News

Concerned About How Fracking Is Affecting Your Health? This Organization Can Help

Jun 30, 2017
Environmental Health Project

With all the oil and gas development happening in the region, people are wondering how it is affecting their health.

Study: Some Highly Fluorinated Chemicals Are Harder To Filter From Water

Jun 29, 2017
Rajikiran Ghanta / Flickr

Researchers have found some kinds of chemicals are harder to filter from water.

These compounds belong to a family called highly fluorinated chemicals. They’re used to make carpets, clothes and cookware stain and water repellant.

They’ve also been used in firefighting foam at military bases and airports. Those chemicals from firefighting foam have contaminated drinking water around the country, including drinking water wells near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda.

Ally Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

For the 12th year, furries have descended on Pittsburgh for the annual Anthrocon at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

This year’s theme is: “Take me out to the Ballgame” and runs through Sunday.

It’s considered one of the largest furry conventions in the world and organizers estimated that about 8,000 people are taking part this year. 

All weekend, Pittsburghers can expect to see colorful anthropomorphic suits adorning its sidewalks, as well as locals posing for pictures and photographs.

Pennsylvania Picks Medical Marijuana Program Dispensaries

Jun 29, 2017
Haven Daley / AP

Medical marijuana patients will be able to obtain the drug from 52 locations that have just been issued permits by the Pennsylvania government.

Rate Of Hospitalizations For Opioid Overdoses Rising Rapidly In PA

Jun 29, 2017
Toby Talbot / AP

Many who overdose on an opioid in Pennsylvania never need to go to a hospital. Some are treated by first responders, or bystanders who carry naloxone, a drug that can halt an overdose before it becomes fatal.

Some succumb without help.

But a growing number of Pennsylvanians are winding up as hospital patients as the result of opioids — 66 percent more in 2016 than in 2014. The numbers do not include emergency room visits.

MLB Umpire Tumpane Rescues Woman On Clemente Bridge

Jun 29, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

John Tumpane can't explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.

So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

State budgets have two basic parts: one outlines how much government will spend on its programs and expenses, and the other details where lawmakers are getting the money to pay for it.

Last year, the GOP-controlled legislature compromised on a $31.5 billion spending plan, and then took two more weeks to come up with a revenue framework to fit it.

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf let it become law without his signature, declaring at the time that “our budget is balanced this year, and we have greatly reduced the commonwealth’s structural budget deficit.”

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Some lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf took a break from budget negotiations Wednesday to sign a high-profile package of bills into law.

They significantly overhauled the commonwealth’s animal rights legislation, and included a measure that has brought a lot of attention to the issue in the past year: Libre’s Law.

The bill signing saw more fanfare—and barking—than most.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

While being grilled by the Pittsburgh City Council during a reappointment hearing Wednesday, PWSA board member and City Department of Finance Treasurer Margaret Lanier said dealing with lead needs to be the system’s top priority.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The implementation of cashless fares on the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s light rail system has been put on hold until the interim CEO completes a review of concerns about the process.

Mark Goebel / Flickr

The Carnegie Science Center has received a $7.5 million gift from PPG and the PPG Foundation – the largest in the science center’s history. The donation will go towards the construction of the PPG Science Pavilion, which is scheduled for completion in June 2018.

Pennsylvania Budget Work Likely To Drag Into New Fiscal Year

Jun 28, 2017
Screengrab from Senatorcorman.com

A top Republican state senator says it's looking more like Pennsylvania's budget package won't be finished by the start of the new fiscal year in three days as lawmakers grapple with the state's biggest cash shortfall since the recession.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said Wednesday that the only agreement with House GOP leaders and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is on a spending figure, a number around $31.9 billion. That's about $600 million more than this year's budget figure, including money necessary to balance this year's books.

Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race / Facebook

Officials say the deputy director of Pittsburgh's parks and recreations department has left her job following an investigation into spending of a city trust fund.

Kevin Acklin, chief of staff for Mayor Bill Peduto, says Jamie Beechey has decided to "pursue other opportunities" Friday. It is unclear if she was fired or resigned.

Peduto ordered the Office of Municipal Investigation to look into spending from accounts associated with the annual running event in May.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

During a special Pittsburgh City Council meeting Tuesday, public safety officials called on Gov. Tom Wolf to sign legislation that would allow officers more latitude in using their body cameras.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

State lawmakers have made no secret of the fact that next fiscal year’s state budget, which is due Friday, will be a hard one to enact.

Koji Sasahara / AP, File

Faculty and staff from several schools at Carnegie Mellon University are joining forces in an effort to accelerate the science of Artificial Intelligence.

University leaders said they hope that by pulling together more than 100 faculty through the creation of CMU AI, it will maintain the university’s role as a leader in the field.

Diocese of Allentown / Facebook

Pope Francis decided to stay close when selecting a new leader of the Allentown Roman Catholic Diocese.

The pope on Tuesday appointed Monsignor Alfred Schlert as the fifth bishop of Allentown. Schlert is the first priest from the diocese to be appointed to lead it.

The 55-year-old has been serving as the diocesan administrator since the pope named his predecessor the bishop of Rockville Centre, New York. He said his experience in the area will help as he takes on the new role.

Pennsylvania Department of Health

Gov. Tom Wolf's health secretary is taking a new administrative job with central Pennsylvania health giant Geisinger.

The Danville-based company, which has some 30,000 employees, said Tuesday that Karen Murphy will start in September as executive vice president, chief innovation officer and founding director of an innovation institute.

She's previously been director of an initiative at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and president of Moses Taylor Health Care System in Scranton.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh is dealing with a slight hiccup in its water filter distribution program.

A truck carrying Zero Water filtration pitchers from El Paso, Texas to Pittsburgh broke down, causing a delay in the distribution of the pitchers.

Pitchers will be distributed at fire stations in the north and west regions of the city on Friday, June 30; in the eastern neighborhoods on Wednesday, July 5; and in southern neighborhoods on Thursday, July 6.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Increasingly, when you find a trash can in a public place it has at least two openings—one for trash and one for recyclables. But according to Charles Yhap, humans don’t do a very good job of sorting what they throw in those cans.

“Americans typically achieve, when they have a 50-50 chance between two bins, it’s usually 30 percent,” said Yhap.

With that in mind, Yhap launched a company called CleanRobotics with a flagship product called Trashbot.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare. The long-awaited plan marks a big step toward achieving one of the Republican Party's major goals.

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New York Times

Police chiefs have to lead officers toward strong relationships with the communities they serve, but in the past, the same department may have participated in or enforced racial discrimination.

That history can prevent healing and can make police reform a nonstarter.

Why Is Pennsylvania Called A Commonwealth?

Jun 27, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Ever wonder about something you see or hear in the region that you wish our reporters would explore? Now's your chance!

Here's how it works: Share your questions with us. Then, we'll let the public vote on the one they want us to investigate. Finally, if your question wins — and if you're game — work with us to get to the bottom of it.

Google Maps

After the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, or SPC, tabled the four-lane toll road extension of the Mon-Fayette Expressway in March to gather more information, the 10-county planning agency voted Monday night to add the highway segment to its list of recommended projects.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The state Senate is considering a plan to allow teachers and other school employees with permits to carry guns at work.

Supporters say it’s about keeping kids safe, while opponents are worried the measure would do just the opposite.

Senate Bill 383 is sponsored by GOP Senator Donald White of Armstrong County, who said it would give schools more options in protecting students.

He added, it could be particularly helpful for rural districts that are far from police stations and might not employ their own security guard.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Lawmakers in Washington are still reading through the finer details of the Senate GOP's new healthcare bill, but opponents are already warning it’ll give states an impossible choice—either cut services, or spend billions more on healthcare.

Bill Gardner / 90.5 WESA

The language on the controversial black and yellow Sprint advertisement that blankets part of Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington has been changed, amid legal battles over the sign’s permit.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

An independent bookstore chain in Pittsburgh is opening its third location on the South Side this week.

Amazing Books owner Eric Ackland still has quite a few bookshelves to fill. The 4,600-square-foot space on East Carson Street is about five times larger than his Downtown and Squirrel Hill locations.

“Most people assume a third store is evidence of great success,” he said. “In our case, thank God we’re seeking it out, but we need to thrive and we need a location to grow into.”

Mike Mozart / Flickr

UberEATS and McDonald's are beginning food delivery from 44 of the fast-food chain's Pittsburgh-area restaurants.

The companies ran a pilot program testing the McDonald's home deliveries at more than 200 Florida restaurants in January and have since expanded to other areas including Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix and Columbus Ohio.

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