Identity & Justice

The identity and justice desk explores how the makeup of the Pittsburgh community is changing, and digs into issues of diversity and equity.

Pittsburgh leaders are following up on the success of two miniature water parks, known as "spray parks," by building more of the facilities to open in three city neighborhoods this summer.

After the Act 47 state financial oversight team found that the city was spending too much money on swimming pools in 2004, Pittsburgh was forced to close 13 pools. One of those reopened a few years later thanks to a nonprofit organization, but the others remained unused for years.

Deanna Garcia/90.5 WESA News

As people trickled in and out of the U.S. Post Office in Squirrel Hill to mail in their taxes Monday, a small group of protesters stood outside to speak out against how the federal government spends tax dollars.

In particular, they said too much is spent on the military.

“We feel that by reducing the military budget, we could afford to put more money into healthcare, housing, mass transit, infrastructure, all those things,” said Eva Havlicsek, a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Photo provided by the Allegheny County Jail

Fourteen years after a Vincentian Academy coach and teacher was forced to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct with basketball players, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is questioning former athletes who played for him.

David Scott Zimmerman, 46, of O’Hara is the subject of the investigation, according to one of his former athletes. He said a state investigator contacted him to verify his story.

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch

Apr 13, 2013

Each weekend, 90.5 WESA Weekend Edition host Noah Brode previews some interesting events going on in the Pittsburgh Area.

"There's this huge disconnect where both sides need each other, but we've got to find a way to get there," said US Attorney for Western PA David Hickton about the need to improve relations between residents and law enforcement.

Closing Pennsylvania's Gun Loophole

Apr 11, 2013
Don Shall / Flickr

As talks about gun legislation continue in the U.S. Senate, groups have descended on the state capitol in Harrisburg urging legislators to close a loophole in Pennsylvania's gun laws. State Reps. Steve Santarsiero and Dan Frankel join us to talk about balancing Second Amendment rights with public safety.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Several dozen Rivers Casino workers, elected officials, union representatives and clergy members gathered on the North Shore Thursday to call on the casino management to allow employees to organize.

“We’re worried about some of the backlash, but at the same time we feel protected – we have a lot of community support," said Lisa Washington, a server at the casino’s Grandview Buffet. "We have a lot of support from our congressmen. We know we’re in for a long fight, but we’re ready.”

On Saturday morning, construction will begin on a new playground in Homewood.

That same afternoon, according to KaBOOM! spokesman Mike Vietti, the playground will be ready to use.

“We’re going to start off with a kickoff ceremony at about 8:30 in the morning, and then by 2:30 in the afternoon, we’re going to wrap things up in time for a ribbon cutting ceremony,” he said. “So, start to finish, all in the span of about six or seven hours.”

KaBOOM! is a nonprofit that builds playgrounds for kids who don’t have easy access to them.

Pittsburgh police say an officer is in surgery after being shot in the shoulder while pursuing a suspect, who was also shot by police.

A police spokeswoman, Officer Diane Richard, says the officer is expected to recover.

Investigators say the shooting happened around 1:30 a.m. Thursday in the city's Homewood section when two officers on patrol when saw a car speed by.

CharlieBatch.com

Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch talks about winning the Byron "Whizzer" White Award, an honor given by the NFL Players Association for his work in the community and lending more than just his name to the foundations he works with. Batch started his Best of the Batch Foundation 12 years ago, fulfilling a promise he made after his younger sister, Danyl Settles was shot and killed in the crossfire between rival gangs in their Homewood neighborhood.  

A federal grand jury has indicted a Clarion County man on charges of interstate transportation of a minor for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual activity.

U.S. Attorney for Western PA David Hickton said 31-year-old Joshua D. Baker of Leeper is also charged with travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a 13-year-old female. The indictment followed an investigation by the FBI and Clarion County authorities.

Photo courtesy of Mike Hare

Through all the chaos and sorrow that swept through Joplin, Mo., after a devastating tornado in 2011, one man stood out.

David Scott Zimmerman of O’Hara near Pittsburgh consoled teens on Facebook, shipped T-shirts to boys who needed clothing, and prodded a family to form a youth group in honor of their son, who died in the storm.

“He put himself out there for us,” said Shannon Hare, whose stepson, Lantz Hare, 16, was killed in the tornado. “We trusted him.”

Michael and Shannon Hare started the youth group, and Zimmerman helped.

Pittsburghers Rally for Equal Pay for Women

Apr 9, 2013
Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

During the lunch hour Tuesday, a crowd gathered at Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh to mark Equal Payday. It’s a day on which rallies are held across the country to bring attention to the fact that women still make less money than men.

State Child Protection Website

Audio Pending...

Last summer, our content partner Public Source investigated allegations of sexual abuse against a former high school English teacher and coach, David Scott Zimmerman. The story brought up questions of how abusive behavior goes unreported in schools. Now, with a package of 16 bills on child abuse in the legislature and the results of a statewide task force on child protection, we take a look at the latest with the Zimmerman case and talk about ways to recognize the warning signs of potential sexual abuse. How do you teach your kids to speak up on questionable behaviors? And what questions should parents be asking before they let another adult spend time with their child? Joining us for the discussion, Public Source investigative reporter Bill Heltzel  and Dr. Rachel Berger, a Pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and member of the statewide task force on child abuse.

90.5 WESA's Weekend Edition host Noah Brode takes a closer look at some interesting events going on in the Pittsburgh area this weekend:

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

It’s often said Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods. There are the bustling neighborhoods of Oakland and Squirrel Hill, the struggling neighborhood of Homewood, and the transitioning neighborhoods in between. Then there’s a shadow neighborhood. Some people call it the Golden Triangle, some call it the business district, and others call it home.

“It’s not just a thoroughfare for the buses, or somewhere where you go to your office from 9 to five, but I actually live here and love it a lot,” said Gina Mucciolo.

Photo courtesy of PWSA

You know it's winter in Pittsburgh when your car is getting beat up by pot-holes, the streets are chalky with salt, and water main breaks proliferate. But what exactly is going on below the pavement?

Clogged pipes, flooded basements and sheets of ice on roadways are some of the visible signs of water main breaks. But many leaks and breaks go undetected - including sewer line breaks which filter through the soil and along side the pipes for months or years.

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