News

'The Look Up Line' Aims To Improve Hockey Safety

Aug 4, 2015
justcureparalysis.org

“It’s not about a line, it’s about a life,” says our guest Tom Smith. The inventor of the Look Up Line and creator of the Thomas E. Smith Foundation, has fulfilled his life mission of making the game of hockey safer. We’ll discuss Smith’s hockey experiences as well as the long lasting impact he hopes to have on the hockey community.

Spend A Weekend In Highland Park

Aug 4, 2015
Lee Paxton / wikipedia

Cities are made up of a collection of neighborhoods with unique features and characteristics. On the first Tuesday of the month, business contributor Rebecca Harris will focus on one of the city’s neighborhoods. Today's focus is Highland Park.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File

Long-time Republican political insider and well-known philanthropist Elsie Hillman has died at the age of 89.

The family says she passed away peacefully Tuesday surrounded by family.

PA Attracts College Students, But Getting Them To Stay After Graduation Is A Challenge

Aug 4, 2015
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Across the state, students are wrapping up internships and summer jobs, signing up for fall classes and preparing for another school year at one of Pennsylvania's 200+ colleges and universities.

But once they graduate, how many of those students will stay in the area where they were educated?

Courtesy photo

Gov. Tom Wolf has picked retired Major Tyree C. Blocker to be the next commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, after the governor’s first nominee failed to win the state Senate’s confirmation in June.

The nomination represents a homecoming for Blocker, a Chester County resident, who spent 30 years with the State Police. Blocker was a trailblazer as an African-American commander and ran the Bureau of Drug Law Enforcement when cocaine was flooding into Pennsylvania.

City of Pittsburgh

Pennsylvanians can take to the streets Tuesday advocating for crime prevention and getting to know their first responders as part of the 32nd annual National Night Out Against Crime.

Founder Matt Peskin said 356 neighborhoods and municipalities have registered statewide, including more than 50 in the Pittsburgh area alone.

Twenty-four years ago, in late July, Joyce David was running out of patience.

The commonwealth's budget was five weeks late, and David's husband, a state auditor, hadn't received a paycheck in a month.

"The paralysis stems from a potential tax increase," reported The Associated Press in 1991.

Dale Nevin / flickr

Before student athletes return to school in the fall they’re required to get physical exams. In recent years, an important part of the athlete’s preparation has become baseline testing for concussions. Joining us to address the importance of this testing are Dr. Jonathan French, a neuropsychologist and clinical instructor at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Patrick Huber director of the Heads UP program at UPMC.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Monday received a standing ovation from activists and workers after it gave final approval to a bill that will require employers to provide paid sick days to workers.

Forty out of the 150 buildings in Wilkinsburg’s central business district are vacant, but borough officials are hoping that a new tool will help spur development in that distressed municipality.

Some of these properties have been vacant for a decade or two, according to Tracey Evans, executive director of the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC).  She said on one block just one of the nine buildings is occupied.

“That’s a huge loss visually for people driving through the business district," Evans said. "It looks blighted.”

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

This week, Pittsburgh will witness the crowning of several world champions. Their expertise?

Disc golf.

The annual Pro World Disc Golf Championships will be taking place at four area courses through Aug. 8. And while most of us have probably flipped a Frisbee in a park or on the beach, disc golf is much more than that.

City Affordable Housing Task Force Convenes For First Time

Aug 3, 2015
Dave Nin / flickr

Nearly six months after its creation, the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force met for the first time last week.  The group’s mission is to help maintain healthy neighborhoods by finding solutions to housing issues and developing strategies to keep communities affordable.  Task force co-chair and city Planning Director Ray Gastil shares what was said at the first meeting and where the group plans to go from here.

 

Pennsylvanians are more willing than many other Americans when it comes to switching electric suppliers.

According to a North American report, Pennsylvania is the second best state, trailing only Texas, for residential, commercial and industrial electric competition.

The Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS) ranks the 16 states and two Canadian provinces, Ontario and Alberta, that have electric supply markets in terms of competition and consumer awareness of their options.

Zimbabwe Accuses Murrysville Doctor Of Illegally Hunting Lion

Aug 3, 2015
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Zimbabwe has accused a Pennsylvania doctor of illegally killing a lion in April, as it seeks to extradite a Minnesota dentist who killed a well-known lion named Cecil in July.

Jan Casimir Seski of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, shot the lion with a bow and arrow near Hwange National Park, without approval and on land where it was not allowed, said Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

State Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) believes the Americans with Disabilities Act has greatly improved access to the physical world and employment for those with special needs since its passage 25 years ago, but says it has fallen short when it comes to protecting life.

Individuals with mental or physical disabilities are often denied the opportunity to be listed on organ transplant lists because of their disability, he said. Sabatina introduced legislation to change that as a House member in February, and said he intends to file a similar measure as a freshman member of the Senate.

You spend hundreds on a smartphone and a case to protect it, but are you protecting the information inside the phone?

Researchers at Robert Morris University received a $224,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to start a program to inform people of the importance of securing mobile devices.

AP Photo/Mel Evans

Kate is 25 and began drinking, smoking and experimenting with prescription drugs when she was a teenager in Washington County.

“I started doing pills in high school, 15, I think. Something just happened in high school and I just was, you know, curious and then it just turned into doing it too much."

State Rep. Susan Helm (R-Dauphin) said she believes many students throughout Pennsylvania experience unfair treatment under municipal laws.

Helm’s House Bill 809 would strike down municipal laws in the state that prohibit people from living somewhere based on their current status as a student.

arnet4statesenate.com

Voters in Pennsylvania’s 37th senatorial district now have two candidates from which to choose as they begin to think about the November special election. 

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee chose Heather Arnet as its candidate on Saturday. Last month the Republicans chose Guy Reschenthaler as its candidate.

The seat was left vacant when Democrat Matt Smith resigned to run the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

  Video cameras are filming the 2600 block of Brownsville Road in Carrick as part of a new wave of neighborhood watchmen.

Two years in the making, Councilwoman Natialia Rudiak announced Friday the start of a “Virtual Block Watch” in Carrick's business district. Fifteen business owners invested a combined $2,850 to purchase and install cameras outside of their locations directed at public thoroughfares, while Rudiak’s office provided $1,080 for signage.

Talk Radio News Service / flickr

Allegheny County health officials say they are already in line with new White House standards to fight HIV and AIDS.

The plan unveiled Thursday updates one issued by the Obama administration five years ago. Developments since then include new diagnostic tests, a daily pill for infection prevention and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which allows for more American’s to receive treatment and testing.

Robin Robokow / flickr/robokow.net

Many may not know that one of the world’s most recognizable songs is actually one of the most profitable.  The “Happy Birthday to You” tune has been around since the late 1800’s and due to copyright protections, anyone who wants to include the ditty in their movie, ringtone or stage production has to pay for permission. Now there’s a new case against the owners of the copyright and an old songbook in Pitt’s Hillman Library may be used as evidence. Here to tell us about that songbook and the future of “Happy Birthday” is Barco Law Library interim director Marc Silverman.

How Low Gas Prices Affect Consumers And The Natural Gas Industry

Jul 31, 2015
Gerry Dincher / flickr

With the local economy relying more and more on the gas and coal industry, the news that Consol Energy posted a loss for the past quarter and outlined spending cuts for the next year-and-a-half can't be good. As the price for natural gas continues to slide, what does it mean for us? We talked with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer David Conti.

Looking Out Foundation

Mona McDonald had no idea how to protect herself.

“There was a certain amount of fear that a lot of women experience just walking around in your everyday life,” she said, recalling herself in the mid-1970s. “You absolutely don’t know how to handle yourself if someone were to approach you, confront you or physically attack you.”

Used with permission from Carlino Giampolo and the Panther Hollow homepage.

Boundary Street runs through Panther Hollow in the shape of an inverted L. The houses cluster on the northern and western sides of the street and all face inward toward a stretch of grass and trees. They aren’t numbered chronologically, though the first few homes begin ordinarily enough: 1, then 1 ½, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9. Then 523, 525, 12, 14, 17 and 40.

In a bid to establish a safety net for part of the state’s social safety net, the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association is urging state lawmakers to offer some help as the budget impasse hits the one-month mark.

The trade group sent letters to lawmakers in mid-July asking them to consider a short-term funding measure and held a press conference in Pittsburgh last week to drum up support. The group has also suggested that the state provide interest-free loans to social service agencies and nonprofits, “similar to what was done for state employees the last time the budget was not passed on time.”

U.S. Senator Bob Casey said the nation must increase its commitment to inspecting the safety of train bridges to avoid disaster on Thursday.

Casey said he wants an additional $1 million added to the Federal Railroad Administration budget to increase the number of railroad inspectors from eight to 15.

He said the eight inspectors are currently responsible for inspecting more than 70,000 train bridges nationwide.

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Chants including, “Happy birthday, Medicare! Love it, improve it, expand it to all,” “Medicare, Yes! Insurance company profits, no!” and “Health care for all, it’s a human right!” could be heard outside the UPMC headquarters Downtown as older people, representatives of labor and advocates for single-payer health plans rallied for support of Medicare on Thursday.

The event was organized by the Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare and Healthcare 4 All PA to mark the program's 50th anniversary

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council got an earful at a public hearing Thursday on paid sick days legislation. The measure was put on hold by council last week to allow for amendments and a public hearing. 

The most visible attendees were pro-sick days legislation, though several came to represent the other side.

By a 5-0 vote Thursday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission rejected one part of Pittsburgh Yellow Cab’s fare hike request and delayed action on the other two provisions.

Pittsburgh Transportation Group, the parent firm of Yellow Cab, wanted to impose a surcharge of up to $8 per trip on Friday and Saturday nights, Sundays and holidays.

Commissioner James Cawley joined his colleagues in rejecting that request, saying the variable surcharge “does not allow a passenger to determine if it is the proper amount,” and because it “appears to be arbitrarily determined.”

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