Megan Harris

Digital Editor / Producer

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station; producer for the Criminal Injustice podcast; fill-in local Morning Edition producer; and producer/director for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live weekly news roundup.

Previously, Megan covered K-12 education and bicycle and pedestrian planning for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, education at The Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Ky., and crime and breaking news for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn. She worked for a film production crew near Nashville, Tenn., and covered Division I sports at the University of Memphis.

In her off hours, she camps, climbs and Crossfits.

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Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

At least 80 police officers from multiple agencies were called Downtown to control hundreds of protesters outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center during Donald Trump’s campaign stop Wednesday night.

“It could have gone better, but it wasn’t police who made it escalate and I feel good about that,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay said. “The officers showed restraint.”

Two officers were injured by pepper spray, one in a minor scuffle and another was kicked in the hand, according to police. McLay was initially unsure if any officers used mace.

Terry Renna / AP Images

A pair of Pennsylvania natives foresee big things for NASA’s current crop of astronauts.

“I think we’re going to see (Mars) in our career,” said Lt. Col. Andrew R. Morgan, of New Castle, who joined the space program in 2013.

Veteran astronaut and Emsworth native Michael Fincke orbited Earth for 363 days between 2010 and 2011, setting a record for longest cumulative time in space before fellow astronaut Scott Kelly surpassed it late last year. Like Kelly, Fincke began training in 1996.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told Pittsburghers on Wednesday she wants to create clean energy jobs, repair aging infrastructure and give students better options for financing their educations.

More than 2,000 packed the Skibo Gymnasium at Carnegie Mellon University after hours waiting in the chilly afternoon sun. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Emily Ahlin said three years ago, no one at the University of Pittsburgh really talked about sexual assault. 

“But I helped lead orientation week this year,” said Ahlin, a junior. “One of the things we had the kids do was a bystander intervention training. That didn’t exist my freshman year, and that exists now.” 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The National Aviary’s sloth is now 5 months old and finally has a name.

Aviary officials said he was named Valentino by an anonymous donor who bid for the naming rights.

“I mean, look at that adorable face. It’s just very Valentino to me,” said Cathy Schlott, curator of behavioral management and education, who works with Valentino. “How can you not fall in love with that face?”

Valentino, a two-toed sloth purchased from a breeder in Florida and acquired in February, also had his 5-month checkup this week.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is the first candidate of either party to visit Pittsburgh this election cycle. About 8,500 people filled the Downtown convention center to hear the Vermont senator give his usual stump addressing affordable education and accountability on Wall Street.

But Sanders visit to the Steel City appeared to have one strong focus: “Together we are going to rebuild the trade union movement in this country.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Members and allies of the transgender community are gathering in Pittsburgh on Thursday to raise awareness about transgender issues.

Events celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility are taking place across the state, including the Steel City at 6 p.m. at the Persad Center in Lawrenceville.

Members of the local transgender community are planning to share their personal stories and how they’ve been affected by discrimination.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

It's a great day, better than a Steelers game.

That's the message Braddock Mayor and U.S. senatorial candidate John Fetterman shared with scores of fans and supporters flocking to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center early Thursday for Bernie Sanders' first Pittsburgh campaign stop.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Minimum starting salaries for entry-level positions at UPMC will jump from $11.73 an hour to $15 by 2021, officials announced Tuesday.

David Goldman / AP

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are organizing in Pennsylvania as some Republican Party leaders are shifting their support in the contested primary.

Pennsylvania's April 26th primary is four weeks away, and voter registration is now closed with just over 4 million Democrats and more than 3 million Republicans.

State figures show that Democrats raked in more new voters in 2016, but more voters switched their registration to Republican. Both are down slightly from surges in 2008.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The Christian season of Lent spans six weeks leading up to Easter. For some, that means giving up something they love like chocolate, television or profanity.

Mary Kate Ranii, 25, of Shaler Township said this year she wanted to sacrifice trash.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

It's National Puppy Day! What better way to celebrate than with adorable dog photos, especially these pups from the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and the Animal Rescue League in need of forever homes. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

From a corridor outside the intake bays at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office, chief examiner Karl Williams takes a mental inventory.

"Thirteen-hundred cases, 1,600 items in every year, around 150,000 tests," he said. "You can’t do analyses of every piece of potential evidence you get in, but we’ve always got it."

Homicides committed outside city limits make up just a fraction of the deaths Williams’ county-wide office oversees, but most murders are evaluated in tandem by multiple agencies, including county and municipal police, pathologists and a spectrum of other agencies tasked with a battery of supplemental tasks.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Currently on display at the Heinz History Center is the exhibit Toys of the ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s. From Barbie to PacMan, we ventured through the decades to learn how some iconic toys reflected American society with Heinz History Center Curators Emily Ruby and Anne Madarasz.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Organizers estimate up to 250,000 people flocked Downtown for Pittsburgh's 2016 St. Patrick's Day parade.

Now in it's 146th year, the event featured more than 23,000 participants from nearly 200 marching units, including Pittsburgh-area floats, politicians, school bands, first responders, local Irish-heritage groups and others.

Guy Wathen / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Reporters rushed to the scene of the shooting in Wilkinsburg in the early hours Thursday to document the shooting deaths and injuries of nine people. Among them, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review multimedia journalist Guy Wathen worked with fellow still photographers to give the paper's online readers a sense of the borough gripped by tragedy.

Wathen spoke with 90.5 WESA’s Larkin Page-Jacobs about his experience.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Borough Councilman Michael Rose posted a snapshot of crime statistics in his community on Facebook just one day before at least two shooters killed six and injured three in an ambush-style shooting in Wilkinsburg.

Aggravated assaults and motor vehicle thefts are up about 40 percent over the past five years, but arson, robbery, burglary and larceny are all down, according to a recent police report, he said.

"You know people say, 'Oh, Wilkinsburg. That stuff happens all the time.' No, it doesn't happen all the time. It's not really who we are, but it's who people think that we are," Rose said.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Updated 4:35 p.m. March 14, 2016.

Robert Morris, 15, glanced across the street and back down.

“I think everybody’s just a little tense right now,” the Propel Braddock Hills High School freshman said. 

Morris heard the gun shots before 11 p.m. Wednesday while watching television with his dad. He rolled off the couch into a ball, "to make myself as small as possible," he said.

Describing the scene, Morris looked again across the street where police say six people died from gunshot wounds sustained in an ambush-style attack.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Updated 3:37 p.m.  

When Carl Morris orders pizza, delivery drivers ask which side of Ardmore Boulevard he lives on. He tells them it's the east side of Franklin Avenue -- the "good half of Wilkinsburg."

Morris and family huddled in their home late Wednesday night when at least two shooters opened fire on a backyard party across the street at 1304 Franklin Ave. The pair killed six people and injured three in the borough just east of Pittsburgh.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A small herd of voracious baby goats may be the savior for city parks long-plagued by nettlesome weeds and unsightly flora.

Pittsburgh City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to advance legislation that would invite an all-goat landscaping crew and their guardian donkey, Hobo, to graze sections of Emerald View, Highland and West Penn parks this summer.

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Executive Director Jim Good tendered his resignation to the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority board on Thursday following an investigation showing $32.3 million in unpaid accounts.

Board officials said in a release the separation is effective immediately, as is a nationwide search for his permanent replacement. Former Allegheny Regional Asset District Director David Donahoe will serve in an interim role, according to Mayor's Bill Peduto's office.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Ellen Gozion of Pittsburgh folk band The Early Mays saw her first crankie at a music festival in West Virginia.

“As soon as I saw them, I fell in love with them and I decided I would make one,” she said. “I knew that there had been scattered crankie (festivals) throughout the country, so I immediately thought we’re going to do that in Pittsburgh.”

It took several years, but the first ever Pittsburgh Crankie Fest is this weekend at the Wilkins School Community Center in Regent Square.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

A Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium leopard gave birth to a new Amur cub last week, zoo officials announced Tuesday.

Port Authority of Allegheny County

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning broke a legal norm on Tuesday.

Manning accepted a lenient plea deal offering probation to three of the five white men accused of beating a black man and throwing him onto a Wood Street subway track in Downtown Pittsburgh after a Kenny Chesney concert last May.

But as he accepted those terms, Manning said he was unhappy with the deals reached between the defendants’ attorneys and District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Harrisburg's happy ornithological two-some are back in the nest this week, just in time for Valentine's Day. 

State Department of Environmental Protection officials announced the return of a pair of peregrine falcons to their nest on the 15th floor ledge of the Rachel Carson State Office Building with redesigned falcon website on Friday.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Fish fry season has begun, so here's where to get your fish sandwiches, dinners and other Friday staples. 

There are several guides online if you're looking for a fish fry near you or looking to try a new one. 

KDKA has its annual fish fry guide posted. You can also find a county-by-county list on WPXI's website

NFL/YouTube

What better way to celebrate the big game?

"In the end / when our team won / mom and dad looked at each other / one thing led to another that night."

NFL advertisers teamed with Seal to recreate "one of the greatest love songs of all time to celebrate the greatest game of all time," according to the caption posted on the NFL's YouTube channel on Monday.

Data suggests nine months after a Super Bowl victory, winning cities see a rise in births, according to the ad.

Ryan Loew / PublicSource

    

The street where Carol Speaks grew up is only blocks from where her grandson Antwann died.

At 19 years old, he was shot 17 times, according to Carol, in front of witnesses just down the street from Homewood’s Westinghouse Academy.

Ryan Loew / PublicSource

  Monica Hawkins can still laugh at her son Donté’s sense of humor as she replays it nearly four years later on YouTube. And she can smile at the uncanny resemblance her grandson Jaiden has to his dad. The same smile. The same mischievous energy.

But fresh tears come when she recounts the night Donté died at age 20, the helplessness she felt at the scene, and the hole his loss leaves in their family.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

  Police are puzzled why the city's aggravated assaults, shootings and calls for shots fired all rose in 2015 as the number of homicides fell to levels more on par with previous years, Police Chief Cameron McLay said Friday.

Traditionally, shootings are a good measure for a city's homicide rate, McLay said. That didn't hold true for Pittsburgh in 2015.

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