News

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?

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

Kids across the nation will be able to continue visiting Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood thanks to funding from Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid Foundation.

Daniel Tiger is the son of Daniel Striped Tiger, a puppet in the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which aired on PBS. The younger Daniel wears a red cardigan and his friends are related to the original characters.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

  Police are puzzled why the city's aggravated assaults, shootings and calls for shots fired all rose in 2015 as the number of homicides fell to levels more on par with previous years, Police Chief Cameron McLay said Friday.

Traditionally, shootings are a good measure for a city's homicide rate, McLay said. That didn't hold true for Pittsburgh in 2015.

Pittsburgh-based law firm Reed Smith has cut 45 attorneys and an unspecified number of support staff employees.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the cuts are part of a restructuring of the firm's offices in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

The firm isn't saying where the layoffs have occurred.

The firm's Pittsburgh headquarters employs 250 of the 1,650 attorneys the firm employs worldwide.

John Fetterman

With just over three months to election day, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman will have to step up his fundraising efforts to catch up with his two Democratic primary rivals in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race.

Fetterman is running a populist campaign, and lately he's been trying to borrow some momentum from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who's popularity is surging in Iowa.

Fetterman endorsed the socialist candidate earlier this week, and spoke about it Thursday night on Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show."

CCAC North Library / Flickr

Starting Wednesday, students at the Community College of Allegheny County will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania without leaving CCAC’s North Side campus. 

Pgh Murals / Twitter

After viewing the results of the workplace diversity survey, what can employers and employees do to make Pittsburgh a more inclusive and diverse region both in the workplace and in the community? Dignity and Respect, Inc. founder and CEO Candi Castleberry Singleton says the conversation in Pittsburgh echoes much of what her organization stands for: action and commitment. 

Pittsburgh Commuter Survey

  City officials released initial results from a survey of Pittsburgh-area commuters on Thursday, sharing insight into the commuting patterns of some city travelers. 

Wolf Still Hopes For Budget Deal As Next Proposal Nears

Jan 14, 2016
Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

 

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says he's hoping to finish a budget deal for the half-finished fiscal year before he delivers a spending proposal for the year starting next July 1.

Raymond "Dmitri" Beljan / Flickr

 

Tuition at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh is increasing by 3.2 percent for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy told the campus in an email that the school's board of trustees has approved the rate increase, which brings tuition to $51,196 a year for undergraduates entering this fall and for those who entered in the fall of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Undergraduates who came in the fall of 2012 will pay $50,690 a year. Graduate prices are set at the program level.

Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

 

Loan payments and credit downgrades mean that the state's community colleges won't recover right away.

Some of the upsides of a community college — lower tuition, shorter programs, local funding contributions — have quickly become challenges during the budget impasse. Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges have been hurt by the six month delay, and may continue to feel the pinch even though state funds have been released.

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