News

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner announced Tuesday she intends to subpoena the county administration and police department.

She said it’s the result of the “refusal to cooperate” with her performance audit of the police department, which includes 220 officers and operates on a $29.4 million budget.

The subpoena will call on County Manager William McCain, Chief of Staff Jennifer Liptak and police Superintendent Charles Moffat to report to her office on Feb. 23 to discuss the audit and next steps.

University of Pittsburgh researchers might have stumbled onto a cost-effective way to fight cancer – with cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins.

When it comes to cancer, Dr. Zoltán Oltvai, senior author of the study and associate professor of pathology, said most patients don’t die from their original tumor but rather from the cancer spreading throughout their bodies.

Researcher Maps Pittsburgh's Worst Air Pollution

Feb 10, 2015
Courtesy: Albert Presto

Pittsburgh is the 6th most offensive city in the country in terms of air pollution, according to a 2014 report from the American Lung Association.

Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC launched the MyMageePregnancy app about three weeks ago, which is available on the hospital's Facebook page.  

Spokeswoman Courtney McCrimmon said the app has already received more than 2000 views. Although some of the information applies specifically to Magee patients, the website has general information and is accessible to anyone.

McCrimmon said Magee created the app because some information on the web is not reliable.  

Under the current law, parents of children who are chronically absent from school are subject to fines. If they can’t pay those fines, then they face jail time. State Rep. Mark Gillen (R-Berks, Lancaster) said he is trying to change the current statute from a “shall” provision because parents don’t belong in prison.

“We think that it needs to be changed to a 'may' provision,” said Gillen. “We’ve got 50,000 inmates in the Pennsylvania prison system. Currently we’re exceeding our capacity by 3,800 inmates.”

Tuesday Rundown: Is It Time To Do Away With Restaurant Tipping?

Feb 10, 2015
Luz Bratcher / Flickr

These topics air Tuesday February 10, 2015 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Dismantling Healthy PA

When Tom Wolf was campaigning for Governor, he said he would do away with then-Governor Tom Corbett's Healthy PA plan, to a full Medicaid expansion supported by the Affordable Care Act. This week Gov. Wolf officially announced plans to transition from Healthy PA to the Medicaid expansion. We'll talk about the implications of this change with Antoinette Kraus, Director of PA Health Access Network. 

Doing Away with the Tipping Culture

Last month Bar Marco, a trendy restaurant in the Strip District, announced that they plan to do away with tipping this Spring. There’s been an outpouring of interest, curiosity and praise from all over the country. Bar Marco Co-Owner Bobby Fry, and Events Coordinator Andrew Heffner talk about how they came to this decision and how they plan to make it work.

We’ll also look at the pros and cons of a no-tipping policy for owners, servers, and customers when doing away with tips with Meg Fosque, Policy Director for Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), as well as Kevin Joyce, owner of the Carlton Restaurant in Pittsburgh and a member of the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

The Business of Black History Month

African American life, history and culture have become major forces in the United States and the world. Here to discuss the evolution, from both a social and economic perspective, of Black History Month is business contributor Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University. 

Sarah Schneider

Teachers in two Wilkinsburg elementary schools are now using iPads as part of the district’s new personal learning literacy curriculum.  

Kelly Polosky, a fifth grade teacher at Kelly Elementary said her students are able to move at their own pace with the use of tablets.

“During that intervention hour, students are able to stay focused and work on something they specifically need and it’s really hard to get to all those students at a small group table for me to work on, so this is something they can benefit from working on their own.”

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration on Monday announced it is simplifying the benefits packages for adult Medicaid recipients.

Wolf's administration released letter to the federal government saying it is withdrawing a request from former Gov. Tom Corbett for approval of a low-risk benefits package for healthier adults.

Flickr user Cam Miller

Deer culling is set to begin in Mt. Lebanon, as soon as the state Game Commission approves the municipality’s permit application for the trap-and-euthanize method of population control.

But some residents and town commissioners are dissatisfied with the plan, which they say is only a short-term solution to an ongoing problem.

Wikipedia

 

Mood rings were a popular fad in the 1970’s. Flash forward and the concept of gaging our mood via a color is being applied to the Gulf Tower downtown.

An upcoming exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art will use the Gulf Tower Beacon to reflect the city’s mood.

We talk with Divya Rao Heffley, program manager for the Hillman Photography Initiative and Brad Stephenson, director of marketing for the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Traditionally, the color of a mood ring was said to change determining your mood at a given time.

In the past, the Gulf Tower beacon has displayed weather prediction lighting. Each tier signified with temperature or humidity levels. This week, the beacon will tell the people of Pittsburgh the mood of the city with two colors, red as negative and green as positive.

Stephenson simplifies the new project for the Gulf Tower:

“We're taking all of the Instagram images being posted in Pittsburgh and we are using these sentiment analysis tools to measure the attitude of the commentary on the Instagram photos. Then we are taking those and applying a score that will then say more green is positive and more red is negative. We are taking two sides of the tower and applying the green and two sides and applying the red so essentially its a bar chart that shows Pittsburgh commentary on Instagram more positive or more negative in real time at any given moment.”

The idea of the beacon is a lead up to an art show this Saturday, February 14, at the Carnegie Museum of Art called Antoine Catala: Distant Feel.

Ways to Combat Underage Drinking on College Campuses

Feb 9, 2015
Thai Nguyen / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is working with four universities to combat underage drinking. One of the schools taking part is Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

We’ll find out what the university is doing to address this problem with Ann Sesti, Assistant director for IUP's alcohol, tobacco and other drugs program in the Center for Health and Well-Being.

Also taking part in the conversation is Ken Healy, alcohol education specialist with the PA Liquor Control Board Education Office.

Ken Healy responds to a listener’s tweet, which adds a new layer to our discussion:

Dawn Biery

Aileen Owens is the Director of Technology and Innovation for the South Fayette School District. Last year she was the recipient of two national awards for Digital Innovation in Learning.

As part of 90.5 WESA’s Life of Learning Initiative, Ms. Owens joins us to discuss her approach to teaching technology. 

Ms. Owens tells us more about the work she did with teaching technologies for k-12 education:

Marcellus Life: A Native American Protest to Stop a PA Pipeline

Feb 9, 2015
Natasha Khan / PublicSource

Chief Carlos Whitewolf beat a small hand drum and sang a Native American prayer for Mother Earth in the cold January air in Hershey, Pa.

Many of the 50 or so other protesters outside the Hershey Lodge, where national Republican leaders attended a retreat, demonstrated against issues like the Keystone XL pipeline and climate change.

But Whitewolf, chief of the Northern Arawak Tribal Nation of Pennsylvania, was objecting to something more local. In nearby Lancaster County, it’s the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.

A Pennsylvania mall that was the scene of a shooting that injured three people, two of them critically, plans to institute a new policy barring unaccompanied minors on weekend nights.

The gunfire in the Macy's department store at the Monroeville Mall on Saturday sent panicked shoppers running. Police say a 17-year-old suspect has been arrested.

Parkway West Construction to Resume Soon

Feb 9, 2015

PennDOT officials and representatives of contractor Swank Construction will hold two public meetings this week to give information and answer questions about upcoming construction on the Parkway West.

The $72.83 million I-376 project began last summer and will resume next month. The plans call for major improvements to the parkway from I-79 to the Fort Pitt Tunnel including repaving, rebuilding and resurfacing shoulders, improving drainage, replacing guardrails and concrete barriers, adding road signs and rehabilitating bridges.

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is a federal law seeking to prevent, detect and respond to incidents of sexual harassment in prisons. The State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh is the first in Pennsylvania to meet the 43 requirements for compliance.

“They range from training and education of staff and inmates to how we handle investigations to how we handle data collection,” said Jennifer Feicht, PREA coordinator with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Some of the measures in place include:

The Pittsburgh Catholic, the oldest Catholic newspaper in the country, now has more than 150 years’ worth of archived issues available online to the public, thanks to Duquesne University’s Gumberg library.

Thai Nguyen / Flickr

These topics air Monday February 9, 2015 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Combating Underage Drinking

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is working with four universities to combat underage drinking. One of the schools taking part is Indiana University of Pennsylvania. We’ll find out what the university is doing to address this problem with Ann Sesti, Assistant director for IUP's alcohol, tobacco and other drugs program in the Center for Health and Well-Being. Also taking part in the conversation is Ken Healy, alcohol education specialist with the PA Liquor Control Board Education Office.

Teaching Innovation and Technology

Aileen Owens is the Director of Technology and Innovation for the South Fayette School District. Last year she was the recipient of two national awards for Digital Innovation in Learning As part of 90.5 WESA’s Life of Learning Initiative, Ms. Owens joins us to discuss her approach to teaching technology.

Pittsburgh's Mood

Mood rings were a popular fad in the 1970’s. Flash forward and the concept of gaging our moods via a color is being applied to the Gulf Tower downtown. We’ll discover how an upcoming exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art will use the Gulf Tower Beacon to reflect the city’s mood. Joining us with a preview are Divya Rao Heffley, program manager for the Hillman Photography Initiative and Brad Stephenson, director of marketing for the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Three people were hospitalized Sunday with gunshot wounds after a 17-year-old male opened fire on a man at a Pittsburgh-area mall, police said, striking his intended target as well as two bystanders.

The Monroeville Mall went on lockdown Saturday evening after the shooting. The gunman managed to escape but police say they were able to identify him by matching surveillance video with images on social media.

Updated 8:03 a.m. Sunday

Three people were hospitalized Sunday with gunshot wounds after a 17-year-old male opened fire on a man at the Monroeville Mall, police said, striking his intended target as well as two bystanders.

The mall went on lockdown Saturday evening after the shooting. The gunman managed to escape but police say they were able to identify him by matching surveillance video with images on social media.

Gift of the Estate of Richard M. Scaife / Westmoreland Museum of American Art

A new exhibit spotlighting the work of folk artist John Kane has opened at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. We’ll rediscover the artist whose paintings celebrate Pittsburgh with Judith Hansen O’Toole, director and CEO of the museum and Jane Kallir, co-director of Galerie St. Etienne in New York City.

According to Hansen, Kane's rediscovery can be attributed to a sea change in the greater museum environment. 

"Museums now are much more willing to put on the walls works by artists who are lesser known and who the public might not recognize as 'great,'" she says.

Kallir believes Kane's work has endured due to his unique perspective, saying he painted from the point of view of the working class.

"[His work] proves that you don't have to go to art school to be a great artist," says Kallir. "It can be freer and truer and more spontaneous."

The governor’s nominees selected to fill two vacancies on the state Supreme Court appear poised for easy approval by the state Senate.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf selected Democrat Ken Gormley, dean of Duquesne Law School, and Republican Thomas Kistler, Centre County President Judge.

The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh will hold a community-wide celebration on Sunday at the August Wilson Center. It will be the first time the center opens its doors since shuttering last fall. The center is not actually re-opened to the public yet.

“What better than the August Wilson Center,” asked Bush in terms of the decision to hold the event there, “I was extremely pleased that we were able to be accommodated.”

The celebration will be from 4-6 p.m. Sunday. There will be speeches by clergy, singing from a choir and snacks.

There are nearly 7,000 different rare diseases around the world, and according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), more than 25 million Americans have one of them.

To develop new treatments for the “orphan” diseases, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has established the Center for Rare Disease Therapy.

Jess Lasky / 90.5 WESA

In honor of National Wear Red Day, UPMC offered screenings for the nation's number one killer: heart disease. 

For the past 5 years UPMC has been screening people’s risk for heart disease for free through their Community Outreach and Cardio Vascular Health (COACH) program.

At a Friday screening in downtown Pittsburgh, COACH used a fallen piano to highlight that while your chances of being crushed by a piano are one in 250 million, the chances of dying from heart disease is one in three.

Carl Van Vechten / Wikipedia

In his latest novel "West of Sunset," author Stewart O’Nan chronicles F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final years as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Pittsburgh author Stewart O’Nan joins us in Studio A to discuss his work.

O'Nan says that, despite Fitzgerald's fame and the spectacle of Hollywood in the 1930s, we don't know very much about the author's time as a screenwriter.

"He's a legendary character and he's in a legendary time and place," O'Nan says. "We don't really know a whole lot about it."

O'Nan uses the real facts and timeline of Fitzgerald's life in Hollywood as a frame for the story, filling in the scenes himself. He says that adapting Fitzgerald's sensibility provided a greater opportunity to understand what it was like to be the famed writer.

"The biographies can't take you close enough," O'Nan says. "Only fiction can take you close enough."

Comedian Lee Camp Performs in Pittsburgh

Feb 6, 2015
Lee Camp / Facebook

Comedian Lee Camp’s writing credits include "The Huffington Post" and "The Onion." He also hosts the television program "Redacted Tonight" and the YouTube series "Moment of Clarity." Inspired by the comic stylings of George Carlin and Chris Rock, we’ll meet Lee Camp who's performing in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

Camp says that although not all of his humor is political, he tries to go after both political parties with his social commentary. He generally leans left, but according to Camp his work attracts many libertarian fans.

"Democrats and Republicans are not speaking to the issues that a lot of people care about," he says. 

An historic mill that's a popular western Pennsylvania tourist destination has been destroyed by fire.

Firefighters battled the blaze at the 140-year-old Emlenton Mill in Venango County for more than seven hours Thursday night into Friday morning.

Part of the complex was still burning as of 5:30 a.m. Friday.

Emlenton Fire Chief Dave Whitehill says the mill, two shop buildings and four houses were damaged.

The fire started around 10 p.m. Thursday and spread quickly. Freezing weather hampered firefighters from getting water on the structures.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nestled into a hillside not far from the Schenley Bridge, the Bellefield Boiler Plant provides steam heat to most of Oakland’s major institutions.

Built in 1907 to heat the library and museum Andrew Carnegie had recently donated to the city, the plant now services the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Library's main branch, Carnegie Mellon University, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Public Schools’ administrative building and UPMC’s Childrens and Presbyterian hospitals.

Friday Rundown: Moments of Clarity from Lee Camp

Feb 6, 2015
Lee Camp / Facebook

These topics air Friday February 6, 2015 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Lee Camp

Comedian Lee Camp’s writing credits include "The Huffington Post" and "The Onion." He also hosts the television program "Redacted Tonight" and the YouTube series "Moment of Clarity." Inspired by the comic stylings of George Carlin and Chris Rock, we’ll meet Lee Camp who's performing in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

West of Sunset

In his latest novel "West of Sunset," author Stewart O’Nan chronicles F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final years as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Pittsburgh author Stewart O’Nan joins us in Studio A to discuss his work.

Rediscovering America’s First Folk Artist

A new exhibit spotlighting the work of folk artist John Kane has opened at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. We’ll rediscover the artist whose paintings celebrate Pittsburgh with Judith Hansen O’Toole, director and CEO of the museum and Jane Kallir, co-director of Galerie St. Etienne in New York City.

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