Steve Jordan

News Fellow
Flickr user hjl

  Over-prescribing painkillers, marketing and formulation changes and cheap heroin prices led to opioid epidemics in Carrick, Sharpsburg and Allentown, according to a report released Thursday by the Allegheny County departments of Health and Human Services.

The new findings were collected over six years to better define strategies for both prevention and treatment within targeted geographic areas, Health Department Director Karen Hacker said.

Kris Knieriem / Hightail

Volunteers painted a vibrant mural at Propel Pitcairn charter school Wednesday in hopes of encouraging students to read more.

 Artist Lynne Mack said she hopes her colorful work, featuring bright-eyed animals gathering books, will inspire kids to read.

“Everything I do, I make gender neutral so that it appeals to both boys and girls,” she said. “They get so excited, they’ll touch it and point to (the animals). They just get so excited about seeing it.”

The mural is on a wall near the entrance to a first grade classroom, so students in all grades will walk past it.

Pittsburgh Bureau of Police / Facebook

Neighborhoods around Pittsburgh are preparing for National Night Out, an event focused on building positive community and police relations.

Aggie Brose, Deputy Director of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, said organizers in those communities plan to hand out safety essentials, in addition to fostering community building.

“We’re gonna have a disc jockey, there will be face painting and lots of other children’s activities,” she said. “We’re going to be giving out light bulbs, to light up their porches and safety locks for their guns.”

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is sending its five sand tiger sharks to a Florida marine park, with the goal of mating them.

But before that can happen, the zoo has the task of transporting the large creatures to Marineland of Florida, a park operated by the Georgia Aquarium, in mid-August. Curator of Aquatic life for the PPG Aquarium Dwayne Biggs said it’s no easy job.

“Transporting a 400-pound Sand Tiger Shark is a big effort,” he said.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials said Friday they’re working out the kinks causing inaccurate water bills for roughly 30,000 residents. 

Residents said they’ve received inaccurate or late bills for months.

Gabriel Rocha / Flickr

Pittsburgh LIFE, which offers help to area seniors who want to remain in their homes, but still need assistance, opens a new location in McKees Rocks Thursday.

The McKees Rocks operation is the fourth for Pittsburgh LIFE, in addition to ones in Greentree, the North Shore and Allegheny Center.

Initially started in 1997, Pittsburgh LIFE offers services such as nursing care, chore services and transportation to appointments for seniors who want to remain independent and live at home.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration / Flickr

Advances in 3-D printing are making prosthetic limbs more affordable and easier to acquire.

A global community called e-Nabling the Future is making low-cost prosthetic hands across the world. A traditional prosthetic limb can cost a person thousands of dollars, but the hands produced by e-Nabling, are free.

Alexander Nordby / Flickr

As sexual assaults in the military increase, supporters of a bill aiming to protect victims are working to drum up support. 

Between 2014 and 2013, the number of reported sexual assault cases in the military jumped 11 percent, and 2013 numbers were 53 percent higher than in 2012, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Defense.

User Fabio / Flickr

As Pittsburgh Pride Week kicks off, equality is on the minds of many. 

Nationwide, an individual can be fired for his or her sexual orientation or gender identification, and there is no federal protection. Pennsylvania is one of 28 states that does not have laws preventing discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Keith Carver / Flickr

Bees can be pesky, but they're vital to the ecosystem. Take bees out of the equation, and many of the foods on the dinner table disappear.

In an effort to protect them, experts plan to talk about the threats to bees and pollinators at Bee Wise: Plant Natives on June 8, hosted by the Allegheny County Master Gardeners and Penn State Allegheny Extension.

User m01229 / Flickr

In Pennsylvania, it's illegal to hunt on a Sunday. The hunting ban has its roots in the state’s “blue laws," which date back to the late 17th century outlawing certain activities on Sundays.

A new bill sponsored by Senator Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny, Westmoreland) would allow hunters to take part in their sport any day of the week, including Sunday.

Bob Gaffney / Flickr

Pennsylvanians with aging family members are underutilizing many of the state’s assistance programs, Department of Aging officials said.

Secretary Teresa Osborne said the department could be doing more to inform the public.

“While we’re doing an okay job of it, we need to do better,” she said. “So, what better opportunities are we going to take advantage of in order to ensure that the services and support that are available to older Pennsylvanians and their caregivers are known before somebody is in a crisis mode?”

ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement Judy Schmidt

The recent discovery of 1,284 new planets by NASA has increased interest in astronomy nationwide. And while many enjoy a clear night sky with stars too numerous to count, for some, stargazing is more than a hobby.