News

Few Surprises At Small Toomey Town Hall

Sep 1, 2017
Emma Lee / WHYY

In a much-anticipated town hall held Thursday night in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Pat Toomey said little that would surprise his constituents.

Courtesy of Ted Zellers

Ted Zellers has knocked on doors from the West End to the North Side to Polish Hill and beyond, all to ask people if he can have a look in their basements.

“I’ve been surprised about how positive the reactions of people have been,” he said. “I was really worried when I started this that a lot of people would think I was a weirdo for wanting to do this.”

The Lawrenceville resident and amateur photographer is compiling photographs of those lone basement toilets. He said he’s hoping to one day share them in some kind of coffee table book, or eventually a gallery show.

Jeff White / AP

Two Penn State professors have received $300,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop technology that will enable digital devices to weed out fake news.

The university says information sciences and technology professor Dongwon Lee and communications professor S. Shyam Sundar are working on the project.

Lee says fake news "has been around for decades" but has been "exacerbated" on the internet and social media platforms.

Steve Johnson / flickr

Residents of Pittsburgh's northern neighborhoods and Reserve Township can again use water from their faucets. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced Thursday evening that the precautionary flush and boil advisory instituted Monday had been lifted.

The advisory has not been lifted in Millvale, however, where additional tests are required to verify that the water is safe.

Tony Talbot / AP

One of the root causes of opioid addiction is over-prescription of addictive drugs.

A major reason it occurs is the practice of doctor shopping — when people visit five or more prescribers in hopes of getting drugs. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will burden communities that most depend on public transportation with higher costs and less frequent service, according to protesters who gathered Thursday in Braddock to speak out against the plan.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Kindergartners dressed in blue shirts and khakis sit on the gym floor of Allegheny K-5 with their classmates. A few are visibly nervous, but the moms and dads standing around them are the ones shedding tears.

Evan Vucci / AP

A focus group of 12 Pittsburgh voters expressed bipartisan disappointment in Donald Trump's leadership skills as president. The group consisted of five Trump voters, six Hillary Clinton voters and one person who voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Daniel / Flickr

A small-town Pennsylvania police chief is drawing fire for an internal memo telling his officers to stop making so many traffic stops because of too many resident complaints.

Midland police Chief Keith McCarthy still wants his officers to stop suspected drunken drivers and others suspected of more serious offenses, but asked them to "stop traffic stops significantly." He warned officers who don't will be scheduled for fewer hours.

Alex Brandon / AP

Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is set to face voters in a televised town hall.

Toomey will take questions at the PBS station in Bethlehem on Thursday night. It's his second televised town hall since President Donald Trump took office.

Toomey, a conservative, was considered to be one of the nation's most vulnerable incumbents heading into last November's election but won a narrow victory for his second term.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A Department of Health report out this week has shown that only 28 percent of Pennsylvania children undergo recommended lead testing.

Alcoa

 

 

Ford kicked off a battle in the U.S. auto industry in 2015. The body of its iconic F-150 truck went from being made of steel to being made of aluminum. Ford touted the benefits of aluminum in its advertising. Its lighter weight shaved 700 pounds off the F-150, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing tailpipe emissions.

Philadelphia Is The Latest City To Sue U.S. Government Over 'Sanctuary' Conditions

Aug 30, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Philadelphia on Wednesday became the latest "sanctuary city" to sue Attorney General Jeff Sessions over what officials say are unconstitutional immigration restrictions placed on a major federal grant.

The city is asking the court to stop Sessions from adding these conditions to a its Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant, which it uses to pay police overtime, upgrade equipment and courtroom technology and train officers.

Lawyer: Penn State Fraternity Leaders Were Unaware Pledge Who Died Was In Danger

Aug 30, 2017
Bebeto Matthews / AP

The lawyer for a Penn State fraternity president accused in the death of a pledge after a night of drinking and hazing argued Wednesday that his client didn't see anything to make him think the pledge was at risk of dying.

Defense attorney Frank Fina said during a preliminary hearing that there was no evidence that former Beta Theta Pi president Brendan Young acted maliciously the night 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey, was fatally injured.

2 Dead And 4 Injured At Pittsburgh-Area Coal Plant Accident

Aug 30, 2017
Keith Srakocic / AP

Two workers died and four others were injured in an accident at a Pittsburgh-area coal-fired power plant late Tuesday.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Despite reports of improvement in recent days, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium officials said Wednesday morning that the facility’s baby elephant has been euthanized.

“Our hearts are broken, it’s just devastating,” said Pittsburgh Zoo president and CEO Barbara Baker in a press release. “She touched so many people in such a short time. We did everything we possibly could to care for her, but unfortunately in the end, it just wasn’t enough.”

Carolyn Kaster / AP

A regional bank is paying $720,000 for naming rights to a Pennsylvania hockey rink made famous in the cult hockey comedy "Slap Shot."

The deal means the building will now be known as 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial.

The 67-year-old arena was home to the defunct Johnstown Jets, a minor-league team whose fictionalized exploits were the focus of the 1977 Paul Newman film. The team was called the Charlestown Chiefs in the movie.

The Johnstown Tomahawks play in the junior league North American Hockey League.

Colt Group / Flicker

 

In mid-September, the Pittsburgh Technology Council will take a delegation of Pittsburghers across the Atlantic to Bilbao, Spain for a five-day trip. The goal of the visit is to take a leaf out of our Spanish sister-city’s book.

Brian Kennedy, senior vice president for government relations and operations at the council, stressed that if Pittsburgh wants to keep bringing in talent to fill high-tech jobs, the city needs to be a place that’s both exciting to live in and easy to get around in.

 

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

More than eight months after a fight over funding for the state’s jobless program, the Wolf administration says the program is still working inadequately, and needs more money soon.

At a House committee meeting Tuesday, lawmakers attempted to hammer out how to make a long-term fix. But many left saying they still didn’t have enough information.

In April, the legislature authorized a short-term, $15 million funding solution, which was designed to tide over the Unemployment Compensation Program and kick-start upgrades to its decades-old computer system.

Margaret Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On a recent afternoon, Steve Kubrick climbed to the brand new roof of one of his buildings to look at the last seven years of his life, poured into rebuilding the former Alcoa Research Laboratory in New Kensington. 

Marie Cusick / StateImpact PA

A group of Roman Catholic nuns has filed a lawsuit against the federal agency that approved construction of a major interstate natural gas pipeline, planned to run through the nuns’ property in Lancaster County.

The suit, filed by sisters from the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, targets the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline and alleges the project violates their religious freedom, which is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Bigstock / via WHYY

Teenagers are often thought of as irresponsible — or even reckless. But a group of local researchers recently came to a different conclusion about what's going on in the teenage brain.

Stereotypes about young people and their brains abound, and scientists have not been immune to those ideas, said Dan Romer, research director at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.

First, it was raging hormones that explained those wacky teens. Then, Romer said, it was the fact that the prefrontal cortex doesn't fully develop until adulthood.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An estimated 18,000 homes in Pittsburgh's northern neighborhoods, Millvale and Reserve Township will continue to be under a flush and boil water advisory until at least Thursday, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials said Tuesday.

Mark Humphrey / AP

The devastation from Tropical Storm Harvey along the Gulf Coast is starting to have a ripple effect on gasoline prices across the country.

The storm has taken about 14 percent the nation’s refining capacity offline. The national average price of gasoline has started to rise, as major refineries in the Houston area have shut down.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with the online price-tracking firm GasBuddy, said Pennsylvania’s average of $2.55 per gallon will probably go up by about 10 to 15 cents.

Piotrus / Wikimedia Commons

An online petition to remove a controversial statue of one of Pittsburgh's native sons in Oakland has gathered more than 1,000 signatures.

Volmar Beche / flickr

An elderly woman in Pittsburgh’s East End has contracted West Nile Virus, the first reported case in Allegheny County since 2015.

Allegheny County Health Department officials said, while the disease can’t be spread through human contact, infected mosquito activity is higher this summer than in the previous six years.

Wolf To GOP: State's Finances Will Soon Be 'Much More Dire'

Aug 29, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf warned House Republican leaders Tuesday that failing to fully fund the state budget will put Pennsylvania in "a much more dire financial situation" in the coming weeks.

Wolf's letter to Speaker Mike Turzai, Majority Leader Dave Reed and six other House GOP leaders urged them to act quickly to fill the budget's $2.2 billion revenue gap.

David J. Phillip / AP

Six airmen skilled in securing and re-establishing cellphone and satellite communications are on their way to help with Tropical Storm Harvey recovery in the Houston area.

The Wolf administration said Tuesday the members of the 193rd Special Operations Wing departed on a C-130 transport plane for Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.

They're based at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

Officials say they don't know how long the team will be helping out in Texas after being activated by the National Guard Bureau.

Matt Rourke / AP

Prices are on the rise for some of the most popular wines and liquors sold in state stores.

It’s the first hike more than two decades, thanks to a new law passed last year that gave the LCB the ability to flexibly price its products.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta will announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Campaign spokesman Jon Anzur told The Associated Press on Monday night that Barletta will release a video announcing his run for the Senate seat held by two-term Democrat Bob Casey.

The Pennsylvania Republican's entry into the race was widely expected after the AP reported last month that Barletta had relayed his plans to GOP officials and activists.

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