News

Emma Gross / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited Pittsburgh on Monday as part of the nationwide Community Policing Tour that highlights cities taking innovative and effective steps to build trust between the police force and the community.

AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka

As Pennsylvania lawmakers continue a long-standing debate over legalizing medicinal marijuana, one University of Pittsburgh study shows officials shouldn't overlook the importance of where those future clinics could crop up.

Ralph Vituccio / Andreas Tapia-Urzua

Once the doors to Cuba opened, a couple of local college professors charged on through.

Ralph Vituccio, an assistant teaching professor at the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and an award-winning filmmaker and documentarian, talks about co-hosting and co-presenting an interactive video art installation at the 2015 Havana International Biennale this summer. Joining Vituccio as the only American exhibitor was his colleague Andreas Tapia-Urzua, chair of the Digital Media Department at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. They join us to talk about their trip to Cuba and the reaction their work received.

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane plans to take reporters’ questions Wednesday, days after she was arraigned on charges including perjury.

Kane has said she’s innocent and will not resign, but she did not address the media when she turned herself in on Saturday.

Applying 'Trust, But Verify' To The Iran Nuclear Deal

Aug 10, 2015
Adam Jones / flickr

  As President Obama works to convince Congress to accept the Iran Nuclear Deal, many agencies and foreign policy experts have weighed in with their thoughts. We'll talk with former Ambassador to Israel Thomas Pickering who says: "We need to have a frank talk, not a rhetorical slamming match, about what's right and what's wrong with this deal and why this is a deal that Israel should accept."  

Easing College Drop-off Stress

Aug 10, 2015

The transition from high school to college can be a stressful time for parents and students. From orientation to moving into residence halls we’ll be given tips for easing college drop-off stress with Sarah George, director of Student Engagement at Point Park University.

Also in the program, we’ll get insight on the city’s first Affordable Housing Task Force meeting and learn about a new up and coming sport in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

  Ridership along the Penn Avenue bike lanes is up at least 25 percent since June, according to data released last week by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Spokesperson Leigh White said they counted roughly 1,000 trips per day on average in July. Ridership also spiked on weekends, she said.

Ohad Cadji / PublicSource

Rochelle Jackson had three kids and was pregnant with a son. She was also scared. Her boyfriend, the father of her children, had grown increasingly abusive during her pregnancy.

It was 1998 when she decided to press charges for physical and sexual assault, and her boyfriend went to jail. She was finally free, but now she was on her own with a growing family.

In 2014, an estimated 1.4 million people in sub-Saharan Africa became newly infected with HIV, according to the foundation for AIDS research (amfAR). A University of Pittsburgh research team is studying ways to prevent these numbers from rising.

Infectious diseases researchers at Pitt are leading a five-year, $5 million initiative to monitor drug resistance during the large-scale rollout of HIV prevention drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda because the epidemic is large in these areas.

A 2012 Pennsylvanian law aimed at making the Unemployment Compensation Fund more solvent inadvertently took its toll on seasonal workers.

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee is holding hearings to determine how to fix this law.

Three years ago, the General Assembly took action to reduce a $4 billion debt to the federal government.

Monongahela is leading the way in the fight against abandoned, run-down properties, according to state Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

There will be a roundtable discussion in the town on Tuesday evening to address the best ways communities can address the problem of blight, with Monongahela’s success at the center.

“When you go down main street in Monongahela, you cannot believe how different it is from eight years ago,” Bartolotta said. “I think there might be one, maybe two, storefronts that aren’t up and running with really cute businesses.”

Although they often go unnoticed, snails perform vital functions for the ecosystem, such as feeding squirrels and providing calcium in the shells of bird eggs.

The snail and its fellow mollusks will be the center of talk Monday at the Carnegie Science Center by Tim Pearce, assistant curator of mollusks at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Negotiating The Iran Nuclear Deal

Aug 10, 2015
Carolyn Kaster / AP Images

  Republicans in Congress have scheduled a vote for mid-September on a resolution to reject the Iran nuclear deal. Conservatives are using the August recess to build up public pressure against the agreement.Former U.S. Ambassador Dan Simpson is now a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette associate editor. He has written an op-ed piece calling on Congress to approve the Iran deal. Ambassador Simpson joins us in studio along with, by phone from Israel, Gregg Roman, Community Relations Council Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh who says we have cause to be wary of Iran." Also in the studio, Stuart Pavilack, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Office Zionist Organization of America who believes Congress should reject the deal.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane Arraigned On Criminal Charges

Aug 8, 2015
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Pennsylvania's top prosecutor barely spoke at her arraignment Saturday on charges including a felony count of perjury, but her attorney stressed afterward that she has no plans to resign, despite growing pressure even among her fellow Democrats.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane did not enter a plea during the brief proceedings via closed-circuit television in suburban Philadelphia and only responded to the judge with yes or no.

What does Pittsburgh have in common with Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Melbourne?

Each was selected as one of top 11 cities in the world “to live, work and play in” by Metropolis magazine for a particular livability feature: from walkability — Copenhagen, to culture — Hong Kong, to smart infrastructure — Melbourne.

The magazine, which deals with architecture and design, cited Toronto, Tokyo and Helsinki as the three most livable cities in the world overall. But Pittsburgh was honored for its advanced historic preservation.

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health wants to know if state regulations for nursing homes need to be tightened, while the commonwealth’s senior U.S. senator wants to ensure the nationwide rating system of nursing homes is accurate.

Secretary of Health Karen Murphy announced the formation of a task force to determine what actions should be taken to improve the quality of nursing homes across the state. 

“It will include a comprehensive review of regulatory requirements affecting nursing homes and making recommendations on revisions to the regulations,” Murphy said.

Summer is prime time for road construction, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is taking advantage of the mild weather to push forward on major construction on Parkway West (I-376).

The project also involves $14.2 million worth of repairs and upgrades to the Fort Pitt Tunnel, including concrete repair work to the tunnel walls, electrical updates, drainage improvements and resurfacing of the roadway. Work on the tunnel is expected to be finished by the spring of 2016.

Unmapped, Unregulated Maze Of Rural Pipelines Poses Hidden Risks

Aug 7, 2015
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

The Wolf Administration says Pennsylvania will be getting tens of thousands of miles of new pipelines over the next couple of decades. Recently we reported on how poorly mapped some of these pipelines are.  

Many of those unmapped pipelines are also unregulated. These are rural gathering lines, or pipelines that take the gas from the wellhead to a larger transmission line, or gas processing facility.

Just four miles from its previous location, the Career Training Academy (CTA) on Friday officially celebrates its newer and larger North Hills campus in the West View Shopping Plaza.

The previous campus operated within  Northway Mall since 1996. Classes there ended April 23 and began in West View four days later.

“We have the space to expand, we want to expand, currently we’re offering three programs here: massage therapy, medical assisting, and medical billing, and we offer diploma and degrees in all of those programs,” said Carla Ryba, campus director of the new facility.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

The struggle between Israelis and Palestinians continues to make daily headlines. But in one of Israel’s oldest cities, Arabs and Jews are coming together to start a project that has its origin in Pittsburgh — Manchester Bidwell Corporation arts and jobs training model.

Representatives from a variety of advocacy organizations celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act with a news conference Thursday on Freedom Corner in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

While they celebrated, they spoke of efforts in recent years to rescind voters' rights, such as the defeated voter ID law and changes they want to see that would allow Pennsylvanians more voting flexibility.

FBI via AP

Behind the locked door of master violin maker Phillip Injeian’s shop, his dog Cocoa sleepily monitors the passersby on Penn Avenue, and copies of The Strad magazine, “essential reading for the string music world since 1890,” hang on the wall.

Injeian said people often contact him, thinking they’ve found an instrument made by Antonio Stradivari.

90.5 WESA will air the BBC Newshour Monday through Friday at 9am starting August 17th. With the world's unrelenting 24-hour news cycle, Newshour is the program that cuts through the background noise and provides definitive reports on the big stories of the day.  Newshour will present an all-encompassing explanation of the day's lead story, compelling reports from the BBC's team of correspondents and probing interviews with the newsmakers at the heart of eve

Josh and Rachel are back from vacation (which they talk about for approximately 9 minutes) and back to business! 

This weekend kicks off Friday with the Steel City Con at the Monroeville Convention Center! The event will host over 750 vendors and run all weekend.

Braddock Community Day is this Saturday from 11am-4pm. The free event includes music, games, food, a petting zoo and more! 

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman has announced criminal charges against Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. Ferman has been investigating a grand jury's conclusion that Kane leaked secret investigative information to a Philadelphia newspaper to embarrass a political foe. John Micek, opinions editor for the Patriot News and Penn Live joins us to discuss the latest developments.

Shane T. McCoy / United States Marshalls

A century ago, two police officers from Pittsburgh decided they wanted better working conditions. They would go on to form the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which continues to advocate for police officers across the country.

This weekend, the FOP National Conference will be back in the city where the organization began, something that happens every quarter century, according to National FOP President Chuck Canterbury.

Illustrative (Creative Commons)

It's hard to believe it is "back to school" time already. Essential Pittsburgh will be taking Fridays off now through Sept. 4 to spend some time in their classroom working on the fall season. Please enjoy these education-themed specials or catch up on episodes of Essential Pittsburgh you may have missed here.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane was charged Thursday for leaking secret grand jury information to seek revenge on her rivals and then lying about it to a separate investigating grand jury.

Urban Archives / Temple University Libraries

   During World War II, due to shortages, there were plenty of things Americans had to do without and NFL football was nearly one them. The war left the league with a shortage of able bodied men to play the game. So rather than shut down during the 1943 season, the Steelers and the Philadelpha Eagles combined their rosters to form a unified Pennsylvania team; the "Steagles." We'll talk with Matthew Algeo, author of "Last Team Standing: How the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles--'The Steagles' Saved Pro Football During World War II," and Al Wistert, the last surviving Steagle.     

A list released recently names Tom Wolf as the most liberal governor in the country. He prefers the term “practical.”

The ranking came from InsideGov, a product of data visualization company FindtheBest. Governors were evaluated using their campaign platforms, public statements, and voting records.

Wolf demurred on his first-place finish, saying on WITF’s Smart Talk that people should judge him by what he’s done.

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