Noah Brode


 

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Two deteriorating dams at man-made fishing lakes in southwestern Pennsylvania will be repaired beginning next year as part of a $25 million statewide investment announced by Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has dubbed 10 dams, including those at Lake Somerset and Donegal Lake, “high-hazard” and “unsafe.” The designations mean that if the dams were to fail during heavy rain, property would be damaged and people could potentially die in the ensuing flood.

UBC Learning Commons / Flickr

State government will soon offer groups promising environmental education up to $50,000 in grant money, a significant jump from the former maximum of $3,000.

Beginning in 2017, funding from the Department of Environmental Protection will be available to help generate groups more ambitious programming on watershed management, brownfield remediation and other topics at the state and regional levels, DEP spokeswoman Susan Rickens said.

To qualify for the max amount, organizations need to generate at least $10,000 in matching funds, she said.

Westmoreland Museum of American Art / Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection

From life-sized "cigar store Indians" to antique portraits and even a few hand-carved merry-go-round animals, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art is putting 19th century American folk art in the spotlight this summer and fall.

90.5 WESA’s Noah Brode spoke with chief curator Barbara Jones about the significance of the "Shared Legacy" exhibit.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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Gene J. Puskar / AP

Construction crews across the state will complete almost $62 billion worth of roadwork from now through 2028.

The State Transportation Commission outlined its strategy to repair and improve southwestern Pennsylvania's network of roadways Thursday in its newly-updated 12-year plan.

The most ambitious of upcoming regional construction projects is likely the $491 million overhaul of I-70 in Washington and Westmoreland counties. Crews have already started to widen the roadway and improve ramps between the city of Washington in the west and New Stanton to the east.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is in the midst of a series of “open house” meetings regarding the latest revisions of a plan to build a major toll road between Monroeville and the South Hills.

After meetings in West Mifflin and Oakland earlier this week drew hundreds of people, two additional meetings in Monroeville and Churchill next week will give residents another opportunity to question state officials about the final leg of the long-delayed Mon-Fayette Expressway.

Googlemaps

After a fiscal record-keeping scandal prompted a board shakeup and reforms of Pittsburgh’s state-appointed financial oversight board earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority and the city are now close to settling a lawsuit to release $18 million in withheld tax revenue to Pittsburgh's pension funds.

“(ICA board members) still have to vote on Tuesday, but that agreement will release all the money that the city is owed," said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

Mark Moz / Flickr

Rent abatement, housing renovations and new affordable housing construction projects could be on the agenda if City Council approves a tax increase worth an estimated $10 million.

Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force

The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force has hired a director to lead its new medical clinic in East Liberty.

According to task force officials, Dr. Sarah McBeth is an internal medicine specialist who received some of her clinical training in the midst of the HIV epidemic in Africa.

In a statement, McBeth said seeing the AIDS epidemic firsthand in Beira, Mozambique convinced her that HIV is one of the world’s most pressing health issues.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Two major construction projects will cause long-term road closures in the North Shore area beginning this August. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Frontier Airlines announced it will end its service from Pittsburgh to Denver just one month after it started offering the flight.

Officials from Frontier Airlines and the Pittsburgh International Airport said the airline would discontinue flights to Denver in January on a seasonal basis, although the flights were not billed as seasonal when they began in June.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Pittsburgh voters will decide whether the city should increase its realty transfer tax from 2 percent to 3 percent in order to fill a trust fund that would pay for affordable housing initiatives across the city, according to the organizers of a petition drive.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Residents of the Hill District would have a much easier time walking or biking to downtown Pittsburgh after the construction of a proposed three-acre park with pathways on a platform raised overtop of I-579 in the Lower Hill.

The project, which has already undergone a year-long planning and design process, will be ready for construction after the federal government releases $19 million in grant funding for the effort this October, officials announced Tuesday.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

There are thousands of abandoned coal mines dotting the landscape of Pennsylvania, and many of them leak water tainted with toxic metals like iron and manganese, which seeps into streams and groundwater.

 

It’s been a long, expensive process for the state to clean up the acid mine drainage. But state environmental officials now say an alternative method of remediation -- constructed wetlands -- could remove iron and manganese from mine drainage at a much lower cost.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Local elected officials gathered in Bloomfield on Monday to celebrate the opening of the Penn Mathilda Apartments, a new affordable housing development meant to keep low-income residents in the East End, especially as gentrification pushes up rent payments.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

For about a decade after he retired from 26 years of service in the U.S. Army in 2006, Larry Debar didn’t think he needed a service dog to help him in his civilian life in Homer City.

“I thought the dog would benefit someone else other than me,” Debar said.

But seeing a working dog in action on a trip to Florida earlier this year started to change Debar’s mind. At the urging of his wife, Holly, he soon dropped off an application for a free service dog through the Guardian Angels nonprofit program in Williston, Fla.

Megan Fair / 90.5 WESA

A large, three-story structure in Allegheny West where college students used to learn how to paint and sculpt would become the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police's temporary training facility under a bill given tentative approval by City Council this week.

If the bill becomes law after a final vote Tuesday, the city would pay the Community College of Allegheny County as much as $2.1 million to rent its former visual arts building for police training over the next three to six years.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Transportation experts are urging elected officials nationwide to embrace the rise of driverless vehicle technology as an opportunity to improve city street grids.

Speakers at a forum in East Liberty Monday focused on city planning, equating the importance of driverless cars with that of the steam engine, electric grid and elevator, saying the technology would be commonplace within 50 years.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration announced Thursday it has finalized the acquisition of 660 acres of woodland to create a park in the southern Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hays.

The city's Urban Redevelopment Authority bought the “Hays Woods” property from Pittsburgh Development Group II for $5 million, a figure city leaders said is well below market value.

In a statement, Peduto called the sale of the property a "tremendous gift."

"It will preserve hundreds of acres of untouched urban forest for generations," Peduto said.

Photo courtesy Citiparks, City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh City Council is expected to pass a resolution Wednesday requiring the city to be more timely and transparent with its pool inspections.

The resolution is a result of the delayed opening of Brookline’s Moore Pool this summer because of late inspections and the Hill District’s Ammon Pool not opening at all last year after its water filtration tank was mistakenly shipped overseas

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Residents of Allentown and the South Side Slopes are about one week away from seeing a former hillside dump site given special status as Pittsburgh’s newest greenway.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

On the heels of the sit-in staged by Democrats in the House of Representatives last week, one Pennsylvania Congressman took to the steps of Pittsburgh's City-County Building on Wednesday to renew calls for lawmakers to hold a vote on proposed gun reforms.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Transportation Group's trademark yellow taxis will largely become a thing of the past as the company shifts resources toward its fledgling taxi service, zTrip, officials announced this week.

Though Pittsburgh Transportation Group will continue to operate about 10 yellow taxis at airport and hotel stands around Pittsburgh to prevent another company from taking over the brand, most of the company's 325-vehicle fleet will be painted gray and marked with the zTrip logo by mid-September.

"It's the end of an era," President Jamie Campolongo said.

State Sen. Jay Costa

  Pittsburgh’s state-appointed financial oversight board could be required to adhere to much stricter transparency requirements under a reform bill unanimously passed by the state Senate on Tuesday.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Children have encountered a curious pair of miniature doors in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Birds for decades.

“People were constantly turning those doorknobs,” said Becca Shreckengast, the museum’s director of exhibition experience. “They are very attractive doors. They are small, hobbit-sized doors, child-sized doors, so there was already this built-in mystery, like, ‘Why is there this little door?’”

Paul Sableman / Flickr

During his successful campaign for the Allegheny County Executive’s office in 2011, Rich Fitzgerald proposed the creation of a multi-county public transit system, touting potential cost-savings and improved service.

Five years later, the idea of merging local counties’ transit authorities is still years away from fruition, despite support across county lines.

Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers / Album Art by Kathy Borland

Long before the rise of the radio and the advent of the record player, the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania rang with the music of fiddle and fife, with old melodies first brought to the New World by immigrants from Britain, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Many of the players couldn’t read music, so the tradition spread aurally from one generation to the next. Thriving communities of fiddlers fueled the local dance halls in places like Derry in Westmoreland County and Dunbar in Fayette County, and fifers played traditional marches in holiday parades.

Keith Srakocic / AP

**UPDATED: This story was updated at 11:15 a.m., June 20, 2016 to reflect the new court date for Alex Hribal.  

The young man accused of wounding 20 fellow students and a security guard at a mass stabbing at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville two years ago will either plead guilty or go to trial on August 1.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Penguins turned around a once-disappointing season and fired a coach before winning a fourth Stanley Cup, adversity that seemed to make Wednesday's city-wide celebration that much sweeter.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Hillary Clinton went on the offensive against Donald Trump in a campaign speech on Pittsburgh’s South Side on Tuesday, denouncing the Republican presidential nominee’s response to the Orlando shooting.

Ray Bodden / Flickr

Hundreds of environmental advocates are slated to gather in Harrisburg on Tuesday to lobby state lawmakers to reject bills they say would undermine the commonwealth’s clean energy and conservation programs.

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