News

South Hills Interfaith Movement / Facebook

Every Monday and Friday Marisa Niwa spends time with her father volunteering at the South Hills Interfaith Movement, or SHIM, food pantry.

“I volunteer and keep things neat and organized," said Niwa's father, Joe Murray. 

Murray said he, his wife and their daughter have a long history of doing volunteer work for people with intellectual disabilities, but when the opportunity at SHIM came up, they thought they would give it a try.

Officials Investigating Pipeline Explosion In Western Pennsylvania

May 6, 2016
Kerry Jobe / AP

  Last Friday, a natural gas pipeline exploded in Westmoreland County, just east of Pittsburgh. One man was hospitalized after his house went up in flames, while other nearby homes were damaged and residents were evacuated.

This week, armed security guards blocked off the site of the explosion, as federal pipeline investigators worked with the owner of the pipeline and state officials to determine the cause of the blast.

The underground pipeline, which is owned by Spectra Energy, carries natural gas from the Gulf Coast to the northeastern U.S. It was built in 1981.

UPMC Magee Women's Hospital

In a quiet, dimly-lit room of UPMC's Magee-Women's Hospital in Oakland, volunteer "cuddler" Donna Comfort held a tiny newborn in her arms. The baby was one of at least five in the hospital born dependent on heroin, prescription painkillers, addiction treatment medication or another form of opioid.

Alan Levine / Flickr

A report released Thursday by the Allegheny Health Network found a high rate of asthma in Allegheny County elementary school students. The study suggests poor air quality is partially responsible for the pervasive incidences of childhood asthma in the Pittsburgh region.

Deborah Gentile, the director of allergy and asthma clinical research at Allegheny Health Network, surveyed 267 fifth graders in the county and found 29 percent had asthma and 11 percent more were at risk of developing the disease.

Flickr user jrgcastro

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has signed a letter of intent to pursue an affiliation with a north-central Pennsylvania hospital network.

Susquehanna Health and UPMC jointly announced the letter of intent Thursday.

The details of the affiliation have yet to be determined.

Susquehanna serves 11 counties through four hospitals, Divine Providence, Muncy Valley, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial and Williamsport Regional Medical Center.

Davey Nin / flickr

Last week, the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force presented its suggestions to City Council on how to implement affordable residential units in at least 20 percent of development throughout Pittsburgh. The proposal was created with help from four committees and with input from five community meetings. We’ll hear about the group’s progress and suggestions from City Planning Director Ray Gastil and City Councilman Daniel Lavelle. We’ll also ask Helen Gerhardt, member of the group Homes for All Pittsburgh, what she’d like to see in the next draft of proposals.

waferboard / flickr

More than $18 million in grants will help Allegheny County’s homeless population by funding housing and jobs programs in the region.

Social service agencies in the county were recently awarded $3.6 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, to combat homelessness. And in March, another $14.6 million in HUD grants was doled out to assist women, teens, veterans, ex-offenders and other homeless individuals.

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

As Allegheny County’s Latino population grows, the Port Authority is trying to make sure non-English speakers can access translation services.

To increase awareness, PAT is launching a campaign with billboards and brochures at bus shelters in neighborhoods with large Latino populations, including Brookline, Beechview and Oakland.

What's It Like Being An Abortion Clinic Escort In Pittsburgh?

May 5, 2016
Connor Mulvaney / PublicSource

Pittsburgh has two abortion clinics. They attract women seeking care as well as abortion protesters and volunteers who guide patients inside. Laura Horowitz began volunteering when violence at abortion clinics in the late 1980s and early 1990s became more pronounced. She joins us to talk about how it works along with Sabrina Bodon who wrote a recent piece about this topic for our content partner PublicSource.    

Flickr user Lindsay Fox

This story was updated May 5, 2016 at 9:55 a.m.  

County health officials want to ban the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices everywhere regular cigarettes are already prohibited.

Members of the Allegheny County Board of Health have instructed health department officials to come up with a policy by the board's next meeting in July.

Inflection Point / Allegheny Conference on Community Development

A new report from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development predicts a workforce shortfall of 80,000 employees in the Pittsburgh region in a decade.

The study recommends greater efforts to attract and retain recent college graduates, and more collaboration between employers and educators to train future workers for the projected job market.

Christine Wagner / Flickr

 

After bringing in more than $1 million Tuesday, Pittsburgh’s annual Day of Giving was halted early.

Davey Nin / flickr

This year marks the centennial of the National Park Service. Five of the nation’s national parks are located in Western PA. We’ll discover the plans they have in store for the celebration with Centennial Coordinator for the National Parks of Western PA, Brendan Wilson.

Toy Exhibit Reflects Decades Of Change In American Society

May 4, 2016
Heinz History Center / Facebook

Toys are designed to be fun, but they also stimulate creativity and imagination. Children and grown-ups learn from play. The Heinz History Center's current exhibition, "Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s," which is on exhibit now through May 31, demonstrates how these toys reflect three decades of dynamic changes in American life. We'll talk about it with Heinz History Center President and CEO, Andy Masich.

Flickr user joseph a

It’s no secret that the air quality in Pittsburgh isn’t great. Last month, the American Lung Association ranked southwestern Pennsylvania as having the eighth highest level of year-round pollutants and the fourteenth highest level of short-term particle pollution in the nation.

Pittsburgh Zoo Developing Tuberculosis Treatment For Elephants

May 4, 2016
Bill Damon / flickr

Researchers at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium are developing treatments for elephants with tuberculosis. The strain, which is the same for both humans and elephants, can attack kidneys, spine, bones and the brain. We’ll talk with Willie Theison, elephant curator at the Zoo, about what they’re looking into and how it could impact the worldwide elephant population.

Alcosan

The Nine Mile Run Watershed Association is poised to begin construction on a green infrastructure project to reduce combined sewer overflow at Oakwood and Batavia streets in Homewood. 

City Council will vote Wednesday on a bill that would let construction begin.

The watershed association wants to build 10 rain gardens, 40 "tree pits" and other green infrastructure that would soak up sewage overflow and prevent it from entering an underground tributary of Nine Mile Run.  

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald are criticizing the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for fining ride-sharing company Uber $11.4 million.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In a small, but growing office in Shadyside, Rhiza Founder and CEO Josh Knauer stood in front of a computer linked to the cloud and crunched big data for a Kia car dealer and a Pittsburgh TV station.

“Behind this very simple display of data are hundreds of billions of records of data that we are sifting through,” Kanuer said of the colorful mix of graphics and numbers on his screen. “And in a matter of seconds … we were able to get to results that had gone through those records and found just the ones that are relevant to this story for this television station and for this very local specific advertiser.”

Nationwide, Universities Transitioning To Per-Credit Fees

May 3, 2016
Shippensburg University / Facebook

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) recently announced plans to charge per-credit fees. IUP is the latest school within the state university system to make this change. When it comes to college tuition what is the difference between a flat tuition as opposed to per-credit fees? We'll address the issue with Ken Mash,president, Association Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).

Joe Shlabotnik / flickr

It’s no secret that Ivy League colleges are some of the most selective higher education establishments in the U.S. Although a small selection of the population will receive degrees from an Ivy, author Sean-Michael Green had the rare opportunity to spend a whole year exploring each and every one to research his book, The Things I Learned in College: My Year in the Ivy League. Green spent 30 days at all eight Ivies in an attempt to uncover the truth behind myths and misconceptions regarding these establishments.

Nick Amoscato / Flickr

About 800 organizations are asking for donations Tuesday as part of Pittsburgh’s annual Day of Giving.

Now in its seventh year, the day-long call to altruism traditionally included as much as $750,000 in match money from the Pittsburgh Foundation.

But with so many organizations now involved, as the foundation told the Pittsburgh City Paper, that money is stretched too thin.

Is There A Link Between Fracking And Earthquakes?

May 3, 2016
Protect Our Water PA / Facebook

Last week's multiple minor earthquakes in an area just west of New Castle were below a magnitude that humans can feel but does that mean we shouldn't be concerned about them? The other big question for seismologists to answer whether the quakes were triggered by fracking. We'll put that question to Michael Brudzinski, a geology professor at Miami University in Ohio, and Andrew Nyblade, a geosciences professor at Penn State University.

Colton Point State Park / dcnr.state.pa.us

Bicyclists exploring northern Pennsylvania’s scenery along Route 6, the state’s longest highway segment, can soon expect changes.

This month, PennDOT will collaborate with the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and of Community and Economic Development to find ways to make the route safer and more accessible for bike riders. 

Bill Rand / Flickr

City officials are slated to receive $1.2 million in reimbursement funds six months after the federal government first pledged to support redevelopment along the corridor of Forbes and Fifth avenues in Uptown.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

Students at Avonworth School District’s Primary Center had a chance every week to gather in an empty classroom to create anything from battery-powered cars to catapults. Then, one day, a few students came to kindergarten teacher Maureen Frew with a teeny request. 

We Want To Hear About Your Favorite Teacher

May 2, 2016
Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr

Who was the best teacher you ever had? And what made him or her so great?

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An interim leader started work Monday at Pittsburgh’s state financial oversight board, taking over for an outgoing director who’s currently under investigation for the loss or destruction of fiscal records.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh remains on a fairly solid financial footing, according to a new report from the city controller's office, adding about $16 million to its coffers in 2015.

But Controller Michael Lamb said obligatory spending -- such as pensions, employee benefits and long-term debt -- still accounts for almost half of the city's yearly budget.

“It’s hard to make ends meet and do the things you need to do as a city when 46 percent of your budget is taken right out on those three items,” Lamb said.

daveynin / Flickr

Federal programs are capitalizing on training and development for veterans re-entering an already booming workforce.

But despite the options, Eric Eversole, president and senior advisor of the national Hiring Our Heroes initiative, said it can still be tough for former service men and women to find a meaningful career

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