News

Jobs for Felons Hub / flickr

The U.S. Department of Education has revamped a higher education program for prisoners, and four schools in the Commonwealth have been selected to participate. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, Bloomsburg University and the Lehigh Carbon Community College will create the curriculum to educate prisoners selected for the grants under the new Second Chance Pell Grant pilot.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Fourth of July celebrations were punctuated by gunfire on Monday, as four people were shot downtown following the fireworks. Mayor Bill Peduto attributed it in part to the ease with which young people are able to obtain guns.

Flickr/Nate Steiner

Throat cancer survivor Larry VanDyke drinks kale protein every day. He's been in recovery since August of 2014 when he endured seven weeks of radiation and three rounds of chemotherapy.

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Residents of Allentown and the South Side Slopes are about one week away from seeing a former hillside dump site given special status as Pittsburgh’s newest greenway.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

At the south end of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium parking lot is a small access road with a sign reading “Do Not Enter.” Beyond that is a big gravel parking lot, mostly used for overflow parking during large zoo events and as a staging area and storage space for the Department of Public Works.

Bethlehem Haven

Bethlehem Haven, a shelter for at-risk and homeless women, is joining the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, in a move that will secure their financial stability and offer a wider range of services to the women it helps.

Bethlehem Haven offers transitional housing with the assistance of federal Department of Housing and Urban Development grants. But Bethlehem Haven President Thomas Herward said HUD’s focus on rapid re-housing has left the shelter under-funded.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Attendance is up at Anthrocon, a conference boasting the world's largest convergence of human-like animal characters, now celebrating its 20th year.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials said Friday they’re working out the kinks causing inaccurate water bills for roughly 30,000 residents. 

Residents said they’ve received inaccurate or late bills for months.

The Pittsburgh Kid Could Have Been A Contender

Jul 1, 2016
BillyConn.net

Known as “The Pittsburgh Kid,” heavyweight boxer Billy Conn fought Joe Louis 75 years ago almost beating the heavyweight champion. However, after 13 rounds of boxing and a swift change of speed by Louis, who outweighed Conn by 30 pounds, Conn was knocked out.

The Toonseum Celebrates 75 Years Of The Star Spangled Man

Jul 1, 2016
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Just in time for the July 4th holiday the Toonseum is honoring a true American hero. We spoke with Stu Neft, curator of the current exhibit Captain America: 75 Years of the Sentinel of Liberty.

A Conversation With WESA/WYEP's New CEO Terry O'Reilly

Jul 1, 2016
Jeff Swenson / 90.5 WESA

Terry O’Reilly has been announced as the new President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation, owner of 90.5 WESA and sister station WYEP. WESA’s Deanna Garcia sat down with O’Reilly, who most recently worked for Twin Cities PBS in Minneapolis.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Superintendent Anthony Hamlet started his first official day as Pittsburgh Public Schools' newest leader by apologizing for the "unintended distraction" caused by allegations of misrepresentation and plagiarism riddling his resume.

  Happy Fourth of July weekend! Time to celebrate all things red, white and blue. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on your holiday weekend plans. Hint, hint, they involve fireworks.

The Tamburitzans

Friday is a monumental day for one of Pittsburgh's longest running coed dance and music ensembles as Duquesne University's Tamburitzans officially split from the school to become their own nonprofit organization.  

Executive Director and former “Tammie” Robert Vukic said the move will secure the group’s financial future and preserve the Tamburitzan legacy as both an educational and cultural institution.

It was an economic choice, Vukic said, adding, “We’re the first 80-year-old start-up.”

A Budget Is Passed But When Will The Governor Sign It Into Law

Jul 1, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP Images

Despite a Wednesday deadline, Pennsylvania is still without a budget. The State House and Senate have agreed to a $31.6 billion spending plan, but Gov.Tom Wolf has refused to sign it without an accompanying revenue plan.  

 

 

Denise Ford

A group of Pittsburghers is lending a helping hand to children in Haiti.

The Pittsburgh-based Yahve-Jire Children's Foundation operates an orphanage in Haiti for 25 children, which is completely funded through donations and services provided by volunteers primarily from the Pittsburgh region. 

A group of locals set off for Haiti on Saturday for the next mission trip, led by Denise Ford, a volunteer from South Fayette Township.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Arsenal Cider House’s new production facility in Penn Hills is still under construction, with nothing produced yet inside the 17,000-square-foot warehouse. But outside, 110,000 workers are toiling away to create something that will one day end up inside Arsenal’s signature “daily rations” growlers.

Megan Fair / 90.5 WESA

 

Pittsburgh police added five new officers of color on Thursday, inching closer to city leaders' goals for minority representation.

Nearly 26 percent of the bureau's newest officers were men of color, including four black males and one Hispanic male. Mayor Bill Peduto said late last year he wanted to increase minority representation to a number more closely reflecting the city's citizens. According to the U.S. Census, that's up to 34 percent.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Residents of Coraopolis are volunteering time and energy into revitalizing the borough’s train station. We’ll hear about the station’s history and the work being done to make the building an integral part in the rebuilding of the community in this audio post card.

Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh comedian Annie Claffey is searching for America’s favorite adjective. She’ll be driving a green-and-blue car decked out with Mad Libs logos across the country over the next six weeks.

Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force

For 25 years, Alan Jones has been working with the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. He’s seen the days when the disease was essentially a death sentence to recent discoveries of preventative medicines and increased awareness. Alan has watched how HIV/AIDS impacts Pittsburgh and joins us to talk about his experience and share stories from his career.

Plan To Pay For $31.6 Bil Budget Still Unclear

Jun 30, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

In this year’s budget negotiations, state legislators seem eager to show their constituents that last year’s nine-month deadlock is behind them.

After receiving the House’s nearly $31.6 billion spending plan Wednesday, the Senate quickly passed its general appropriations in a bipartisan vote, just a day before the Thursday deadline.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Republican Patrick Browne, said the Senate proposal contains only minor changes, notably adding money for higher education.

Rafael Sato / flickr

As the legislature grapples with budget details including education funding, Governor Tom Wolf has already signed into law a new formula for distributing state education money. The formula is used to decide how much each district gets but how does it work? We’ll ask Keystone Crossroads reporter Kevin McCorry and Jay Himes, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.

Flickr user Shaine Hatch

The state of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh announced a new partnership aimed at helping stem the tide of opioid addiction, county by county.

“It doesn’t matter where you go in the commonwealth, in southwestern PA, in urban PA, rural Pennsylvania and suburban Pennsylvania. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what zip code you come from, too many lives are being taken by heroin and opioids,” said Josh Shapiro, head of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which is funding the new center.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Public Schools Board voted against a motion to rescind newly hired Superintendent Anthony Hamlet’s contract Wednesday night after a month of scrutiny over discrepancies in his resume.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

On the heels of the sit-in staged by Democrats in the House of Representatives last week, one Pennsylvania Congressman took to the steps of Pittsburgh's City-County Building on Wednesday to renew calls for lawmakers to hold a vote on proposed gun reforms.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

The Fab Lab at the Carnegie Science Center is using its 3-D printer to make prosthetic hands. The “e-Nable the Future” program allowed visitors to take part in a workshop utilizing this technology. Essential Pittsburgh producer Marcus Charleston attended the workshop.

The Remake Learning series is a collaboration of 90.5 WESA, WQED, Pittsburgh Magazine and NEXTpittsburgh.

PA House Majority Leader Confident About Budget Negotiations

Jun 29, 2016
Julio Cortez / AP Images

The deadline for Pennsylvania's 2016-17 budget is Friday and a compromise is looking more likely this year than last. We'll ask Majority Leader Dave Reed what's included in this year's budget and how negotiations are different in this session.

Uber / uber.com

Imagine it’s the future and you’re riding down the road in your autonomous vehicle when suddenly it starts to downpour. Your vehicle wakes you up, says they don’t feel comfortable driving in the conditions and hand you the wheel. That responsible robotic action is one of the thoughts behind a recent workshop that examined how engineers can create safe and controlled artificial intelligence technologies. William Scherlis, director of the Institute for Software Research in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science joins us to talk about the concept and the dialogue at the workshop.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are making tiny strides -- no, really -- that could revolutionize the solar industry.

Paul Leu runs a lab at the university where students work with tiny particles called nanotubes.

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