Allegheny County

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

With talk swirling of possible spending freezes over the unbalanced state budget, counties are trying to figure out how they may be impacted.

County commissioners are beginning to put together contingency plans in case any of their state funds get cut off.

Governor Tom Wolf has already stopped some spending to put it into budgetary reserves, and indicated this week that more could be coming.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Advocates are pushing for a citizen’s commission to review Allegheny County’s election practices and technology.

Allegheny County’s current machines are 11 years old, and there’s no immediate plan to replace them. The approximately 4,700 machines were purchased in 2006, when the Help America Vote Act made billions in federal funds available for such purchases.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

It’s easy to keep track of time from most streets downtown: the Allegheny County Courthouse chimes play every 15 minutes, as well as strike the hour; twice a day they sing.

“Noon and five,” said Jim Reardon, the county’s director of facilities management. “It counts off whatever hour it has to be ... and then we play a particular song, whichever song is picked for that day.”

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County has thousands of employees, but one of them has a rather unusual title. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

One day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, women, men and children marched in Washington, D.C. and in cities across the country, including Pittsburgh.

Women were encouraged to run for office at all levels: federal, state and local. But was that call to action taken to heart and was it reflected in the recently held Pennsylvania Primary?  

David Goldman / AP

Pittsburgh's primary is set, but election season is just getting underway. Politcal reporters Kevin Zwick of the Greensburg Tribune-Review and Chris Potter of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have more.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

More than half of the local homeless youth have access to technology, often via smart phone, but advocates and organizations are hoping to reach the remaining population.

“At least 60 percent of youth, in studies, have access to technology,” said Carlos T. Carter, executive director of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund. “How do we get that other 40 percent engaged? And it’s not just getting them a phone, so how do we get them access? They have to get service too.”

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County kicked off its Lead Safe Homes Program last week, which helps residents identify and remove lead-based paint hazards in their homes.

The program consists of $4 million, partially funded by a grant through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office, which will be used to provide lead remediation in 175 homes.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps / University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

Rates of obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, breast cancer screenings and childhood poverty are all on the rise as Allegheny County fell in state rankings released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Gene J. Puskar / AP File Photo

Population data has a way of freaking people out. After all, population determines federal allocation dollars, which trickle down to the state, county, and local levels, said Peter Borsella, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, which released county and metro-area population estimates on Thursday. 

So let’s get this over with: From 2015 to 2016 Pennsylvania waved goodbye to just fewer than 8,000 people. Most counties lost population, though 19 posted some growth.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Bob Gradeck can’t stand the term “data-driven.”

It might seem odd that the project director of the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center would recoil at a data-centric phrase, but Gradeck sees data as tools and not answers.

The WPRDC is the repository for more than 150 data sets from Pittsburgh and Allegheny County government, as well as organizations throughout the region.

A Qualitative Study of Youth and the Juvenile Justice System: A 100 Percent Pittsburgh Pilot Project / Pittsburgh Foundation

Youth need more of a say in shaping the juvenile justice system they're a part of, according to a report released Monday by the Pittsburgh Foundation.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Housing Authority sold five homes in Penn Hills and three lots in Duquesne to the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity.

Frank Aggazio, Executive Director of the Allegheny County Housing Authority, said the partnership is a way to offer homeownership to low-income county residents who no longer need housing assistance. The county sold the five dilapidated properties and lots for $218,000.

Paul Guggenheimer / 90.5 WESA

The results of last week’s election left many political leaders stunned and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald was no exception. Not only was Fitzgerald disappointed to see Hillary Clinton lose after strongly supporting her campaign, he was surprised to see Pennsylvania go into the win column for a Republican for the first time since 1988.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Diabetes cases are continuing to rise in the U.S. and according to the World Health Organization, the disease is projected to be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.

Ally Aubry / flickr

Tuesday, Oct. 11 is the final date to register to vote in Pennsylvania. Over the course of 2016, more than 40,000 Allegheny County residents have submitted their registration applications online since the state launched the system a little over a year ago.

United Way

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is partnering with a dozen local organizations to focus on the academic and social needs of kids.

Since the five-year United for Children plan was announced in December, the organization has chosen local agencies to receive funding, volunteers and business support to help an estimated 300,000 children.

Bethlehem Haven

Bethlehem Haven, a shelter for at-risk and homeless women, is joining the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, in a move that will secure their financial stability and offer a wider range of services to the women it helps.

Bethlehem Haven offers transitional housing with the assistance of federal Department of Housing and Urban Development grants. But Bethlehem Haven President Thomas Herward said HUD’s focus on rapid re-housing has left the shelter under-funded.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Since 1922, 29 champions of the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. have been from Allegheny County. This year, four mibsters, or marble shooters, from the county will compete in hopes of becoming the next champions.

Eli Murphy, 13, resides in Squirrel Hill but practices at St. Michael’s Street on the South Side Slopes with South Side resident Lauren Shuty, 12. Shuty is the Allegheny County Champion.

Allegheny County Champion Bobby Narr, 13, and Madison Johnson, 12, practice together in Lawrenceville.

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

As Allegheny County’s Latino population grows, the Port Authority is trying to make sure non-English speakers can access translation services.

To increase awareness, PAT is launching a campaign with billboards and brochures at bus shelters in neighborhoods with large Latino populations, including Brookline, Beechview and Oakland.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Government representatives from Pittsburgh and nearby municipalities will meet Thursday for the Congress of Neighboring Communities' annual legislative session, during which leaders will discuss ongoing regional problems.

Kristen Michaels, the executive director of the group, said the event is unique because, unlike many inter-governmental sessions, this one involves the City of Pittsburgh.

David Brossard / flickr

A team of nine volunteers in Allegheny County, over the last year, has been reviewing every aspect of county government. This review, required by law, must be done every ten years. WESA’s Mark Nootbaar is reporting on the series of recommendations released by the commission and joins us to discuss the government review commission.

University of Wisconsin

Premature deaths and infant mortality rates are dropping as Allegheny County continues to improve in health rankings statewide.

That’s according to an annual study conducted by the University of Wisconsin looking at the overall health of all U.S. counties.

Allegheny County ranked 26th among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and has climbed steadily for the last five years. Philadelphia County ranked last, though nearby Chester County came in as the healthiest in the state.

Diana Parkhouse / Flickr

Southwestern Pennsylvania saw more real estate listings in sales at the opening of 2016 than it did the year prior.

According to a report by real estate agency West Penn Multi-List, 191 more homes were put up for sale in January 2016 (2,511) than in January 2015. It also saw 71 more homes sold this January (1,432) than a year earlier (1,361).

The report includes statistics from Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Crawford, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Venango, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

John Heller / AP

 

The man who once served as Allegheny County's first elected executive is stepping down as chairman of the county Republican committee.

Eighty-three-year-old James Roddey announced his resignation at the party's Spirit of Lincoln Dinner on Monday night.

Roddey says the county party raised $1.3 million under his leadership and that the Pittsburgh-based county now has more Republicans than any other county in the state.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County is looking for development options for more than 150 acres of brownfield space surrounding a former steel yard in Rankin.

Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

Allegheny County can no longer hold individuals based on solely on their suspected illegal immigration status, according to a settlement reached Wednesday with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

zoetnet / flickr

Over the last several years, Pittsburgh has taken many steps towards becoming a greener city. 

And that effort continued Friday in Troy Hill when TreeVitalize Pittsburgh planted its 25,000th tree in the region.

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's budget impasse has now been going for about two and a half months, and it's starting to impact some of the state's most vulnerable residents.

Allegheny County’s Human Services Department’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA) said this is coming at a time when demand for services is rising. 

AAA has a proposed budget of $51 million, but that depends on state lawmakers and the governor resolving their budget dispute.

Many common chemicals cannot be disposed of in traditional ways, and for that reason, the Pennsylvania Resources Council is hosting a drive-thru chemical collection from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the South Park Wave Pool parking lot on Saturday.

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