Noah Brode


Nicole Fallert / 90.5 WESA

A federal gun control measure introduced Monday with the intention of preventing hate crimes became unexpectedly timely in the aftermath of a deadly mass shooting Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said he’d been working on the legislation for months and had planned to introduce it later this week, but decided to submit it Monday after the attack by an ISIS-pledged man in Florida claimed at least 49 lives at the Pulse nightclub.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

After a real estate company's bid to redevelop a 1-square-mile swath of forest in the southern Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hays fell through in the early 2000s, the landowner has now decided to sell Hays Woods at a vastly discounted rate to the city for use as a public park.

Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority voted Thursday to pay $5 million to Pittsburgh Development Group II for the “whole bundle of sticks,” URA board chair Kevin Acklin said – including land ownership and mineral rights on a property once slated for strip mining and a racetrack and casino complex.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Two proposed trust funds would allow real estate developers to pay the city of Pittsburgh to build green spaces and stormwater management infrastructure if they’re not able to include those elements on the sites of new projects in Downtown or North Shore.

Pittsburgh City Council approved the creation of an Open Space Trust Fund and a Stormwater Management Trust Fund in two unanimous preliminary votes Wednesday.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Blue roadside signs reading “Bus Stop” could become a thing of the past as the Port Authority of Allegheny County begins its rollout of more robust bus stop signage this summer.

Starting in July, roughly 85 Downtown bus stops will be outfitted with signs that include route maps, bus schedules and frequency information. Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the new wayfinding system will eventually be at all PAT bus stops in the county.

Tianming Chen / Flickr

Sixteen student conservationists will work as rangers in city parks this summer if Pittsburgh City Council votes to accept a $700,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation today.

Pittsburgh Parks Director Jim Griffin said members of the Student Conservation Association have volunteered at city parks for years, but now they could get paid for their work.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council is set to give final approval Tuesday to a $125,000 settlement in the Jordan Miles case, potentially ending a six-year legal battle between the city and the young black man who accused three white city police officers of attacking him in 2010.

There’s been no public discussion of the deal reached between Miles’ attorney, Joel Sansone, and the city Law Department; City Council held a closed-door executive session on the matter before unanimously approving the deal in a committee vote last Wednesday.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Patients of all stripes leaned back in rows of dental chairs on the main floor of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center early Friday for free procedures ranging from walk-in cleanings to root canals and extractions.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

In 1985, Carnegie Mellon University announced that its first driverless vehicle, Terregator, could make its way across a football field in about an hour.

Now, with CMU's fourteenth generation of automated vehicles, a silver Cadillac SUV, able to manage up to 70 miles per hour, state government officials are finally taking regulatory steps to prepare for what they describe as the inevitable rise of driverless vehicles over the coming decades.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Members of an advisory board voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend that Allegheny County stop seeking federal funding for transitional housing programs in order to make its grant bids more competitive, and instead focus on permanent housing and "rapid re-housing" services.

But if it's adopted by the county Department of Human Services, the policy change would dry up annual funding streams relied upon by local transitional housing facilities like HEARTH, a Shaler organization that houses survivors of domestic violence.

'Zodiac Heads' To Loom Over CMOA Visitors This Summer

May 31, 2016
Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A dozen monolithic sculptures by the acclaimed Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei are on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art this summer.

Visitors to the museum's Hall of Architecture can stand in the shadows of the larger-than-life statues of "Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads," which officially opened on Saturday. Each of the 12 bronze statues weighs between 1,500 and 2,500 pounds, and each depicts the head of an animal of the Chinese Zodiac.

About 1,000 singers from 70 choruses across the country have come to Pittsburgh for a celebration of German choral music.

This weekend’s festival marks the 62nd Nationales Sängerfest, which the Nord-Amerikanischer Sängerbund, or the North American Singers Association, holds every three years.

But it’s just the fourth time ever that Pittsburgh has hosted a Sängerfest since German immigrants first began arriving in the Bloomfield and Deutschtown neighborhoods in the mid-1800s.

Matt Rourke / AP

  Local organizations are denouncing the energy policy plan put forth by Donald Trump at a North Dakota oil and gas industry meeting Thursday afternoon.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

In 1910, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., then one of the nation’s foremost landscape architects, outlined a plan for Pittsburgh. It detailed his thoughts on how city leaders should handle development around Pittsburgh’s major roadways and rail corridors.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council members heard testimony from local residents Tuesday on a bill that would ban the use of exotic animals in performances within city limits.

Ron Gongaware, 57, of White Oak is a member of the local Syria Shriners group based in Cheswick. He said the legislation would effectively end his organization’s Shrine Circus, which has been raising money locally for free children’s hospital services since about 1950. 

“And that circus is our biggest fundraiser we have, so the ban of those exotic animals would be a tragedy for us,” Gongaware said.

In a five-year affordable housing strategy announced Monday, state government officials said they’ll invest Medicaid funding into affordable housing programs over the next five years.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Oxford Development Company’s apartment project for the Strip District, The Yards at 3 Crossings, will have hundreds of people living about 100 feet from the south bank of the Allegheny River as early as this year. 

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Alison Knowles handles a "bean turner," an interactive art piece of her own creation, made of a stiffened cotton tube that’s filled with beans – reminiscent of a rain stick.

She's encouraging visitors of her upcoming exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art to pick up the bean turner and see what kinds of sounds they can make with it. While they're there, guests can peruse a variety of pieces gathered from across the octogenarian's five-decade career, which first began flourishing in the Fluxus performance art movement of the 1960s and '70s. 

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

You need office space and classrooms for children with room for a few experiments -- just enough to put your hands in the earth and squiggle around. But you can't use any toxic construction materials. And once it's built, it has to both recycle its own water and produce more energy and than it consumes.

That was the challenge mastered last year by Phipps Conservatory when its Center for Sustainable Landscapes became Pittsburgh's first structure to meet the strict environmental requirements of the Living Building Challenge.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited Pittsburgh Monday to get a first-hand report on the city’s bid for a $50 million federal transportation grant.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

A recent effort to collect teddy bears for Pittsburgh police officers to hand out to children in emergency situations far outstripped its intended scope.

In 1680, English nobleman Edward Coke codified his country's common law regarding fetal homicide.

"[T]his is a great misdemeanour, and no murder," Coke wrote of the intentional death of a fetus in utero "by Potion, Battery, or other cause."

UPMC Magee Women's Hospital

In a quiet, dimly-lit room of UPMC's Magee-Women's Hospital in Oakland, volunteer "cuddler" Donna Comfort held a tiny newborn in her arms. The baby was one of at least five in the hospital born dependent on heroin, prescription painkillers, addiction treatment medication or another form of opioid.

Inflection Point / Allegheny Conference on Community Development

A new report from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development predicts a workforce shortfall of 80,000 employees in the Pittsburgh region in a decade.

The study recommends greater efforts to attract and retain recent college graduates, and more collaboration between employers and educators to train future workers for the projected job market.


The Nine Mile Run Watershed Association is poised to begin construction on a green infrastructure project to reduce combined sewer overflow at Oakwood and Batavia streets in Homewood. 

City Council will vote Wednesday on a bill that would let construction begin.

The watershed association wants to build 10 rain gardens, 40 "tree pits" and other green infrastructure that would soak up sewage overflow and prevent it from entering an underground tributary of Nine Mile Run.  

Bill Rand / Flickr

City officials are slated to receive $1.2 million in reimbursement funds six months after the federal government first pledged to support redevelopment along the corridor of Forbes and Fifth avenues in Uptown.


An interim leader started work Monday at Pittsburgh’s state financial oversight board, taking over for an outgoing director who’s currently under investigation for the loss or destruction of fiscal records.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh remains on a fairly solid financial footing, according to a new report from the city controller's office, adding about $16 million to its coffers in 2015.

But Controller Michael Lamb said obligatory spending -- such as pensions, employee benefits and long-term debt -- still accounts for almost half of the city's yearly budget.

“It’s hard to make ends meet and do the things you need to do as a city when 46 percent of your budget is taken right out on those three items,” Lamb said.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Volunteers from Tree Pittsburgh handed out 1,000 saplings to Pittsburgh-area residents for Arbor Day on Friday afternoon.

Patty Proneker, a secretary from Kennedy Township, said she and her friend picked up a pair of pawpaw trees to plant in her side yard.

“I’ve never heard about it, so I’m really interested in this," Proneker said. "(The volunteer) said that it’s like a tropical fruit, so it’s like an avocado – and I just heard that they’re very good for you – and a mango. And my mom loves mangoes, so it’s going to work perfect.”

Alastair Muir

Igor Stravinsky’s opera The Rake’s Progress premiered in 1951, one of the last major works of his neoclassical period. The renowned Russian composer had long since left behind the avant-garde style of his earlier works, like Firebird and The Rite of Spring, and moved toward a more conservative sound.

Pittsburgh Opera Music Director Antony Walker said during this middle period of his career, Stravinsky looked to the past for inspiration.

Port Authority of Allegheny County

After thousands of public transit riders clamored for an easier-to-use system, the Port Authority of Allegheny County is now poised to get rid of its multi-zone fare structure.

A Friday morning board vote will decide whether the authority will adopt a flat fare system for 2017.

For now, riders pay $2.50 for each bus trip, and they have to pay an extra $1.25 if their routes cross the boundaries of PAT’s inner and outer zones.

If the changes go through, zones would be a thing of the past.