Aapo Haapanen / Flickr

  A legal battle over Gov. Tom Wolf’s seven-month death penalty moratorium lands in the state’s Supreme Court on Thursday.

The court’s ruling could disrupt Wolf’s plans to continue issuing reprieves to death row inmates, at least until a state task force finishes studying capital punishment in Pennsylvania. 

Point Park University

A man in a brown leather jacket carrying a large black bag makes his way across Point Park University’s campus and enters a building. From inside an elevator, he opens the bag to reveal a handgun, which he tucks in his waistband and picks up a military-style rifle. He leaves the elevator headed toward an unsuspecting class.

HEARTH Celebrates 20 Years Helping Homeless Families

Sep 9, 2015
HEARTH Facebook

When a group of North Hills volunteers noticed a number of single homeless mothers and children struggling to find housing for their families, they took it upon themselves to step in. HEARTH Communications and Community Outreach Manager Victoria Gill says the organization is devoted to offering a “hand up, not a hand out” to area families.

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Two buses pull up to the stop at 6th Avenue and Wood Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. Nothing out of the ordinary, right?

On Wednesday, they carried residents from Baldwin and Groveton Village whose residents haven't had a nearby bus stop since 2011 when the Port Authority of Allegheny County cut services to 15 percent of its users as a cost-savings measure.

The authority's expansion of both the 44 Knoxville route to Baldwin and the 20 Kennedy route to Groveton began Tuesday as part of its quarterly service adjustments.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It’s no secret that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is big on innovation. He transformed the city’s Computer Information Systems department into the Department of Innovation and Performance and hired the city’s first Chief Innovation Officer, Debra Lam.

But Lam said that when the mayor’s team started looking around at the most innovative cities in the world, they found that they were also some of the most exclusive.

Senator Casey On Supporting The Iran Nuclear Deal

Sep 9, 2015
Matt Rourke / AP Images

The U.S. Senate is beginning debate on the Iran Nuclear Agreement with a vote to be held no later than Sept. 17. Democrats including Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey have now given President Obama the votes he needs to prevent the Senate from passing a measure disapproving of the Iran nuclear deal.

Steve McLanahan / Flickr

  The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council was selected to participate in a “virtual cultural think tank” with four other non-profit arts organizations.

Lindsay Fox / flickr

Young people who vape are more likely to progress to smoking cigarettes even if they don’t initially intend to, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA Pediatrics, a edition of the Journal of American Medical Association.

Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

From English breakfast to pub crawls, Pittsburgh will feel a little more British for seven days.

Roger Cranville, the President of British American Connections Pittsburgh, and Robert Charlesworth, a chairperson at BACP came and spoke to WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer on Essential Pittsburgh about “Britsburgh: A Festival of Britain in Pittsburgh”. The event is taking place during the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II as the longest reigning British monarch in history.

From September 8th-14th locals can learn more about the food, drink, music, and interconnected history of Great Britain and Pittsburgh.

Larkin Page-Jacobs

You’ve decided to open a restaurant: the lease has been signed, renovations completed, equipment purchased and staff hired. All you have to do is buy a liquor license to get things rolling. Not so fast, says attorney Mark Flaherty. He and his firm specialize in all things liquor licensing and in this episode of On the House, Larkin Page-Jacobs talks to Flaherty about what you’ll have to do to legally pour wine, beer and spirits in your restaurant.

Officials with the Pennsylvania’s eHealth Partnership Authority plan to grant about $10 million to hospitals and ambulatory providers in an effort to digitize and streamline medical services. They will be able to connect to the Pennsylvania Patient Provider Network.

This is a continuation of the grant program and effort they started last year.

William Brawley / Flickr

A University of Pittsburgh researcher was recently a sleep expert on a study led by UC San Francisco to determine the connection between sleep and health; namely if the amount of sleep a person gets is related to their susceptibility of catching a cold.

Negotiations Continue Beyond Union Contract Expiration

Sep 8, 2015
Jeffrey Zeldman / flickr

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden fired up the crowd gathered in Pittsburgh Monday to mark Labor Day by calling on union members to “keep fighting” in what he called a national “war on labor.”  His comments came at a time when 2,200 United Steel Workers Union members at Allegheny Technologies Inc. plants have been locked out and another 30,000 USW workers at ArcelorMittal are working without a contract.

Philip Dine, labor expert and author of State of the Unions agrees with Biden and adds that he thinks the war is leading to the decline of the middle class. 


The National Park Service has completed the construction of a new visitor center at the Shanksville memorial to the crash of Flight 93 in Somerset County.

The new facility will offer photographs and exhibits dedicated to the lives of the 40 passengers and crew who thwarted the believed attack on the White House on Sept. 11, 2001.

Other new features include a learning center to be used for educational programs and a

2.5-mile trail system connecting the visitor center with the memorial, according to Mike Litterst, spokesperson for the National Park Service.

Next time a weird rash, mole or freckle appears, you may be able to snap a picture of it, upload it and get a dermatologist to tell you what it is and if you should be worried.

Dermatologists at UPMC have developed a platform that lets people submit their symptoms and photos. Within 72 hours, they’ll receive a diagnosis and treatment and medication plan – or orders to come in and see a doctor.

The service will cost up to $49.

Many common chemicals cannot be disposed of in traditional ways, and for that reason, the Pennsylvania Resources Council is hosting a drive-thru chemical collection from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the South Park Wave Pool parking lot on Saturday.


Vice President Joe Biden spoke to a group of union workers before the Labor Day Parade in downtown Pittsburgh Monday morning.

His speech was focused on the importance of organized labor to the health of the national economy and quality of life.

Brennan Linsley / Associated Press

City organizers say a local collaborative designed to connect organizations, willing mentors and youth looking for guidance is off to a great start. 

Pittsburgh Keepers of the Community kicked off in late July as part of a nationwide My Brother’s Keeper initiative started by President Barack Obama. Mayor Bill Peduto sanctioned the partnership helmed by BMe Pittsburgh and the Mentoring Partnership.

David Bernabo

Pittsburgh's restaurant scene has evolved dramatically over the past 40 years, and the documentary Food Systems, Chapter 1: A Night Out, explores the transformation. Director and Pittsburgh native David Bernabo said the films touch on different parts of the restaurant industry.


Breast Cancer Awareness month, in October, has become very visible and well-known in recent years. But, in September, the American Cancer Society aims to raise awareness on several other kinds of cancer as well. September is the awareness month for childhood, ovarian, thyroid and prostate cancers.

“It is the number one killer for men, about 1,500 a year here in Pennsylvania, it has the second-highest death rate of any cancer for men throughout the United States,” said state Senator Andy Dinniman (D-Chester).

One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. It occurs mainly in older men with about 6 in ten cases diagnosed at age 65 or older; diagnosis before age 40 is rare.

Dinniman is a survivor of prostate cancer and said the key is early detection.

“Prostate cancer is curable,” he said, “you don’t have to die from it if you go through early detection.”

But, Dinniman points out that prostate exams can be uncomfortable or a source of fear or reluctance for many men.

But Where Do You Live? Study Shows PA Shale Industry Is Fueled By Commuters

Sep 5, 2015

It's something Tim Kelsey has heard from people in Pennsylvania's gas fields since the beginning of the Marcellus shale boom.

"They see jobs being created but they also see a lot of Texas and Oklahoma and other states' license plates," said Kelsey, a Penn State economist. "I've often heard them ask: there are jobs here but how many of the jobs are going to local people?"

Stewart Black / Flickr

  Pennsylvania is bracing for a possible outbreak of what was once called the “fowl plague” – a highly contagious form of bird flu that devastated entire poultry flocks in the Midwest this spring.

The commonwealth saw severe cases of the bird flu in the 1980s. Since then, commercial poultry operations have become more complex, and keeping backyard hens is more popular –- as evidenced, perhaps, by a certain website purveying in rent-a-chickens.

90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane has announced she will let her contract expire in June 2016 and will not seek an extension. Lane first served as deputy superintendent and spent the last five years in her current role.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

If you're hoping to take the incline to Mt. Washington over the holiday weekend, you are in luck.

Major rehabilitation work on the Monongahela Incline scheduled to begin Aug. 31 was postponed for eight days following meetings between the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation and the Port Authority of Allegheny County. Local business owners complained that the loss of the incline, a major method of transportation to the neighborhood, would hinder visitors over the holiday.

Josh Hallett

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and state and local law enforcement are teaming up over the holiday weekend to crack down on alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. 

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is ramping up nationally, increasing checkpoints and roving patrols across the state.

PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick says the holiday excitement often leads to bad decisions behind the wheel.

Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh

  A night of gazing into the cosmos is planned for Saturday.

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh is hosting a free “Dark Sky Star Party” at 7:50 p.m. Saturday at the Wagman Observatory in Deer Lake Park in Tarentum.

The event is open to the public, and astronomy experts will be providing space enthusiasts with a guided tour of the night sky. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own telescopes to the event.

Tom Reiland, director of the observatory, coordinates its star parties.

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

Razi, age 6, has idiopathic epilepsy, a neurological disease that causes intermittent seizures. He was diagnosed two years ago and was having about two seizures a year. This summer, though, they started happening monthly.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Richard Williams glances at the request sheet from behind a chest-high counter and gives the book in front of him a quarter turn. With a pair of pliers, he latches onto a metal wire and pulls, flopping open its spine stacked high with crinkly, worn pages. 

“What I find fascinating, especially in these handwritten ones, is the lack of errors,” Williams said. He regards the long page covered in careful, legible script as he steps toward the copier, deed in hand.

Searching For An Alzheimer's Cure

Sep 3, 2015
Pittsburgh Life Sciences

A Pittsburgh-based company is about to move its Alzheimer’s disease drug out of animal tests and into humans. “It’s exciting and humbling,” said Hank Safferstein Cognition Therapeutics CEO of the upcoming clinical trials.

The South Side company is chasing after a drug that will be effective in combating Alzheimer’s disease.

The process used in finding such a drug is a rare one that focuses on “creating the disease in a dish,” Safferstein said while appearing on WESA’s Essential Pittsburgh.

Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

For individuals with Parkinson’s disease, postural instability is a daily challenge.  Courtney Williamson knows this reality well.  Her mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when she was a toddler so she’s experienced firsthand the struggles facing those with alignment issues. 

“Living with someone with Parkinson’s or a movement disorder, you get to learn how to be creative in way to help them with daily activities,” explains Williamson.  Unable to find solutions or products that could remedy her mother’s balance issues, Williamson embraced her resources as a Carnegie Mellon University PhD candidate and started her own company, AbiliLife