B.E. Taylor, a musician whose annual Christmas concerts and recordings made him well known in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is dead of complications from brain cancer at age 65.

The general manager of a funeral home where Taylor lived in Wheeling, West Virginia, confirmed that he died Sunday. Funeral arrangements will be private.

The Aliquippa native's series of popular Christmas recordings began in 1991 and led to seasonal shows that drew thousands.

A family spokesman says he was working on "B.E. Taylor Christmas 4" at the time of his death.

Bert Kaufmann / Flickr

Drivers hitting the road this holiday season will be far from alone. 

The American Automobile Association estimates there will be a record-breaking 100.5 million Americans traveling this season.

Of those travelers, 91.3 million will be driving. That's  a 1.4 percent increase from last year. According to AAA, holiday travel has been trending upward for seven consecutive years.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Living Treasures Wild Animal Park Zookeeper Amanda Salle on everyone's new favorite reindeer, Sven.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Cameron Avrigean on the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company's most memorable holiday shopper.

Ah, the holiday season: Glad tidings. Comfort. Joy. Pranks.

Say what?

For some earlier Americans, Christmas was the yearly open season for playing practical jokes on other people — filching wagon wheels, turning road signs the wrong way, lighting firecrackers to scare animals. A sort of cold weather April Fools' Day, perhaps to make the midwinter less bleak.

Some of the gags were benign; others brutal. In any case, the tradition of holiday high jinks goes back, way back before the founding of the country. Here are the 12 Pranks of Christmas:

Orthodox Churches Prepare for Christmas

Jan 5, 2015

Just as the holiday festivities begin winding down for many Christians, Saint Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Monroeville is putting up trees and preparing Christmas hymns. Southwestern Pennsylvania is home to dozens of orthodox parishes including Saint Nicholas, many of which follow a different liturgical calendar that places Christmas on January 7th.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Christopher Nicholas Claus — his legal name — has been coming to the Mall at Robinson every Christmas since it opened fourteen years ago.

He’s not so different from the thousands of other Santas who flock to malls across America this time of year: He’s got a naturally white beard, a jolly laugh and loves kids. There’s one thing that makes this Santa unique, however.

Marcus Charleston / WESA

Gingerbread houses are part of what makes Christmas delicious and special, and this year the gingerbread game has been stepped up at the Grand Concourse with a tiny Pittsburgh village.

The display features the Duquesne Incline, the Smithfield Bridge, Heinz Field, the three rivers and many more miniature replicas.

“We wanted to do something different this year, and actually started planning it way back in January, after last year’s holidays, and [we] just started planning it out and about three months ago to really work on it and build it,” said Grand Concourse General Manager Milo Boering.

Executive Chef, Loren Halperin says they must have used about 50-60lbs. of gingerbread dough. Then after baking the dough in September the chefs had to let it completely dry out, which took about a month. Then in early November they began construction.

Planning for the Holidays with Elaine Labalme

Oct 2, 2014
Flickr user Dale Beckett

While you may not want to think about it, the holidays will soon be upon us. If you’re thinking of getting away, now is the time to book your holiday travel plans. Contributor Elaine Labalme who tweets about food and travel under the twitter handle New Girl in Town, joins us to offer some pre-Thanksgiving and Christmas travel tips.

According to Labalme, if you’re planning to travel this holiday season, it’s important to plan and book early. People who are looking for snow should keep in mind that large ski resorts tend to get busy, so a smaller ski resort may be a better choice. The key to enjoying a holiday vacation, Labalme notes, is being grateful to get away.

Christmas Trees Lit at the State Capitol

Dec 6, 2013
Mary Wilson / 90.5 WESA

The Christmas trees at the state Capitol have been lit and will be on display until early January.               

First Lady Susan Corbett and members of the Pennsylvania National Guard pressed the button to turn on 800 energy-saving lights, but the cue came from two kids standing on either side of Governor Corbett.

"For the next few weeks in the month of December, hopefully we will act a little kinder towards each other, a little gentler towards each other, and, obviously, hopefully a little more generous towards one another," the governor said.

Guaraldi / Wikipedia

A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas are holiday television staples.

They are aired every single year despite being filmed several decades ago. So why do they still endure?


Heading out to Indiana (the Christmas tree Capitol of the World) to buy your tree this year? Need help finding one that’s right for your family? The new Doug Fir Christmas Tree Guide app is designed steer you toward the right one while also learning about biology of many tree species along with some trivia.

Christopher Hardy, a biology professor at Millersville University, created the app to help him better learn the history of many species of Christmas tree and what some were previously used for.