Justin Wier

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Justin Wier / 90.5 WESA

Rich Lattanzi said he never aspired to be the mayor of Clairton.

He worked as a pipe-fitter for U.S. Steel, but serving as an athletic director for the basketball program at a local Catholic school and working as a baseball coach brought him into contact with the city’s youth. He voiced some concerns at a city council meeting and someone told him they could use him in the mayor’s office.

“I said, ‘I don’t know anything about politics,’” Lattanzi said. “And I remember the guy said, ‘Exactly, that’s what we need.’”

Justin Wier / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is known for many things, including its bridges, historic inclines and three rivers.

But few likely realize the Steel City is also home to the highest concentration of internationally-ranked pinball players in the world. That’s right, pinball.

Pittsburgh is home to nine of the top 100 players ranked by the International Flipper Pinball Association. Next in line is New York City, which hosts eight players. 

Can McKees Rocks Share In Pittsburgh's Success?

Aug 5, 2016
Justin Wier / 90.5 WESA

McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania is just 15 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. It has a rich history. The first American Eagle Outfitters opened there in 1912. A native American burial mound in the borough is the earliest place of human habitation in the region. But while Pittsburgh is experiencing a renaissance, the blue-collar borough is still struggling to get back on track. 

Scott 412 Foto / flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he became addicted to watching the Republican National Convention this week. He described falling asleep on his couch watching the late night shows and cable news.

“I’ve been watching conventions since I was in second grade,” Peduto said. “I can’t think of a convention that I actually became compulsively obsessed with watching.”

Mandela Washington Fellows / Facebook

Duquesne University is hosting 25 African young professionals this summer as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The initiative seeks to provide leadership training to young professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Wikipedia

When Presidents take office, they swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. A new book edited by Ken Gormley, the recently-appointed president of Duquesne University, looks at how past presidents have interpreted the Constitution.

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Writers, musicians and artists in Wilkinsburg are coming together to celebrate creativity at Wilkinsburg Dream City Art this weekend. The event provides a space for artists to get together and share their work with the community.

Joey Behrens, a Wilkinsburg artist, said the event began last year when two artists wondered who else was doing work in the city. She said the initial idea was for Wilkinsburg artists to get to know one another.

University of Virginia Swimming and Diving / Facebook

A Pittsburgh native is traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to compete in this summer’s Olympic games. Leah Smith was a standout swimmer at Oakland Catholic High School, and has become a four-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia.  

Kathy Swendiman / flickr

Over half a million veterans are currently facing wait times of more than 30 days to receive care from the VA system. In one attempt to address the problem, the Department of Veterans Affairs has suggested allowing nurse practitioners to treat patients throughout the system.

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Former Seattle city councilman Nick Licata is in town this weekend for a series of social justice events. Licata will march alongside 1500 demonstrators in the Still We Rise march on Friday, speak at the People’s Convention on Saturday and promote his new book “Becoming a Citizen Activist” at the Big Idea Bookstore on Sunday.

Kelly DeLay / flickr

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland is still two weeks away, but local citizens are already preparing for it.

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Pittsburgh’s Fourth of July celebrations were punctuated by gunfire on Monday, as four people were shot downtown following the fireworks. Mayor Bill Peduto attributed it in part to the ease with which young people are able to obtain guns.

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Pittsburgh comedian Annie Claffey is searching for America’s favorite adjective. She’ll be driving a green-and-blue car decked out with Mad Libs logos across the country over the next six weeks.

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The United States Supreme Court ended its current term on Monday with some important decisions, but University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris said the most important event of the term was not an opinion at all.

Hydro / flickr

Gun violence is the leading cause of mortality among young black men and the county needs to treat it as a public health issue, according to Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

How do we help to prevent this?” Hacker asked. “And how do we help communities to heal because the impact of this kind of violence is really like post-traumatic stress in many of our communities.”

She found an ally in the local Christian community.

Bill Peduto / Twitter

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto spoke at Wednesday’s parade in honor of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup victory — the largest sports celebration in the history of the city. He said a sense of community developed around the team during their cup run.

Akira Ohgaki / flickr

When it comes to treating a stroke, experts say time loss equals brain loss. Matthew Kesinger, founder and CEO of Forest Devices Inc., developed a device entering clinical trials that aims to decrease time loss by diagnosing strokes faster and more accurately.

Felipe Dana / AP Images

With concerns over the Zika epidemic in Brazil, 150 health experts have signed on to an open letter urging the World Health Organization to pressure Olympic officials to move or postpone the summer games in Rio de Janeiro.

Ronald Krall from the Center for Bioethics and Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh signed the open letter. He wants to see the WHO conduct a thorough analysis of the potential risks associated with holding the games in Rio.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

Why do certain bottles of liquor end up in just one of Pennsylvania’s more than 600 wine and spirit stores? Attempting to find an answer to the question led Jacob Quinn Sanders to develop Boozicorns — a map listing those difficult-to-find bottles of alcohol that exist in only one location within the state.

Joel Penner / flickr

Allegheny County recently tested 15 percent of children under the age of eight for lead exposure and found more than 7 percent had higher than recommended levels in their blood. In response, Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, called for legislation mandating the testing of all children in the state.

Ashley Murray, multimedia editor for the Pittsburgh City Paper, talked to several people about the extent of the problem in the area.

What Makes Armstrong County 'Trump Country?'

Jun 2, 2016
Tony Webster / flickr

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Chris Potter traveled to Ford City, Pennsylvania to explore the hold Donald Trump has on area residents who feel left behind by the region’s post-industrial economy.

Following Pennsylvania’s primary, Potter analyzed the results and saw that Republican voters in Fayette and Armstrong counties supported Trump in greater numbers than other areas of Western Pennsylvania. A bit more digging led him to Ford City — a factory town established by John D. Ford, the founder of PPG.

Steven Hackman / Stereo Hideout Facebook

The Beatles will cozy up to Mozart when the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh performs its Defying Gravity program at Point State Park Monday evening as part of this year’s Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Steve Hackman will conduct the Choir. He also composed and arranged the program, which pairs contemporary artists like Radiohead with classical composers like Brahms. Hackman began such work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as the creative director of Fuse@PSO, a position created for him.

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Earlier this week, a Pennsylvania judge determined that comedian Bill Cosby would stand trial for an alleged sexual assault that took place in 2004.  

The case concerns Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who was the first person to publicly accuse Cosby of sexual assault. Since then, more than 50 other women have come forward with similar stories.

Emily Winslow / Harper Collins

In January of 1992, Carnegie Mellon University student Emily Winslow left her Shadyside apartment to get change for a dollar to do her laundry. She was followed home by an unknown man who broke into her apartment and raped her.

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A Baltimore judge cleared Edward Nero, the second of six police officers to stand trial in the Freddie Gray case, of all charges on Monday.

Gray sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody last April. The previous trial of Officer William Porter resulted in a mistrial, the state plans to retry Porter later this year.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Olga Welch said the biggest challenge she faced when named the dean of Duquesne University’s School of Education in 2005 was adapting to a new environment.

“The real challenge for a new leader is to learn your context and not assume what worked in another context will work in a new one,” Welch said.

Eli Christman / Flickr

More than 10 years ago, Amtrak decreased the number of trains running daily from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg from two to one. Representatives from the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership traveled to the state capital this week requesting an increase.

Lucinda Beattie, vice president of transportation for the partnership, said the increase makes economic sense. Her group estimated increasing service to Harrisburg would cost $10.5-13 million and allow 400,000 new trips each year. By contrast, a mile of highway costs about $8 million.

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos / flickr

University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health Science is entering the battle against the nationwide opioid epidemic.

Donald Burke, dean of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, said opioids affect every major demographic group in the country. He is working to compile data on the epidemic from several different sources.

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Reports have surfaced saying that radio transmissions distracted the engineer at the helm of a train that ran off the tracks last year in Philadelphia.

The train was moving at more than twice the recommended speed of 50 mph when entering a curve, leading to a derailment that resulted in the deaths of eight people and injured more than 200.