Mora McLaughlin

John Marino / Flickr

Most of the people running the Pittsburgh Marathon this weekend don’t know who Jimi Miller is. But for some, he provides a much-needed boost of energy along the route.

Mora McLaughlin / 90.5 WESA

Paleontologists have unearthed the most well-intact titanosaur skull ever found. The herbivore was 40-to-50 feet long and weighed twice that of an average zoo elephant.

After presenting their findings in Pittsburgh, Dr. Rubén D. F. Martínez of the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco; Dr. Lawrence Witmer of Ohio State University and Matt Lamanna of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History published their research in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

Dawn Endico / Flickr

Electronic ballots or paper ballots? Voters in Washington County today will use both.

Counties across the commonwealth have been scrambling to adhere to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision last week that ordered the reinstatement of Joseph Vodvarka to the Democratic primary ballot in the U.S. Senate contest.

AIRNow.gov

Pittsburgh’s air quality has a ways to go before it's considered healthy, according to the American Lung Association’s latest State of the Air report.

“We report based on how many unhealthy air days they receive for ozone and daily particle pollution,” said Paul Billings, national senior vice president of advocacy. "We also look at the EPA’s reports for year-round particle pollution as well."

Mora McLaughlin / 90.5 WESA

Anyone who visits a Community Recreation and Healthy Active Living Center in Pittsburgh can meet with neighbors or grab a bite to eat. Now, they can also surf the internet with free Wi-Fi.

Citiparks and the Department of Innovation and Performance announced the installation of free Wi-Fi in 22 of its centers throughout the city.

The announcement was made at the Greenfield Healthy Active Living Center on Wednesday.

Women & Girls Foundation of Western PA / Facebook

Fifty-six years after the Equal Pay Law took effect in Pennsylvania, politicians and advocates gathered in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday to call attention to the continuing pay disparity in the state and nationwide.  

Allegheny County Airport Authority

The Allegheny County Airport Authority is rebranding as its international arm courts new partnerships and adds additional routes.

The new look includes a colorful logo unveiled Monday and a change in signage and local advertising campaign. Allegheny County Airport Authority Spokeswoman Alyson Walls said concept delivery and development cost about $60,000 and was in the works since late last year.  

A collaboration with Visit Pittsburgh aims to improve the experience of those traveling to the city, Walls said.

Variety

Variety, a charity that gives away adaptive bikes, strollers and communication devices for children with disabilities, will be taking their services on the road this spring.

The “Life Changing” tour began in late March and will continue into May. They will make 15 stops throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia to give away 150 products, as well as fit 35 children for their new devices.

The organization's kickoff event took place last week, with a “bike parade” at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa. Eight individuals received new bikes.

Kamran Jebreili / AP

 

Vice President Joe Biden will be in Pittsburgh next week to address campus sexual assault.

Biden's speech at the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday will be the first in a multi-city tour as part of the White House's "It's On Us" campaign.

Listen Live:

Magnus Karlsson / Flickr

Syrup producers don’t have as much to celebrate at this year’s Pennsylvania Maple Festival.

Somerset County is the biggest producer of maple syrup in the state and home to the Pennsylvania Maple Festival, celebrating spring maple tapping over the first two weekends of April. Warm weather has meant a lower yield for sap, however.

Farmers, like Jason Blocher who operates Milroy Farms in Salisbury, Somerset County, are feeling the effects. Blocher said his family's been in the sap business a long time. 

Carnegie Mellon University

Over the last year, more than 400 Pittsburghers have gone to their neighborhood Carnegie Library, not to borrow a book, but an air quality monitor.

Now, this partnership with Carnegie Mellon University will be expanded nationwide.

“We want to repeat this experiment all across the nation,” said Sarah Longo, operations manager at AirViz, which makes the monitors. “As a for-profit company, this is our way of paying it forward, because it’s part of our mission to empower as many people as possible.”

John Poister / Department of Environmental Protection

The Department of Environmental Protection will spend $13.4 million to remove an abandoned coal pile that has overshadowed a Cambria County city since the 1960s.

Eamonn O Muiri / Flickr

Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle is on the rise as a great downtown, according to Livability.com. The website named the city as having one of the most livable urban cores. 

“If you’re on lists like this and if you are doing the kinds of things to get that kind of attention, you’ve created a great place for people to come and visit and invest and spend time and move their businesses or themselves to,” said Matt Carmichael, editor of Livability.com

Christiaan Colen / Flickr

 Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Stanford University have been given access to password “frequency” information of 70 million Yahoo! users in order to develop methods to make online accounts more secure.

Companies track how many users choose the same, or similar, passwords. Those figures are collected to determine password frequency.

Melissa / Flickr

Starting Monday, children in Sheraden will be able to access free meals after school.

Pittsburgh CitiParks’ GrubUp program, which provides free meals to city schoolchildren, added its 11th location at the Sheraden senior community center and adjoining library on Sherwood Avenue.

Luke H. Gordon / Flickr

Some 12,000 daily riders of the Port Authority’s light rail Red Line are going to have to find an alternative mode of transportation for six months starting March 27. 

The transit agency will replace a nearly mile-long stretch of deteriorating tracks and street pavement in Beechview.

This section on Broadway Avenue, “has reached the end of its useful life,” according to Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie. And it has required “22 costly repairs” since 2008 to keep it open.

The Red Line provides service from the South Hills to Downtown and the North Shore. 

Deciphering The Befuddling Budget Situation

Feb 1, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP Images

90.5 WESA Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer spoke with  House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) and  Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) about their concerns and the public’s perception that lawmakers can’t get along.  

Costa blamed lawmakers' philosophical differences.

“At the end of the day, we recognize that we want to do many similar things, investing in education, human service programs, economic development (and) job growth,” he said. “The question becomes about how we go about doing that.”

Carlow University

 

With increasing concerns over anti-Muslim extremism, local Muslim-Americans are pairing with Carlow University to talk about religion and their experiences living in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday’s event, called “The Muslim Next Door,” was developed with the intent of dispelling myths about Islamic stereotypes.

The panel includes speakers from the Turkish and Islamic centers of Pittsburgh and Carlow University students.

Bernardo González Riga / Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and CONICET

A new species of a very old dinosaur was recently discovered with help from a Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologist. 

Believed to be 85 million years old, Notocolossus was likely 82 to 92 feet in length and weighed more than 132,000 pounds -- as much as nine to 13 elephants and about three-times the weight of "Dippy," the Diplodocus dinosaur outside of the museum.

Bernardo González Riga of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo led the study and published a report on his findings this week.

Summit Against Racism

The first Saturday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day marks the 18th annual Summit Against Racism, a day-long conference that promotes dialogue on race and ethnicity, as well as gender and sexuality.

Event organizers are expecting more than 400 guests, the best attendance in the event’s history.

Daniel Lobo / flickr

Pittsburgh public transit users could pay less to ride the bus, or T, starting next year.

Allegheny County Port Authority officials are considering a flat $2.50 fare for one-way rides on the city's light rail and bus lines. It would be the system's first fare decrease in 35 years.

Customers currently maneuver two fare zones; a trip through one costs $2.50 and riding through two costs $3.75.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

    

New research found that one hookah session could leave you with much higher rates of toxicants than a cigarette.

University of Pittsburgh researchers took the findings of 542 scientific articles and pared them down to 17 studies comparing hookah use to smoking cigarettes. 

PA Farm Show Celebrates Centennial Anniversary

Jan 8, 2016
PA Farm Show / Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website

The 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show will begin Saturday, January 9th. The eight-day expo will include crowd favorites like the annual butter sculpture or the sheep-to-shawl contest, where contestants start by sheering a sheep and create clothing on sight.

According to the Farm Show, there will be 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits, and 300 commercial exhibits from January 6th to the 19th. 

Ken Marshall / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Treasury announced Monday the distribution of $3.3 billion in emergency payments to school districts, counties and human services organizations. Gov. Tom Wolf released the funds last week, while vetoing parts of a budget proposal left to him before Christmas.

Tony Alter / Flickr

Nine University of Notre Dame students will spend two days sleeping and volunteering in homeless shelters throughout their native city for school.

The one-credit, winter course aims to teach students about the complexities of urban poverty through an overnight “urban plunge” this week.

Organizers said 150 students will participate in 25 cities around the country. In Pittsburgh, students plan to visit organizations like the North Side's Pleasant Valley Men’s Shelter (male students only) and the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center located Downtown, among others.

Dan McKay / Flickr

 

Among those New Year’s goals of eating healthier, volunteering more or sticking to a new hobby, the Pennsylvania Resources Council also wants resolution makers to add one more thing: recycling.

Composting and recycling bottles, cans, paper and any potentially hazardous material are easy ways to get involved, said Justin Stockdale, the council's regional director.

Bert Kaufmann / Flickr

Drivers hitting the road this holiday season will be far from alone. 

The American Automobile Association estimates there will be a record-breaking 100.5 million Americans traveling this season.

Of those travelers, 91.3 million will be driving. That's  a 1.4 percent increase from last year. According to AAA, holiday travel has been trending upward for seven consecutive years.

Franco Folini / Flickr

Pittsburgh Mercy Health System's Operation Safety Net program is shedding light on homelessness in Allegheny County with a memorial service on the longest night of the year.

The memorial will be held to remember the homeless people who have died in the county this year. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Dec. 21, the winter solstice.

Cali4beach / Flickr

Education advocacy group A+ Schools is seeking members for its volunteer review board tasked with overseeing new board members representing Pittsburgh Public Schools.

With three new members sworn in, the Pittsburgh Public School Board has only two members who have served for more than two years. The other four were elected in 2013.

A+ Executive Director Carey Harris said volunteers are city residents prepped by the organization's staffers about current state and national policy.

The Office of Public Art

The Office of Public Art is aiming to make Pittsburgh more welcoming to newcomers in immigrant neighborhoods with public art installations. 

The Peduto Administration, OPA and the Department of Public Planning are teaming up to seek grant money from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for public art projects that will improve the quality of life in immigrant communities.

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