News

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

In 2015, $15.8 million was spent in Pennsylvania's judicial elections, breaking the record for the costliest supreme court race in U.S. history.

Matt Rourke / AP

With the state budget wrapped up, lawmakers can turn their attention to a few fast approaching deadlines--including the renewal of funding for unemployment compensation.  

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

In the wake of sexual harassment and assault claims against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others,  dozens of female legislators, lobbyists, consultants, and reporters have come forward in the last few weeks to talk about sexism and harassment they've dealt with in their respective statehouses.

UPMC

*UPDATED Nov. 3, 2017 at 5:44 p.m.

Pennsylvania’s largest hospital system has announced a $2 billion project to build three “digital hospitals of the future” in Pittsburgh, in partnership with Microsoft. The new UPMC facilities will focus on cancer, vision and rehabilitation, and the heart and transplants.

Ted S. Warren / AP

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says more than 1,000 people signed up for the state's new medical marijuana program on its first day.

A health department spokesman tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the registrations include patients and caregivers.

The department announced Wednesday that it was accepting applications to participate in the system.

A 2016 state law gives people under a doctor's care access to medical marijuana if they suffer from an illness on a list of 17 qualifying conditions.

Matt Rourke / AP

Philadelphia will move the statue of former Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo from its location in the shadow of City Hall.

Midstate Communities Weigh Whether To Allow New Mini-Casinos

Nov 3, 2017
LetNoun / flickr

The state's new gambling expansion law is already triggering debate in communities across the commonwealth about whether they should try luring one of 10 new mini-casinos allowed under the law, or ban them.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

About a hundred members of the public attended the final opportunity to weigh in on what might be included in a consultant’s recommendations for restructuring the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The city hired Infrastructure Management Group in April to decide how to best address widespread problems at the struggling authority.

Toby Talbot / AP

President Trump recently declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. It’s still unclear how much funding, if any, is tied to that declaration, but whatever resources are marshaled will likely fund work done by people most commonly thought of as fighting on the front lines of the epidemic, like social workers, addiction counselors and physicians.

Louis Stein / Arcade Comedy Theater

A growing non-profit theater in downtown Pittsburgh has a new home.

Arcade Comedy Theater is moving from its original storefront space on Liberty Avenue, where it’s been since 2013, to a fully renovated building right down the street. The new space more than doubles its capacity to nearly 200 seats between two stages.

Arcade offers about 10 weekly shows, including sketch comedy, stand-up and improv. It’s also enrolled hundreds of students in its comedy classes.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On the corner of Penn Avenue and Seventh Street in downtown Pittsburgh, there’s a blue and gold plaque that reads “The Pittsburgh Agreement.”

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED  Nov. 3, 2017 at 12:32 p.m.

Pittsburgh's only contested city council race this year pits Democrat Anthony Coghill against Republican Cletus Cibrone-Abate for the District 4 seat.

Philadelphia Moves To Retake Control Of City School System

Nov 2, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

The mayor of Philadelphia on Thursday took steps to take control of the city's struggling public school system after 16 years of state oversight.

Mayor Jim Kenney said that it is time for the city to be accountable for the education of its 200,000 schoolchildren.

"If we don't take responsibility for the fate of our schools, then we will continue to relegate generations of Philadelphia's families to poverty," he said.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

The first new candy bar to carry the Hershey's name in more than two decades is set to hit shelves next month.

The Hershey, Pennsylvania-based candy maker says Hershey's Gold will go on sale Dec. 1. It's described as a caramelized cream bar embedded with salty peanut and pretzel bits. Hershey's says the bar is a response to trends that it says show "the rising popularity of crunchy multi-textured candy."

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Republican leaders in Pennsylvania's General Assembly on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put on ice a federal lawsuit challenging the state's congressional districts approved after the 2010 census.

House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati asked Justice Samuel Alito in a filing for a stay of the lawsuit by five Pennsylvania voters against the governor and elections officials.

Building Infrastructure In The Age Of Climate Change

Nov 2, 2017
Charlie Neilbergall / AP

As Congress pays out more than 36 billion dollars in disaster relief, the General Accounting Office recommends that the federal government find ways to minimize the economic impacts of climate change.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pamela Edwards leaves her house in Brushton every morning at 6:40 a.m. to catch her first bus.

While she waited for her second bus in East Liberty on a recent morning, she remembered a time when there were five different buses to catch in and out of the East End, whenever she needed them. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's public transit agency says light-rail riders could face delays.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County says a higher-than-usual number of light-rail vehicles are undergoing maintenance and inspection. The agency says that's preventing it from operating as many two-car trains as usual.

Light-rail is operating on its regular schedule, although riders could see delays and overcrowding.

The agency says it's making every attempt to put the vehicles back into service.

Matt Rourke / AP

After a tumultuous budget process that saw state lawmakers pass a plan they couldn’t fully pay for, many are looking into changing how the system works entirely.

Allegheny County/Virginia Alvino Young

On November 7, voters in some northern Allegheny County municipalities will choose between one-term Republican Incumbent Ed Kress and Democrat Anita Prizio to represent District 3 on County Council. 

Kress is a native of Shaler Township. The lawyer was first elected in 2013, although he served two other short appointed stints.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools and the union representing its teachers and paraprofessionals are continuing negotiations as employees begin their fifth month working under a contract that expired at the end of June.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority shows an urgent need for immediate action on several fronts, including addressing the organization's more than $750 million in debt, crumbling infrastructure and lack of leadership. 

The report, which covers Jan. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017, was conducted by State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. 

"I don't believe that this is rising to some level of corruption," he said. "I think this was a bad setup from the beginning that led to a path of bad results."

Pennsylvania Starts Signing Up Medical Marijuana Patients

Nov 1, 2017
David Goldman / AP

Pennsylvanians are closer to being able to get marijuana to help treat their medical conditions as the state is launching its patient and caregiver registry.

The Health Department announced Wednesday that a pilot program was successful and the agency is accepting applications to participate in the system. It's expected to be up and running within six months.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Tuesday’s election may be in an off-year, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have statewide implications.

The highest-profile race is for a seat on the state Supreme Court, and seats are also open on the Superior and Commonwealth courts.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court leans heavily Democratic right now, with a 5 to 2 majority.

The Republican candidate, Sallie Mundy, currently holds one of those seats and is seeking a full 10-year term. She was appointed as an interim justice by Governor Tom Wolf last year.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

When Pennsylvanians go to the polls next Tuesday, they’ll have a rare opportunity to vote to change the state constitution.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The race to represent Allegheny County Council’s District 4 pits a relatively new incumbent against a political rookie. Democratic candidate Patrick Catena was appointed to council in January, while Republican Dimitrios Pantzoulas won a place on next week’s ballot as a write-in candidate.

Friends of Mik Pappas

For the first time in 24 years, Ron Costa, Sr., will face an opponent in the Nov. 7 election for magisterial district judge. Attorney Mik Pappas is running to unseat him in Pennsylvania’s 31st Magisterial District, which includes eight East End neighborhoods.

Running as an Independent, Pappas calls himself progressive.

Keith Srakocic / AP

As Pittsburgh continues trying to grow its tech sector, including a bid for Amazon’s second North American headquarters, Mayor Bill Peduto said he's conscious about ensuring that rising tide lifts all boats.

Joseph Novak / Flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday that he expects to have an agreement with the Penguins on the first phase of development on the Lower Hill by Wednesday afternoon.

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