News

Women's Leadership and Mentorship Program / Robert Morris University

Many young women struggle to pursue promotion and advancement in the corporate and business world because they are not seeing examples of other women in positions of leadership and power.  However, female to female mentoring may provide the tools necessary to change that.

Judge Tosses Pittsburgh Woman's Defamation Suit Vs. Cosby

Jan 21, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

A federal judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by a Pittsburgh-area woman who claims Bill Cosby defamed her when he and his representatives responded to allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted her and other women.

Thursday's decision dismisses the October lawsuit filed by 48-year-old Renita Hill with prejudice. That means she cannot try to amend and re-file the lawsuit.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

 

Johnstown’s public pension plans are in bad shape and, according to the latest Pennsylvania Auditor General’s report, continue to get worse.

ajmexico / Flickr

The Wolf administration says the state’s food stamps program is making fewer mistakes, marking its lowest error rate in 29 years of keeping records.

“We’re not giving anything to the wrong people and we’re doing this the right way,” said Governor Tom Wolf on Wednesday. The lower error rate is estimated to save as much as $35 million in federal money for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

    Let’s face it. It is brutal outside. So let’s do some things indoors. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel may have cheese on the mind (who doesn’t?) but they are willing to put their cheese boards aside and check out these great events. So put away the brie, cheddar and Muenster and join them at these fun places, all of which are indoors!

Public Affairs Office Ft. Wainwright / Flickr

 

County and state-run programs will receive up to $150,000 to support veteran outreach initiatives, court programs and other services designed to help veterans in need or those transitioning to civilian life.

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs made up to $550,000 available to service organizations through a grant process called the Veterans Trust Fund, officials announced last week.

Bernardo González Riga / Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and CONICET

A new species of a very old dinosaur was recently discovered with help from a Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologist. 

Believed to be 85 million years old, Notocolossus was likely 82 to 92 feet in length and weighed more than 132,000 pounds -- as much as nine to 13 elephants and about three-times the weight of "Dippy," the Diplodocus dinosaur outside of the museum.

Bernardo González Riga of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo led the study and published a report on his findings this week.

SCI Albion / cor.pa.gov

The state Senate is lining up a plan to restore state prison funding vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf late last year, in an attempt to clean up some of the fallout from the state’s messy budget impasse, now in its seventh month.

The bill would bring back more than $900 million to the state corrections system. Wolf’s partial veto eliminated those funds, as well as billions more for healthcare, agriculture and other items, in a bid to compel lawmakers to strike a budget deal.

Ryan Loew / Public Source

From 2010 through 2015, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police investigated 311 homicides. Only 163 of those have been cleared with an arrest or other explanation for the death. This week WESA, working with our content partner Public Source has begun airing the multi-part series, The Aftermath of Murder, on unsolved African American homicides in Pittsburgh. Joining us to discuss the series are WESA reporter Megan Harris and Public Source reporter Jeffrey Benzing. 

Alberto G. / Flickr

 

Pennsylvania is moving to delay the use of exams as a graduation requirement for high school students starting next year.

The state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to postpone the requirement for two years, and Gov. Tom Wolf says he'll sign the bill. The bill has already passed the House unanimously.

The requirement won approval from the State Board of Education in 2013. But under the bill, the requirement now would take effect in the 2018-19 academic year.

About a dozen states have such a requirement.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A committee tasked by city council to look at wages of Pittsburgh's hospital service workers recommended they get a $15 minimum wage during a post-agenda meeting on Tuesday.

Ray Bodden / Flickr

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday he hopes newly released standards will help lower ethane emissions in the state.

The greenhouse gas can leak or be released into the atmosphere during natural gas production, transportation and processing. 

Analyzing Our Fascination With True Life Crime

Jan 20, 2016
Making A Murderer / Netflix

Long before the debut of Netflix’s documentary series Making a Murderer, cable television networks have been devoting programming to true crime investigation shows featuring tales of hometown homicides and vicious serial killers.

But why are we so fascinated with murder and violent crime? 

David Schmid, professor of English at SUNY Buffalo and author of Violence in American Popular Culture says the public’s interest in true crimes, particularly homicides, stems from a need to cope with fear.

pittsburghpa.gov

For the next month, the city of Pittsburgh will highlight a different resident each day in an effort to show off the region’s diversity.

“We’re very much lacking in that area,” said Betty Cruz, the city's deputy chief of special initiatives. “But there are people from diverse backgrounds here and they need to be welcomed and they need to have their story told.”

Courtesy of Carlow University

Oakland residents looking to buy groceries might not have to drive or ride a bus to the nearest supermarket anymore.

Craig Zirpolo / Flickr user VCU CNS

Norwin School District in Westmoreland County will start stocking the anti-opioid drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, in its school nurses’ offices early this year.

Superintendent William Kerr said training for nurses, coaches and administrators is scheduled for February.

An increasing number of school districts are keeping the drug on hand, as the number of opioid overdose deaths in the region continue to skyrocket.

Alex / Flickr

Replacing sitting with light housework or a stroll may be the new recommendation for severely obese adults looking to reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

That’s what a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health-led team found after a week long study tracking 927 patients before their weight-loss surgery.

fawcettforag.com

 

A Pittsburgh lawyer says he's no longer seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general, now that a longtime district attorney from western Pennsylvania is also running.

David Fawcett said Tuesday that running against Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala would split the western Pennsylvania vote against eastern Pennsylvania candidates.

Marcus Charleston / WESA

As the Pennsylvanian budget impasse enters its 7th month without an ending in sight, many are wondering what can be done to keep this from happening again. However, as Tribune Review reporter Natasha Lindstrom discovered, Pennsylvania may be the only state to experience this problem.

Ryan Loew / PublicSource

  Monica Hawkins can still laugh at her son Donté’s sense of humor as she replays it nearly four years later on YouTube. And she can smile at the uncanny resemblance her grandson Jaiden has to his dad. The same smile. The same mischievous energy.

But fresh tears come when she recounts the night Donté died at age 20, the helplessness she felt at the scene, and the hole his loss leaves in their family.

No Budget Deal In Sight As Pennsylvania Senate Reconvenes

Jan 19, 2016
Elizabeth Thomsen / via Flickr Creative Commons

 

The Pennsylvania Senate is returning to its first voting session of 2016, as Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers give no signs of resolving a 7-month-old budget fight that's left billions in school aid in limbo.

Tuesday's session is three weeks before Wolf is scheduled to deliver his second budget proposal to the Legislature, that one for the fiscal year that begins next July 1.

Dissolving Small Town Police Forces

Jan 19, 2016
David Holt / flickr

Wilkinsburg is one of several small towns considering the dissolution of their police department for financial reasons. It’s a trend among some small towns that dates back over 10 years. 

Christine Manganas of WESA’s content partner PublicSource joined Essential Pittsburgh in studio to talk about the issue with Ohio Township Police Chief Norbert Micklos, whose police force covers seven neighboring boroughs.

Summit Against Racism

The first Saturday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day marks the 18th annual Summit Against Racism, a day-long conference that promotes dialogue on race and ethnicity, as well as gender and sexuality.

Event organizers are expecting more than 400 guests, the best attendance in the event’s history.

One in every four American women will die from cardiovascular disease each year, more than the number of deaths from breast cancer, stroke and lung cancer combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cardiologists from Allegheny Health Network are looking to improve those odds.

Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team

About 130 dogs have gone from a bad situation to safety thanks to a Pittsburgh organization that rescues canines throughout the Midwest, south and eastern part of the U.S.

The Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team uses a small fleet of airplanes, most privately-owned, to rescue dogs in various situations.  

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Senate is in a bit of a pickle as it advances its analysis of whether or not to boot Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office due to the suspension of her law license last year pending her trial on perjury and other criminal charges.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Following the shooting of a police officer in Philadelphia in early January, one state lawmaker is calling on his colleagues to consider legislation that would mandate the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

“We have no way right now to go out and prosecute and finish a prosecution of a lost or stolen gun, because there is no responsibility on a gun owner to report a lost or stolen gun,” said Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The gun used in the Jan. 8 shooting of Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett had been stolen from another police officer and reported in 2013. But Farnese said there are many crimes involving firearms in which a reporting law would help law enforcement.

Pennsylvanians who fly can still use their state-issued driver’s license to board a commercial flight—for the next two years.

The Department of Homeland Security this month revised its schedule for enforcing the REAL I-D Act of 2005, a security measure Congress passed on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

“At this point, there’s no impact on Pennsylvania citizens. They can continue to use a Pennsylvania driver’s license to board commercial aircraft,” said PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick.

Highways England / flickr

They come with every new app or piece of software -- they are required to be there by law -- but who actually reads those privacy policy statements that pop up when you are trying to add something to your computer or smart phone?

“Privacy policies that we have at the moment, which are these long legal documents, are important and they play an important roll,” said Florian Schaub, post-doctoral researcher at the Carnegie Mellon University Institute for Software Research. “However, these privacy policies are typically not useful to users and are not meaningful to them.”

Legislation is waiting in the wings to update the state’s Right-to-Know law, overhauled in 2008 to make government records more accessible.

The eight-year-old re-write corrected laws once considered among the worst in the nation and flung open the filing cabinets of some state and local government and let the public in – to sometimes overwhelming effect.

What’s the single largest category of people filing record requests?

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