Katie Zilcosky

Multimedia Intern
Jim Mone / AP

The state Department of Health granted a dozen licenses this week to companies that will grow and process medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. These twelve permittees have six months to become operational, which the state has yet to clearly define.

WESA's Liz Reid and The Incline's Sarah Anne Hughes discuss what Pennsylvanians can expect from medical marijuana in the state.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival is underway all this week in Pittsburgh.

The event runs until June 11 and features exhibits throughout Point State Park, the Cultural District and the Gateway Center.

Charles Krupa / AP

Pittsburgh-area law enforcement agencies are equipping K-9 handlers with naloxone as reports of dangerous opioid overdoses continue to sweep the Midwest.

Allegheny County Police Officer Steve Dawkins said dangerous situations are in his 4-year-old partner's job description. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Over the years, Pittsburgh's City Council has tried to encourage social change through legislation. That includes the executive order signed Friday by Mayor Bill Peduto committing the city to ideals set forth in the 195-nation Paris climate agreement, which President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from on Thursday

Allegheny County Health Department

Allegheny County may not have seen a huge jump in obesity rates, but it certainly hasn't seen a downward trend, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Allegheny County Health Department.

Veterans Use Glass Art To Connect With Kids

Aug 11, 2016
Katie Zilcosky / 90.5 WESA

    

U.S. Military members develop many skills while serving, but those skills don’t always translate easily into civilian life.

Leadership Pittsburgh’s Community Leadership Course for Veterans tries to use those skills to benefit organizations in and around the Steel City.

“They’re trying to bridge veterans to the community to use their resources and also reintroduce veterans who were in the service for a number of years back to the Pittsburgh region,” said Chris Kowalczyk, a U.S. Army veteran.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

When Nancy Lee opened women’s resale store WearWoof in 2013, she contemplated getting a store cat. She fell in love with Dolly at a local PetSmart, but noticed a lump on the 10-year-old tabby when she picked her up.

Dolly had a hernia.

“I just felt like she was a part of my story, and I was a part of her story now,” Lee said.

Dolly, now healthy, was a natural fit for the North Hills shop, but Lee thought she would wield even more influence in another position: Cat President of the United States.

Pittsbrugh VegFest

VegFest returns to Pittsburgh on Saturday, with local businesses and enthusiasts sharing information about living a vegan lifestyle.

Though, non-vegans are encouraged to check out the event too, which starts at 11 a.m. at Allegheny Commons Park East on the North Side. 

David Dermer / AP Images

In 2012, Pine-Richland graduate Meghan Klingenberg served as an alternate for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer team. This year in Rio de Janeiro, Klingenberg will have the opportunity to be on the medal stand.

David Goehring / flickr

While traveling from Wyoming to New York City, Winifred Gallagher was struck by the vast size of the United States. The trip inspired her to write about the agency fondly remembered for traversing the length of the country delivering correspondence: the post office.

Office of the Governor

In contrast to last year to last year’s nine month impasse, Pennsylvania legislators and Governor Tom Wolf have reached an agreement on the state budget less than two weeks after the July 1st deadline.

Governor Wolf attributed this partly to the momentum built up by passing medical marijuana, liquor reform, and a new education funding formula.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is making Market Square more engaging through super-sized games. All ages gather to play with the giant Jenga, Connect Four, ping pong, and corn hole sets. PDP CEO Jeremy Waldrup says incorporating games and other activities, such as yoga and farmer’s markets, are all part of the partnership’s goal of making downtown a fun place to visit.

Espen Sorvik / flickr

Pigovian taxes, such as Philadelphia's new soda tax, create very mixed reactions among consumers. University of Pittsburgh Katz Business School professor Cait Lamberton explained an individual's’ view of the issue depends on their perception of how certain personal behaviors impact the whole community.

Nazareth College / flickr

Employers from around the region will be on the lookout for new hires at the second annual Refugee and Immigrant Job Fair this Friday. The event seeks to assist new citizens transitioning into the American job market who may be unfamiliar with U.S. employment techniques.

Daniel Oines / flickr

When some of Jack Kudrav’s colleagues began passing away, he decided to take a 335 mile bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. in order to reflect, mostly on his time in the military. Now, Kudrav organizes a group of veterans to take that same bike ride with him and raise awareness about the struggles facing veterans.

David Davies / flickr

The selection of the next Pittsburgh Public School superintendent has brought practices regarding executive searches to the forefront. Recently, PPS board members launched an investigation claims by Anthony Hamlet, who was tapped to lead the district. Media outlets allege he’d falsified some of the information on his resume and in a speech.

Could A Third Party Candidate Win This Election?

Jun 22, 2016
Kelley Minars / flickr

Both major political parties’ presumptive nominees have faced heavy criticism throughout this election cycle. While it may seem like the perfect storm for a third party candidate to rise, Point Park University history professor Edward Meena said he doesn’t believe it can be done.

Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

During Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Pine-Richland graduate Mike Van Sickle received a call telling him he had qualified for his first U.S. Open. The Kennedy resident described the feeling as relief.

90.5 WESA

Linda Lane has been a force in Pittsburgh Public Schools since she became superintendent in 2010. At the end of June, she’ll be stepping down and stopped by Essential Pittsburgh to talk about her experience in the role and what she's learned.

Mark / flickr

Since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in April, many have wanted to tap into the industry. United States Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research and Development CEO Michael Patterson says while officials develop policies over the next couple years, interested businesses and individuals should begin to familiarize themselves with the Commonwealth’s cannabis laws so they can cash in when the time comes.

Maranie Rae / maranierae.com

For three weeks this past April, Pittsburgh-based photographer Maranie Rae Staab traveled to Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan with Global Outreach Doctors. She documented their work and the people they helped during her time there, calling them some of the most warm and generous individuals she'd ever encountered.

Pennsylvania Treasury

Pittsburgh was recently named one of the top ten cities in the United States for small business activity, according a new study of entrepreneurial activity across the country conducted by the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Mo.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse, Pennsylvania Treasurer Timothy Reese applauds the city’s comeback, but wants to continue providing resources for small businesses looking to expand throughout the Commonwealth.

David Wilson / flickr

Labor advocates gathered Monday at the August Wilson Center for a panel discussion on the recently released report, “A Pittsburgh that Works for Working People.” The study, conducted by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, included a series of recommendations they believe would improve the lives of Pittsburghers. The panel, which included economists, service workers and religious and elected leaders, discussed what steps the city would need to take to implement the proposals.

W&J College

Longtime civil rights activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and delivered the commencement speech recently at Washington and Jefferson College. He is celebrating his 30th year representing the Georgia fifth district and reflected on his lifetime of activism with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer.

Paul Hertneky

Author Paul Hertneky grew up in the Rust Belt town of Ambridge, north of Pittsburgh. He described his childhood as idyllic, filled with close knit communities and constant playmates. He chronicles his experience in his new book, Rust Belt Boy: Stories of an American Childhood.

“We didn’t have a lot of money,” said Hertneky. “We did have a lot of community.”

Pennsylvania Confronts Rising Incidents Of Elder Abuse

May 18, 2016
Borya / flickr

May is Older Americans Month and elderly abuse has increased by ten percent in Pennsylvania, which claims the fourth highest percentage of citizens, age 60 or older, in the country. PA Director of Protective Services Denise Getgen attributes this increase to the rising acknowledgement of the abuse occurring.