Anthony Priore

daveynin / Flickr

  Friday marks America's State Parks' 20th annual First Day Hike, inviting park enthusiasts and first-timers alike to get up and get outdoors at a local state park.

“It’s a great opportunity to get people outside in the winter weather when I think a lot of people would prefer to stay inside,” said Lora Woodward, program director for Venture Outdoors. “Really, the winter time is an amazing experience to be able to see snow on the trees, or on the ground, or even frost and just be able to experience the outdoor landscape in a different way.”

Scazon / Flickr

The date December 25 will likely have many thinking of Christmas. But for some, it represents Mitzvah Day.

Mitzvah, meaning “good deeds” or "acts of loving kindness" in Hebrew, will consist of 24 hours when many in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community plan to gather and provide services for local organizations.

This is the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s 15th year celebrating Mitzvah Day.

Ron Reiring / Flickr

The Pittsburgh region continues to experience fewer bankruptcies than its benchmark peers – an example of its economic stability, according to Pittsburgh Today.

According to a new report released by the organization, Pittsburgh had 1,845 bankruptcies in the 2015 third quarter, which is lower than almost all 15 benchmark regions, with the exception of Charlotte, N.C. and nearly half of the benchmark average of 3,419.

Alan Cleaver / Flickr

Pennsylvania Sen. John Wozniak (D-Cambria) introduced new anti-crime legislation that aims to put the consequence of crime at the core of youth education.

“We are ... trying to explain to them that these are the punishments for using an illegal hand gun, the use of drugs at varying levels, and the punishments for shoplifting, the punishment for any myriad of crimes so that these young people realize it’s all not fun and games out there," Wozniak  said Monday. 

Alyssa L. Miller / Flickr

Experts hope to learn more about Alzheimer's disease by studying adults who suffer from it and also have Down syndrome.  

The National Institute of Aging (NIA) is funding a five-year study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as with three other partners, in the hope of exploring the development of the biomarkers of Alzheimer’s. They'll also be looking at cognitive function in adults with Down syndrome.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

If you're headed out for a night on the South Side, you could find yourself having to pay for parking past 6 p.m.

City officials are planning on eventually enforcing parking meters through midnight.

They haven't said when the change would take effect, but hope to start enforcing it in the coming months. 

This comes as part of the new initiative developed by Mayor Bill Peduto, City Council President Bruce Kraus and Nighttime Economy Coordinator Allison Harden to ensure a safer business district on East Carson Street in the South Side.

zoetnet / flickr

Over the last several years, Pittsburgh has taken many steps towards becoming a greener city. 

And that effort continued Friday in Troy Hill when TreeVitalize Pittsburgh planted its 25,000th tree in the region.

Screen Grab of alleghenycounty.us / Allegheny County

As mobile devices have become the preferred method of online browsing for many people, more and more websites have had to change to accommodate them. 

That's why this week, Allegheny County launched its redesigned “mobile-friendly” website.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the county's seen a 38 percent increase in mobile users just this year. And he said the majority of the traffic to the site was for finding quick information such as park activities, job postings and tax records.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

You've seen them — homeless veterans living in large cardboard boxes or shabby tents under a bridges and underpasses. But the clearest image might come from the narratives of and photos taken by the homeless vets themselves.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

If you want an update on air quality, look no further than your smartphone.

CREATE Lab, a program of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, and Airviz, a CMU lab spinoff, have developed a smartphone app called SpeckSensor that gives users real-time access to Air Quality Index (AQI) numbers based on their location.

Sheila Sund / Flickr

  By a 26-20 vote, the State Senate has approved a measure that would amend the Cemetery and Funeral Merchandise Trust Fund Law in what proponents call an attempt to better protect consumers.

Dan Moyle / Flickr

More homes sold and more quickly in the Pittsburgh region in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the previous year, according to the latest residential real estate report from West Penn Multi-List, Inc.

Compared to the 2014 third quarter, the number of homes for sale increased by 8.8%, the number of homes sold increased 8.2%, and average sales price increased 1.7%. The number of days on the on the market decreased by 2.8% to an average of 70 days.

Kevin Dooley / Flickr

Saw Mill Run has flooded for decades.

Its watershed association welcomes the community to an outreach event and film screening at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont to spread awareness on common water-related issues and helm conversations a long-term solution.

AdamL212 / Flickr

On October 21, Marty McFly will arrive from 1985 and witness hover boards and flying cars, purchase a sports almanac, and experience the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time since 1908.

In honor of the date, Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville will be hosting “Back to the Future Day Celebration.”

Mark / Flickr

Pittsburghers spent more than 18 percent more on local casino table games this year over last, according to new figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Anna Gutermuth / Flickr

A new law allowing employees of Pittsburgh businesses the right to earn paid sick time goes into effect Jan. 11.

Under the ordinance signed by Mayor Bill Peduto on Aug. 3, workers will get one hour for every 35 hours worked; up to three unpaid days in the first year for business 14 years or less; and up to five paid days for businesses 15 years or older.

South Carolina National Guard / Flickr

Brother’s Brother Foundation is continuing to monitor North and South Carolina as the water levels subside from last week’s record flooding.

“We may be involved again.” said Luke Hingson, the group's president. “I think it would be consumable cleaning supplies this time around. There isn’t a real medical emergency other than people need water.”

UPMC

Most Penguins’ fans would be aware Sidney Crosby missed 46 games in 2013 due to a concussion, but a recent Harris poll conducted for UPMC found that the vast majority of American adults are unaware of the definition of a concussion and that it is a treatable injury.

Daniella Segura / Flickr

  About one in every three businesses sampled at the Pittsburgh International Airport AIRMALL charges a higher price on at least one sampled item that is identical or “substantially similar” at a non-airport location.

That's according to the Allegheny County Controllers Office’s annual report of  "street pricing” at the post-security shopping center, which includes restaurants, shops and convenience stores.

A Wilmerding family's exposure to rabies after taking in a pair of stray kittens prompted the Allegheny County Health Department to warn residents not to touch or take in feral animals and wildlife.

“It is well-intentioned efforts by individuals trying to help, and sometimes they unnecessarily get exposed to rabies,” chief public health nurse Sharon Silvestri said.

The family is doing fine, she said, because rabies is not a fast acting virus. The incubation period can take 30 days up to several years before it reaches the nervous system and travel to the brain, she said.

Research by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has shown Emergency Medical Service personnel who work 12- to 24-hour shifts are more than twice as likely to be injured on the job than those who work 8-hour shifts.

Catholic Church of England and Wales

More than 1,000 pilgrims from the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will be in Philadelphia to attend the World Meeting of Families Congress. But the bigger draw is the pontiff's first visit to the United States.

It would be illegal to sell or transport powdered alcohol in Pennsylvania under Senate Bill 773, which passed the Senate unanimously last week (49-0).

“This is a gigantic step toward protecting our young people in our state today” said Senator Shirley Kitchen (D-Philadelphia), who authored the measure.

In 1981, the Allegheny County Commissioners determined that minority and women business owners should receive a better share of government contracts. Goals were established: 13 percent for minority business owners and 2 percent for women business owners.

Twenty-three years later, the two groups represented a combined 17 to 23 percent of purchasing, economic development and pubic works contracts awarded by the commission. In every instance, the number of contracts given to minority owners far exceeded the number granted to women.

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.

Tom / Flickr

  Mosquitos with West Nile virus are turning up in more city neighborhoods and communities, and that means more spraying.

The Allegheny County Health Department opted to fight West Nile in Bloomfield, Polish Hill, Lawrenceville and Stanton Heights with a truck-mounted, Ultra Low Volume sprayer between 8 and 10 p.m. Tuesday after recent mosquito samples tested positive for the virus.