Megan Fair

Intern
Mike Vale / Facebook

In early 1966,  a rock n' roll song called "Hanky Panky" went to the top of the charts in Pittsburgh after a Steel City dance promoter and DJ named Bob Mack gave it a spin. What Mack didn't know is that the song, recorded by Tommy James and The Shondells in 1964, had languished for two years prompting the band members to go their separate ways and get day jobs. When Mack finally tracked down Tommy James in Niles, Michigan where the song was recorded, James told him The Shondells were no more.

Steve Brodner / Toonseum Facebook

While this election season may be stressful for voters across the U.S., it has served as the fodder of political cartoonists’ dreams. Pittsburgh’s Toonseum is showcasing some of the best political cartoons of the season with their exhibit This Campaign is Yuuuge!: Cartoonists Tackle the 2016 Presidential Race.

Howard Kernats / KWSA

Seven wrestling matches with titles on the line. A strong-arming visitor from Moscow. An "ambulance match" in which two wrestlers will go head-to-head until someone leaves in ambulance.

It sounds like the recipe for a WWE pay-per-view event, but it’s actually a local independent wrestling showcase.

Alistair Ross / flickr

Herb Douglas is 94 years old and a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School, as well as the University of Pittsburgh. He’s also a 1948 bronze medalist and the oldest living black Olympian.

Douglas’ passion for the Olympics and sports ignited when he met Jesse Owens.

Jaunt / App Store

Pittsburgh architecture, modern and contemporary, is highlighted as part of a new app called Jaunt. The program derives from a partnership between Boston-based architecture firm Over. Under and Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture and is designed to educate users about a little over 100 buildings located in Pittsburgh.

Megan Fair / 90.5 WESA

For the first time, roller derby will be included in the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games. Four junior derby athletes who skate locally for the Pittsburgh Derby Brats will participate in this historic inclusion.

Google Maps

Built in 1794, the Beltzhoover Homestead, located in the Beltzhoover area of South Hills, is one of the oldest buildings in Pittsburgh. According to historian Jessica Cox,  the home was present when the immediate area was just a “rugged” outpost.

Jobs for Felons Hub / flickr

The U.S. Department of Education has revamped a higher education program for prisoners, and four schools in the Commonwealth have been selected to participate. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, Bloomsburg University and the Lehigh Carbon Community College will create the curriculum to educate prisoners selected for the grants under the new Second Chance Pell Grant pilot.

Don Schuetze / flickr

Weeds are often viewed as pests to be met with weed whackers and herbicides, but certified herbalist Lindsey Praksti of Compass Rose Herbals has other suggestions. While weeds may be a pest to a garden or yard, some have nutritious qualities and are worthy of joining your salad or stir fry.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Images

Pittsburgh native David McCullough has received two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards and has been granted a Presidential Medal of Honor. His work as a historian and author has earned him praise and acknowledgement worldwide, so much so that there is a bridge in Pittsburgh named after him.

Jon Callas / flickr

Most homeowners have heard about solar energy, but few in Pennsylvania are actually taking advantage of the option. Many are aware of the cost-saving potential, however some demographics, especially low-income residents, who can’t afford the more than $20,000 in installation fees, being left out. New state incentives and advocacy from solar energy organizations are hoping to change the narrative for solar-powered homes, making them more accessible.  

Pittsburgh Jazz Live / Facebook

After a week of Stanley Cup celebrations, Pittsburgh’s Cultural District will again be full of music and celebration. The Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival will showcase local, national and international acts in a Pittsburgh context with free music filling the Cultural District. Bob Studebaker, WESA’s Jazz from the South Side host, said that Pittsburgh’s jazz festival has a special draw, and for good reason.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Since 1922, 29 champions of the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. have been from Allegheny County. This year, four mibsters, or marble shooters, from the county will compete in hopes of becoming the next champions.

Eli Murphy, 13, resides in Squirrel Hill but practices at St. Michael’s Street on the South Side Slopes with South Side resident Lauren Shuty, 12. Shuty is the Allegheny County Champion.

Allegheny County Champion Bobby Narr, 13, and Madison Johnson, 12, practice together in Lawrenceville.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

In an open layout room filled with natural light, Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer Interaction Institute PhD students Yang Zhang and Gierad Laput fiddle with wires and switch on levers. The tables in front of them are covered in interfaces, sensors and tools, and several nearby glass walls display multi-colored formulas and troubleshooting lists. This, Laput says, is the Future Interfaces Group research lab.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Noah Bendix-Balgley was the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Concertmaster from 2011 through 2015. Now the Concertmaster for the Berlin Philharmonic, Bendix-Balgley continues to showcase his artistic talent through the PSO. This weekend he will perform his own Klezmer arrangement with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Torkbak Hopper / flickr

In April, Governor Tom Wolf signed two executive orders that expanded non-discrimination protections to all state workers and state contractors based on their sexual identity, gender identity and gender expression. While this marks a progressive step forward for employees of the state, transgender Pennsylvanians still face challenges when it comes to health care access, legal assistance and workplace discrimination. Representative Dan Frankel (D-23) has introduced legislation to combat these problems, and Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Physician General is a major advocate.

What Will Happen To Wilkinsburg's 'Tiger Pride?'

Jun 7, 2016
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Graduation at Wilkinsburg High School this year was a little more sentimental and bittersweet than in the past. The 2016 seniors were the final group to graduate from the school, as the district prepares to merge its students with Pittsburgh Westinghouse in Homewood.

Clemente's Social Significance Remembered

Jun 2, 2016
Anonymous / AP Images

May 31 is Roberto Clemente Day, a day set aside to remember one of the most prominent heroes in baseball history. A pioneer for Latino players, he was the first to reach the Hall of Fame, and he lived his life with a great sense of pride for his roots. David Maraniss, sports journalist and author of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero, spoke of Clemente’s pride for his culture and his devotion to social justice.

David Bachman / Pittsburgh Opera Facebook

The Internet and television provide access to unbelievable amounts of art, all that can be experienced in the comfort of one’s living room, but is it stopping people from experiencing art at theaters and museums?

While marketing directors like City Theatre's Laura Greenawalt and Christian Cox of Pittsburgh Opera are aware of the challenges of getting folks to leave their home, both are constantly working to bring in new patrons.

Paul Weaver / flickr

Five years ago, the Penn Hills School District was in $11 million in debt. Today, a recent audit revealed the district is $170 million in debt and is also under investigation for alleged mismanagement of money.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is a part of the team tackling 74 pages of an audit detailing the district’s spending from July 2012 through June 2015 and revealed spending habits that led to what DePasquale describes as “almost unsurmountable” debt.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Musical artist Benjamin Scheuer is no stranger to heartbreak. He lost his father early into his teenage years, suffered a difficult break up in his adulthood and was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the age of 28. For many, such intense trials would be enough to stifle their spark, but Scheuer decided to turn the bad into something good.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Images

Over 1000 activists for women’s reproductive rights gathered at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for a seminar titled the Power of Pink recently. The crowd of primarily young women and men in attendance gathered to share ideas and strategize how best to organize and rally support for Planned Parenthood facilities and the politicians who protect reproductive rights.

McKnight Realty

McKnight Realty Partners has just purchased South Side terminal properties and plans on investing millions of dollars to bring it up to modern standards for use as office and green space.

McKnight will partner with Friends of the Riverfront, a group that aims to promote access and appreciation of our region’s river resources. In this case, that resource is a riverfront bike trail connected to the Three Rivers Trail.

Molly Riley / AP Images

Prior to 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs faced a great deal of negative press for allegations of mishandling medical care for veterans, including the creation of false waiting lists that delayed crucial treatment. Since the appointment of Robert McDonald in 2014, the department has conducted an evaluation and drafted new strategies to improve the way Veterans Affairs operates.  

Joe Shlabotnik / flickr

It’s no secret that Ivy League colleges are some of the most selective higher education establishments in the U.S. Although a small selection of the population will receive degrees from an Ivy, author Sean-Michael Green had the rare opportunity to spend a whole year exploring each and every one to research his book, The Things I Learned in College: My Year in the Ivy League. Green spent 30 days at all eight Ivies in an attempt to uncover the truth behind myths and misconceptions regarding these establishments.