatal, down from six in 2016.

Police made 629 driving under the influence arrests compared to 610 last year. They say 85 of the 981 crashes were alcohol-related.

Police also issued nearly 16,000 speeding tickets.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is deciding whether Governor Tom Wolf overstepped his authority with an executive order letting the state organize home healthcare workers under a union-like structure.

A lower court already decided against the governor once.

But lawyers for the Wolf administration argue the governor’s directive merely gives workers an option to voice their concerns.

The 2015 order—one of Wolf’s first in office—targets independent workers who care for elderly and disabled people in their homes.

Matt Rourke / AP

Several Republican state senators plan to introduce legislation that would require Pennsylvania to use zero-based budgeting—a standard specifically designed to save money.

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