Noah Brode


Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Democrats in Pennsylvania chose their party establishment's choice for a U.S. Senate candidate and rejected an ex-congressman who six years ago nearly won the office.

Katie McGinty, who spent more than a decade as a state and federal environmental policy official, got millions of dollars from the party and its allies that helped her side heavily outspend her rivals. She received endorsements from top Democrats, from President Barack Obama on down.

Scot Hacker / Flickr

As the spring season brings its annual rash of wildfires to Pennsylvania, Allegheny County officials are warning residents and businesses that large piles of mulch are liable to catch on fire on their own.


County prosecutors executed search warrants Wednesday as part of an investigation into a state-created authority appointed to oversee Pittsburgh's failing finances a dozen years ago.

PA Internet News Service

By the end of 2016, Pennsylvanians should be able to set aside money in tax-exempt savings accounts to spend on the wide range of expenses brought on by disabilities.

The new Pennsylvania Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, also called ABLE, allows family members to contribute up to $14,000 total per year into an “ABLE account,” which is modeled after the Section 529 accounts that parents can use to set aside pre-tax savings for their children’s college bills.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Local officials joined U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) on Friday in calling on Congress to approve funding for grants that would help municipal police departments fight terrorism locally.

While the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee did approve a bill in February to formally authorize the eight-month-old Office of Community Partnerships in the Department of Homeland Security, the committee declined to pass the accompanying language that would allow the office to give grants to municipalities, nonprofits and universities.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Neighbors are optimistic about the latest plan to create offices, restaurants, apartments and maybe a new public market in the Strip District's historic produce terminal.

George Yost Coffin / Wikimedia Commons

As Pennsylvania’s government faces a budget deficit of well more than $1 billion in the next fiscal year, one legislator is teaming up with a Harrisburg think tank to call for changes to income tax rates.

According to state Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia) and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the three proposals hashed out Monday would close the state’s “structural” budget deficit by shifting the income tax burden from low- and middle-income residents to the wealthiest Pennsylvanians.

Charles Williams / Flickr

While much of the testimony at a state Senate hearing in Pittsburgh on Thursday focused on the need for the state to fund opioid addiction treatment regimens, one expert recommended the state take legal action against insurers who illegally deny coverage of long-term rehabilitation programs for those addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers.

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.” 

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

About 30 people gathered at Smallman Galley in the Strip District Monday for one of the first events of more than 60 this week geared at including all types of people in innovative practices across the city.

That includes everything from a small business resource fair and a women business leaders breakfast, to several more colorful ideas, like "Pizza Poems" and "Maker Storytime Thursday."

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is calling for an audit of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, which oversees the city’s finances, after an investigation by The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found that nearly all of the authority’s records have been destroyed.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

In a preliminary impromptu speaking round of the World Individual Debating & Public Speaking Championship in Fox Chapel Thursday, seven students from around the world were given just two minutes to prepare a short speech on a random topic – anything from the word “needles” to the phrase “evil is whatever distracts the mind.”

"We should all take risks and not hold ourselves back, even if it's to do with needles," said Micaella Rogers of South Africa, pacing and gesturing with her hands often as she spoke in front of a classroom full of judges and competitors.

Canadian2006 / Wikimedia Commons

An adult homicide charge has been filed against a 14-year-old Mount Pleasant boy after he allegedly shot and killed his 13-year-old friend while playing with a handgun in a neighbor’s house.

A Westmoreland County judge will now have to decide whether to decertify the case, which would send it to juvenile court for a maximum possible sentence of seven years, when the boy would turn 21.

Monroeville attorney Patrick Thomassey, who has represented juveniles facing adult charges, said the limitations of juvenile courts' jurisdictions in Pennsylvania make that a tough choice.

Nelson Harrison / Pittsburgh Jazz Network

Nelson Harrison isn't shy about his passion for Pittsburgh's prominence in the history of jazz music.

“Pittsburgh is the jazz capital of the world," Harrison said. "A lot of people don’t know that. The last hundred years of jazz wouldn’t have happened at all if it hadn’t been for Pittsburghers who innovated almost every major movement in Pittsburgh.”

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's minimum wage for tipped workers hasn't gone up in 17 years, but a group of service industry activists came together Thursday to recognize a Garfield bar for eschewing tips and paying its employees a higher base wage of its own accord.

Infrogmation / Wikimedia Commons

Homeowners would no longer need to have Pittsburgh City Council approve reimbursements for damage to sidewalks from city tree roots under new legislation introduced Tuesday.

Sponsoring Councilman Dan Gilman said his bill could reduce the time of the reimbursement process by about two months through a special exception to the rule that requires council approval for any spending greater than $2,500.

tanjila ahmed / Flickr

Possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana would be reduced from a civil offense to a summary offense under new legislation proposed to Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday.

Fines for possessing or smoking a “small amount of marijuana" would remain at $25 and $100, respectively.

Sponsoring Councilman Daniel Lavelle said the hope is that a summary offense, which does not explicitly state that the fine was imposed for cannabis use, would have less of a negative impact than a civil offense when an offender is applying for jobs or seeking a new residence.

Mark Goebel / Flickr

A Hershey boarding school for low-income students is calling for greater transparency and dialog from public and private schools on how much they spend on student health.

The new position paper from the Milton Hershey School recommends greater collaboration between schools and health institutions like hospitals and nonprofits, as well as more research on the special physical and mental health needs of children living in poverty.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

City leaders met to ring in Pittsburgh’s 200th birthday Friday.

That’s when Pittsburgh went from a borough, to a city.

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

For a city molded by its dramatic topography, Pittsburgh has admittedly been a bit neglectful of many of those simple structures that get people up and down the hills: steps.

But over the next year-and-a-half, city leaders are hoping to hear some innovative ideas from national experts on how they can repair and improve the city’s extensive system of staircases.

Though a design firm hasn't been chosen yet, $1.16 million worth of in-kind services furnished by the Citi Foundation means Pittsburgh won't have to pay anything.

RAND Corporation

Middle-skilled natural gas and energy workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are getting old.

That’s according to a Rand study, which found that one-quarter of those workers, such as welders, industrial mechanics and engineers, were nearing the age of 55 and close to retirement. The study is the first of five annual reports aiming to assess student preparation for industry jobs.

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.

90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wants electric avenues, responsive stoplights, a drop in city emissions totals and more self-driving cars, and he doesn't want to wait for a $50 million grant to get them.

The Steel City is one of seven finalists for a multi-million “Smart City” prize offered through the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve urban transit.

At an event Tuesday, Peduto said city officials need to treat the ensuing notoriety as an opportunity to consider innovative but realistic changes to city infrastructure regardless of the contest's outcome.

Creative Commons / Wikipedia

For more than a century, the Pittsburgh area has been home to the longest-running Serbian newspaper on the continent, written in a quiet office in Green Tree before being shipped off to readers across the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe -- including, of course, Serbia itself.

Creative Commons / Wikipedia

City officials hope to address perennial traffic problems caused by St. Patrick’s Day revelry on Pittsburgh’s South Side, by introducing special rules for drivers and partiers this weekend.

City Council President Bruce Kraus, who represents the neighborhood, announced several temporary changes for Saturday's bash. Those changes include free parking just across the Monongahela River, parking restrictions along East Carson Street, a ride-share zone on the street’s 1700 block and a free circulator bus.

The rules take effect 7 a.m. Saturday and end Sunday at noon.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Chase McBryde grinds metal in the corner of a big room cluttered with odds and ends collected from all over the city – old furniture, pallets, even the seat of a car. It was junk to its former owners, but McBryde views it all as potential source material.

His creations fill tabletops and dot the floor, from the full-sized model of a futuristic gun from the Fallout video game series to a cow skull replica. Even the warehouse studio’s coffin-shaped doorway is custom-made. Punk music plays on the stereo.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

A new daytime haven for homeless youth and former child welfare recipients in Allegheny County is experiencing its first successes.

Since its soft opening on Jan. 26, the 412 Youth Zone has seen about 400 young people ages 16 to 24 come through its doors in the Wood Street Commons building downtown.

Staff members said a core group of about 10 to 15 young people come in to the center every day it’s open.

Once inside, they can take part in free services provided by the center and its 30 partner organizations – or just hang out.

Vernon Chan / Flickr

A new code boot camp opening in Pittsburgh's Allentown neighborhood this April is meant to supply entry-level workers to fill positions in the Steel City's burgeoning technology industry, with a focus on populations underrepresented in the tech sector.

Alex Brandon / AP

Security tasked with guarding U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s Pittsburgh office challenged a handful of activists hoping to deliver a petition to the Pennsylvania Republican on Thursday.

Organizers said the petition bearing 27,000 signatures urged the state’s junior senator to act on President Obama’s eventual nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, but most activists weren’t allowed inside. Security guards said they called the Pittsburgh Police, but no officers came to the scene.

Pittsburgh City Planning Deptartment

The Port Authority is set to begin replacing the rails of the Red Line “T” route on March 27, but a project to simultaneously improve the safety of the T stops there hasn’t gotten off the ground.

The Beechview T stops are situated on concrete islands in the middle of Broadway Avenue’s four lanes. They don’t have pedestrian crossings and they’re not well marked. Beechview’s councilwoman, Natalia Rudiak, said the situation is unsafe and discourages people from riding the T.