News

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

How prepared is the city of Pittsburgh for a ransomware attack?

The former top federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania says cities like Pittsburgh can take simple steps to protect themselves from ransomware attacks like the ones crippling computer systems in Atlanta and Baltimore.

David Hickton served as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2016. He is the founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security.

LM Otero / AP

Court officials say distracted driving citations in Pennsylvania jumped by 52 percent last year and have increased 172 percent since 2013.

Nearly seven in 10 citations were issued to men, and more than one-third were to people in their 20s.

State law prohibits texting while driving, subjecting violators to a fine of $50. It's also illegal to drive while wearing headphones.

FirstEnergy Solutions Files For Bankruptcy

Apr 3, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

The power generation subsidiary of Ohio-based FirstEnergy, which owns two Beaver County power plants and several others in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company said over the weekend.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Democrat Conor Lamb’s victory over Republican Rick Saccone in last month’s special congressional election was seen as a positive sign for Democrats.

But it’s also a sign that in many working-class pockets of Pennsylvania, unions still hold considerable sway.

Rick Bloomingdale, president of Pennsylvania’s chapter of the AFL-CIO, said the group is working with local unions to focus on a handful of races heading into this year’s midterm elections.

Lamb’s new race for the 17th Congressional District under the redrawn map is at the top of the pile.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Later this spring, the end of an era in Pittsburgh theater arrives with the shuttering of the Pittsburgh Playhouse in Oakland.

Screenshot / Google Maps

A new University of Pittsburgh study asks whether a revenue model set to be introduced in six rural Pennsylvania hospitals next year can both reduce patient admissions and increase profits.

The program is expected to be implemented in 30 rural hospitals by 2023. Data from Pennsylvania's Department of Health Innovation shows that in 2015, 47 percent of all rural hospitals in Pennsylvania had negative operating profit margins

Pablo Martinez Mansivais / AP

A Marine from Pittsburgh killed during World War II will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's incumbent governor raised nearly $5 million for his re-election during the first three months of the year, leaving him with more than $14.7 million in the bank for the election that's now seven months away.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's campaign said Monday he took in $4.96 million between Jan. 1 and March 26.

His campaign says 91 percent of his donations were of $250 or less, and nine out of 10 donors live in Pennsylvania.

Wolf spent more than $32 million, including about $10 million of his own money, in winning the governorship in 2014.

Chris Choi / Carnegie Mellon University

Cylindrical in shape, about 3 feet long and undeterred by radioactive waste, RadPiper is a robot developed by a team of scientists at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute to detect traces of nuclear material at a U.S. Department of Energy facility in Piketon, Ohio. 

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Pam Feltes-McCurdy made her way through a small room in the basement of the Lutheran Church of our Savior in North Huntingdon, squeezing between the wall of the room and a rack of baby clothes. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

At the offices of Pittsburgh’s Creative Nonfiction Foundation in Garfield, high schoolers experiment with writing in the style of a storied American literary institution—The Onion, a satirical online newspaper.

How Would PA’s U.S. House Delegation React If Mueller Is Fired?

Apr 2, 2018
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

 

President Donald Trump's recent public criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election has raised concerns he may be laying the groundwork to derail the probe.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

It’s a classic image of American cinema: The outlaw saunters down a deserted main street while a sheriff holds the other end. They face off, guns drawn.

On Monday, Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission will begin oversight of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. Though it won't be quite like a scene from a Western, there are plenty of legal questions involved.

AP Images

Later this year, the site of the D. T. Watson Home for Crippled Children will receive a historic marker from Pennsylvania’s Historical and Museum Commission; the Allegheny County facility was the first site where the polio vaccine was tested on humans. 

In the early 1950s, Dr. Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh were working to develop a vaccine using dead strains of the virus.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA


It’s a fact of life that when you’re born, you don’t get to choose your name. But Claire Bloom, 24, decided about six years ago that she had to change her name.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Thousands of Americans turned out last weekend for the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War. What did March for Our Lives accomplish, and what are students and lawmakers taking away from this renewed effort against gun violence? 

AP

While he was working on the US Constitution, James Madison realized there was a pretty fundamental part of state governments that seemed useless to regulate.

Allentown Gets New Mayor After Corruption Scandal

Mar 30, 2018
Matt Smith / AP

After a rules fight, a deadlock and a dozen rounds of voting, a former president of the City Council has been chosen as the interim mayor to replace a former mayor convicted of trading city contracts for campaign cash.

Catalina Jaramillo / WHYY

An environmental group is criticizing Pennsylvania for its high numbers of Clean Water Act violations.

Niven Sabherwal / 90.5 WESA

Grazing goats are getting the go-ahead to keep munching on Pittsburgh's weeds and brush.

The City Council has given preliminary approval to a five-year deal with a nonprofit group that uses goats to reduce unwanted vegetation in parks and other city properties.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports a final vote on the agreement with Allegheny GoatScape is expected Tuesday.

GoogleMaps

A Pennsylvania school district has canceled an active-shooter training event over concerns raised about "violent, homophobic and anti-Muslim" social media posts by the company conducting it.

More than 260 parents had registered for the event planned by the North Allegheny School District.

The event was intended to show parents the type of security training staffers receive. It was canceled after some parents raised concerns about Pittsburgh-based contractor INPAX, which has worked with the district for years. The parents cited posts they called "inappropriate."

Marijuana-Friendly States, Including PA, Want Meeting With Sessions

Mar 30, 2018
David Goldman / AP

Pennsylvania, California and other marijuana-friendly states are seeking a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in hopes of resolving the conflict between federal and state laws that has left the nation's cannabis industry in legal limbo.

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, even as 29 states have legalized pot in some form.

State treasurers from California, Oregon, Illinois and Pennsylvania told Sessions in a letter Thursday that businesses and banks need greater clarity on how federal law enforcement will respond to the growing legalization trend.

The Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence

The Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence is working to get more people to commit to the safety of women and girls. The organization is hosting a community-wide summit Saturday focusing on gender-based violence.

Summit coordinator Lois McClendon said violence against women and girls is often overlooked or minimized, and often disproportionately impacts women of color and transgender women of color. She said “it seems not to get the kind of play in the media or even the concern among the public.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

After more than two decades of renting space in in other school buildings, a nonprofit that educates children with special needs is now building a permanent space to house its schools for children with autism and who are deaf.

Utility Plans To Close Nuclear Plants In Ohio, Pennsylvania

Mar 29, 2018
Ron Schwane / AP

FirstEnergy Corp. said it will shut down three nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania within the next three years, making it the latest U.S. utility to announce closings as the nuclear industry struggles to compete with electricity plants that burn plentiful and inexpensive natural gas.

GOP's Congressional Stronghold Is Democrats' Source Of Hope

Mar 29, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A longtime congressional stronghold for Republicans, Pennsylvania is emerging in dramatic fashion as a source of hope for Democrats in their quest to take control of the U.S. House in November's mid-term elections.

BLUE COAT PHOTOS / Flickr

The city of Pittsburgh’s technology staff have been closely watching the ransomware attack that rendered Atlanta’s municipal computers useless for nearly a week.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Twenty consecutive losing seasons, followed by three years of making the playoffs, and now the Pirates will try to avoid a third straight losing season.  

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

Ten unique towns dot the 150-mile nature trail that stretches from Cumberland, Md. to Pittsburgh, and up to 800 runners will experience them all on the Great Allegheny Passage Relay this October.

Regular teams of eight and ultra teams of four will run the flat, vehicle-free trail over 48 hours. Teammates will take turns tackling the race's 24 legs, only stopping for brief breaks in the team's van that follows along the course. That means a single participant may run anywhere from 13 to 46 miles -- depending on team size -- over the duration of the race. 

John Zylka / Excela Health

Your doctor probably has a good idea of your medical history. But how well do they know you, as a person?

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