Emma Gross

News Assistant
North Braddock Cares

North Braddock residents are using their own hands to rebuild the town’s parks with the first ever Build Day this Saturday at Recycle Park.

The park on the corner of Bell Avenue and Verona Street was once a vibrant park with playground equipment, lights, water and a pavilion, said Vicki Vargo, treasurer of North Braddock Cares, Inc. Over the years, wood and metal structures deteriorated with rust, and the only ones left nowadays are the pavilion and merry-go-round, she said. 

Emma Gross / 90.5 WESA

For $49, you can get a one-way ticket directly to Orlando, thanks to Allegiant Air’s new flight route out of Pittsburgh International Airport.

Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis announced Tuesday a new non-stop route to Orlando Sanford International Airport beginning Nov. 5. The route will run twice weekly, increasing Allegiant Air’s flights out of PIT from 10 flights a week to 12.

Emma Gross / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited Pittsburgh on Monday as part of the nationwide Community Policing Tour that highlights cities taking innovative and effective steps to build trust between the police force and the community.

Brent Moore / Flickr

This weekend marks 18 years for the Pittsburgh Triathlon, but this year, it’s a bit different.

The event will move from its North Shore location of years past to Point State Park.

Friends of the Riverfront holds the triathlon every year as part of its mission to highlight Pittsburgh’s rejuvenated riverfronts, said executive director Thomas Baxter.

Emma Gross / 90.5 WESA

PennEnvironment announced Tuesday that it has officially sent a notice letter to steel company ArcelorMittal of a potential lawsuit for its violations of the federal Clean Air Act at its Monessen coke plant in Westmoreland County.

David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, an environmental advocacy group, said the threat of a lawsuit comes after months of pollution in Monessen, Donora, Monongahela, and Carroll Township, all located in either Westmoreland or Washington counties.

Pittsburgh officers rolling past loud parties and unauthorized construction will be able to cite residents' complaints as part of a new three-strike system with the city's disruption ordinance.

In a preliminary vote, Pittsburgh City Council gave unanimous approval Wednesday to legislation aiming to better regulate the city’s noise control that replaces old language and better defines residential noise violations as any “sound that annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman proposed a resolution Tuesday that would create a data sharing system between the city and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to assist authorities in tracking down stolen or wanted vehicles.

“Right now our ticket enforcement officers could walk down the street, enter a license plate at a meter, write a parking ticket, and that car could either be stolen or wanted as part of an Amber Alert and they would have no idea,” he said.

Defense Department Renews Contract With CMU

Jul 28, 2015

The U.S. Department of Defense extended its secure software system contract with Carnegie Mellon University researchers for the the next five years, officials announced Tuesday.

“[The contract] endorses the fact that over the last 30-plus years, we have made some major contributions and major impact for the Department of Defense in the area of software engineering and cybersecurity,” said Robert Behler, deputy director and chief operation officer of CMU’s Software Engineering Institute.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) re-introduced a House resolution to impeach PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane “due to the pattern of misbehavior that we have seen in office for the last two years,” he said.

Metcalfe first introduced the measure in 2013 after she chose not to defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s now-nullified Defense of Marriage Act. He withdrew it after not getting support from the House State Government Committee before the 2013-14 legislative session ended. So Metcalfe is trying again.

Jon Dawson / Flickr

Everyone from international disc golfers to world-class puddle duck racers to southwestern Pennsylvanian families will come together at this weekend’s Regatta at Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park.

The regatta, now in its 17th year, is a “two-day outdoor celebration of Moraine State Park,” according to event director Holly Muchnok. She said many people feel the Butler County park is underused, so the event is a way to showcase all Moraine has to offer year-round to park-goers.

Courtesy Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants

Pittsburgh restaurant owners, chefs and farmers have teamed with Sustainable Pittsburgh to launch the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program, which recognizes southwestern PA restaurants for their efforts in operating energy efficient and socially responsible establishments, especially as the city’s eateries garner increasing national attention.

The Americans with Disabilities Act marks its 25th anniversary this month, and a Pennsylvania lawmaker says a bill of rights for those with disabilities is “long overdue.”

Legislation filed by State Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery, Philadelphia) would institute a bill of rights, promising people with disabilities the necessary support to live as independently and actively within their communities as possible, including making their own decisions on living arrangements and other support services.

Pittsburgh City Council voted on Wednesday to hold the Paid Sick Days Act for one week so the bill can be amended and council can hold a public hearing July 30.

Councilman Corey O’Connor of Squirrel Hill agreed to amend his own bill. In it's original form, the bill required businesses with 15 or more employees allow workers to accrue up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per year, and those with less than 15 employees up to 40 hours of leave. An employee would have to work 30 hours to earn one hour of sick leave.

jmd41280 / Flickr

Much needed improvements to the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown will soon be underway, thanks to the town’s recently acquired title of Kraft Hockeyville USA.

Johnstown knocked out Decatur, Ill., in the final round in May to win the contest’s inaugural title. The prize includes the opportunity to host an NHL preseason hockey game at the War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, as well as $150,000 in rink updates.

MPD01605 / Flickr

Here’s your six-month warning.

Effective 12:01 a.m. Jan. 3, 2016, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will begin its eighth consecutive year for toll hikes.

The commission approved a 6 percent toll increase for both EZPass and cash customers on Tuesday. Officials said EZPass users will continue to save about 35 percent on tolls despite the jump.

“Our average toll for our EZPass customers will go from $1.09 to $1.16, and for our cash customers it’ll go from $1.70 to $1.85,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton.

Asbestorama / Flickr

  More Allegheny County residents die from asbestos-related illnesses than any other county in the state, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund.

Researchers found that between 1999 and 2013, at least 189,000 Americans died from asbestos-related diseases, including 14,216 in Pennsylvania and 1,616 in Allegheny County alone. The county’s average death rate was nearly double the national average, authors said.

The not-yet-approved Clean Vehicle Corridors Act is the most recent of the many federal and state efforts to push for the use of alternative fuel vehicles in the United States.

On June 22, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) re-introduced his bill, first introduced in 2013, which would allow the Department of Transportation to establish clean vehicle corridors along interstates nationwide. The corridors would provide spaces for fueling and charging stations, travel plazas, rest stops and other roadside infrastructure.

School district consolidation is the key to many of Pennsylvania’s education problems, according to State Rep. Timothy S. Mahoney (D-Fayette/Somerset). Mahoney recently proposed legislation requesting a statewide study of schools that would examine the possibility of merging Pennsylvania school districts into individual county administrations.

The proposition stems from Mahoney’s study in 2011 that examined the effects of a potential merger of Fayette County school districts.

Michael Stanton was named June’s Champion of Greater Pittsburgh by the Dignity and Respect Campaign, which honors those “that embrace, embody, and demonstrate the values of dignity and respect.” He was honored for his work as co-founder and executive director with Open Hand Ministries.

WestPA31 / Flickr

  The nearly 1,000 bright yellow emergency call boxes along the Pennsylvania Turnpike could disappear soon, thanks to the prodigious growth of cell phones and House Bill 1335.

State Rep. John Lawrence’s (R-Chester) bill would amend state law, which currently requires the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to provide and maintain emergency call boxes for turnpike drivers. The amendment, if passed, would eliminate this requirement.

Courtesy RedZone Robotics

Robots are everywhere nowadays: playing Scrabble, entering disaster zones, even gambling. Now they’re also inspecting city sewers.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority teamed with RedZone Robotics to use robots to examine Pittsburgh’s sewage lines.

Fourteen down, three to go.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) is continuing its long list of branch renovations with its Knoxville location, which will close June 27 to begin construction. The library is one of the last in the CLP’s Capital Improvement Program that began in 2003, which aims to renovate every neighborhood branch in the Pittsburgh area.

Artists, bakers, professors, and ecologists are coming together to teach Pittsburghers how to write and perform spoken word poetry, how to bake a perfect loaf of bread, and how to incorporate plants in urban settings at the Steel City Folk School’s very first “pop-up event” this Saturday, June 20.

The folk school’s one-day event offers 11 half- and full-day courses to anyone interested in the Pittsburgh area.

But what exactly is a “folk school?"

The Allegheny County Health Department will be conducting a survey with the help of the University of Pittsburgh in the next few weeks to gauge the overall health of the county.

The 25-minute survey will be conducted by phone with about 9,000 county residents in an effort to fill in some big blank spots in the data.

Those crutches that you still have from when you broke your ankle 10 years ago. The bike your kids never ride anymore. Even your old VHS tapes.

These are a few of the donations you can make at the Pennsylvania Resources Council’s fourth annual “ReuseFest” this Saturday, June 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UPMC Passavant in the North Hills.

ReuseFest will feature eight local nonprofit organizations that will be taking donations, including Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center, Construction Junction, Off the Floor Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Gives Back and Goodwill.

June 21 is Father’s Day, and a local group says celebrating Dad should also mean taking a stand to end domestic violence.

The Father’s Day Pledge to End Gender Violence encourages people, particularly men, to sign a pledge that indicates their commitment to the prevention of domestic and sexual violence and abuse.

After years of waiting, avid skiers in western Pennsylvania may finally see their wishes come true. The Laurel Mountain Ski Resort will finally reopen in 2016.

Hopefully.

Terry Brady, deputy press secretary for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said the bidding process for Laurel Mountain’s $6.5 million renovation project will begin in the next 2-3 weeks, after which construction is set to begin this fall. If all goes according to plan, the DCNR aims to have it complete by fall 2016.

Imagine someone comes to your house claiming to be from the water or gas company. He says he's come to do some work in the area, but you weren’t expecting him. What if he isn’t who he says he is, and how can you tell?

Grab your capes and grab your books: a superhero book club is headed your way.

As the school year winds down, many area libraries are about to begin their summer reading programs with the national theme of “Every Hero Has a Story.” They are planning their own superhero events to motivate kids to continue reading during their break to avoid what is known as the “summer slide.”

Farmers at Phipps launched its 7th annual farmer's market Wednesday on Phipp's Conservatory’s front lawn. The market runs every Wednesday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. through the end of October.

Phipps executive director Richard Piacentini said they've had "a tremendous turnout" in years past.

“The reception’s been great," he said. "We have a lot of regular people who come here every Wednesday and we have a lot of new people that show up all the time, and it’s just really great to see.”

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