Local Headlines

Important stories from the Pittsburgh region.

Judge: 5 Other Accusers Can Testify At Bill Cosby's Retrial

Mar 15, 2018
Matt Slocum / AP

A judge agreed Thursday to let five additional Bill Cosby accusers testify at his April 2 sexual assault retrial, giving prosecutors a chance to portray the man once known as "America's Dad" as a serial predator who made a sadistic habit of drugging and molesting women.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

It’s Neighborhood Table night in Sharpsburg, and about 60 people are packed into a former Main Street shop to eat fried chicken, salad and Italian bread. Dozens of Styrofoam dessert plates are waiting on carts in the back room.

Scores of Sharpsburgers, many of them over 50, regularly show up to the free event at the Roots of Faith center for the first three Thursdays of each month. Not only are they given meals, but they’re also offered free services: some nights it’s a medical screening from UPMC St. Margaret; sometimes it’s a legal clinic from local law firms.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Police say a man stole an EMS vehicle parked outside of a Pittsburgh sports arena and crashed into another vehicle.

Records show the paramedic parked outside of PPG Paints Arena around 11:50 p.m. Saturday while responding to an emergency inside the building.

A woman staying at a nearby hotel says she saw a man standing suspiciously near the vehicle and began filming him on her phone. The woman and another person gasp in shock in the video as the man gets into the vehicle and drives away.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

People marched through the streets of downtown Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon, holding signs and chanting slogans in support of paid sick leave.

Allentown Police Department / via AP

A 45-year-old man managed to sign a 16-year-old girl out of her school 10 times in the last few months, and now the two are missing, police said.

Why I'm Addicted To Bird Nestcams (And You Should Be Too)

Mar 8, 2018
Peter Bell

*This story was originally published April 22, 2016. 

Ah, Spring! The time of year when we’re glued to our computers and cell phones watching live webcams pointed at the nests of celebrity birds of prey. We’re totally absorbed as they hatch eggs and raise their downy babies.

Matt Slocum / AP

Pennsylvania utility companies say more than 110,000 customers are without power following the state's second major snowstorm in less than a week.

More than a foot of snow fell in parts of the state Wednesday, causing treacherous travel in some areas. Many schools and businesses remained closed Thursday or were holding delayed openings.

The most outages are reported by Peco, which said about 55,500 customers were without service Thursday morning. About 47,000 of those customers are in the Philadelphia suburb of Bucks County.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Authorities say a small fire believed to be due to contraband prompted a partial evacuation at the Allegheny County Jail and sent a guard to a hospital.

Allegheny County officials said the blaze at the Downtown jail broke out at about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday within a cell and is "believed to have been started by contraband in that cell."

All 80 inmates of the pod were evacuated to another area of the jail and guards had the fire out before Pittsburgh firefighters arrived.

Robert Spencer / AP

Authorities say a train hit a tractor-trailer in western Pennsylvania, spilling the truck's cargo of hydrochloric acid and injuring one person.

Emergency dispatchers in Washington County say one person was airlifted to a hospital after the crash shortly after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Centerville.

Officials said a hazardous materials team was called to the site and roadways in the area were closed. About 15 residents were being evacuated.

Janet Hellner-Burris / Sanctuary Project

On a stormy Thursday in Wilkinsburg, Janet Hellner-Burris stepped out of the rain on Wallace Avenue and into the doors of the Christian Church of Wilkinsburg, where she's served as a pastor since 1990. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania State Police say they're searching the Aliquippa City Building as part of a grand jury investigation.

US Marshals Service / via AP

Authorities say a deputy U.S. marshal shot and killed while serving a warrant in Pennsylvania was struck by a bullet fired through a wall by a fellow officer and not by a gunman who opened fire on police.

Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo said Thursday that conclusion was made after laboratory tests were performed on material related to the Jan. 18 death of Deputy Marshal Christopher Hill.

Chardo says 31-year-old Kevin Sturgis fired the first shot and that police were justified in shooting him to death outside the home in Harrisburg.

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's not actually spring, but Pittsburgh's warm and rainy winter has made it hard to tell. 

Plum Borough School District / Facebook

A Pennsylvania high school teacher acquitted of intimidating a student who accused another teacher of sexual assault is on leave as police investigate a new allegation against him.

Rebecca Weaver / via Pennsylvania Game Commission

Two bald eagles with their talons locked were rescued from a Pennsylvania river.

Pennsylvania Game Commission says in a Wednesday Facebook post a woman and her 11-year-old daughter saw the two mature, male eagles floating along the banks of the Susquehanna River near Bloomsburg and contacted police.

Worshippers Clutching AR-15 Rifles Hold Commitment Ceremony At PA Church

Feb 28, 2018
Jacqueline Larma / AP

Crown-wearing worshipers clutching AR-15 rifles drank holy wine and exchanged or renewed wedding vows in a commitment ceremony at a Pennsylvania church on Wednesday, prompting a nearby school to cancel classes.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A Pennsylvania family has filed a lawsuit against Pittsburgh Steelers football safety Sean Davis, claiming he posted a video on social media mocking their teenage son.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Laura Stuart is standing in the center of a small room practically exploding with color. She’s surrounded by artwork of all shapes and sizes -- from painted windows and furniture to decorated mannequins and vibrant beaded bracelets and necklaces.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh area has broken a monthly rainfall record that dates back to the 19th century.

The National Weather Service said Sunday that the 6.68 inches of rainfall during February at Pittsburgh International Airport breaks the old monthly record of 6.52 inches "set all the way back in 1887."

Allegheny County officials said Sunday that river levels were expected to rise throughout the day, but forecasts for river crests were lowered. Flood watches remained in effect and an approaching cold front is expected to bring high winds.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A landslide in a Pittsburgh neighborhood has destroyed a house, forced the closure of a road and knocked out electricity to adjacent neighborhoods.

The city says the landslide in the Duquesne Heights neighborhood worsened Sunday afternoon, pouring over a retaining wall and closing a section of roadway.

Officials say a house that was evacuated Friday evening "is now destroyed." The city says the owners were able to retrieve some essential belongings on Saturday.

Marc Levy / AP

Republican Gov. Phil Scott's administration said it's taking steps to remove Vermont inmates from a public prison in Pennsylvania where two inmates have died since October.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A flood warning is in place in Pittsburgh through Sunday due to predicted heavy rainfall, and residents can expect the flooding to be similar to what happened last weekend.

Pennsylvania Church To Bless Couples Toting AR-15 Rifles

Feb 21, 2018
Lisa Marie Pane / AP

A Pennsylvania-based offshoot of the Unification Church is encouraging couples to bring their AR-15 rifles with them to a commitment ceremony in the Pocono Mountains, a half-mile from an elementary school.

World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland said it planned the Feb. 28 ceremony months ago, well before last week's massacre at a Florida high school. Authorities say the alleged gunman used an AR-15 in the attack that killed 17.

Jon Dawson / flickr.com

Weather officials say the tornado that touched down in western Pennsylvania on Thursday was an EF-1 packing wind gusts up to 105 mph.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump is postponing a campaign rally next week in the Pittsburgh area, the early political hotspot of 2018's congressional elections.

Former CEO Indicted In Mega-Mansion Tax Fraud Scheme

Feb 14, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

A former Pennsylvania health services company executive accused of claiming his luxury cars and 39,000-square-foot mansion as business expenses has been charged with tax fraud, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Joseph Nocito Sr. listed the millions of dollars it cost to build a mega-mansion near Pittsburgh he called "Villa Noci," as well as payments for a personal butler and a Jaguar, Maserati and Rolls Royce as corporate business expenses, authorities said.

Allegheny County Jail / AP

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty if a man is convicted of first-degree murder in a Pittsburgh fire that killed two women and a 4-year-old child last year.

Forty-one-year-old Martell Smith is charged with homicide and arson in the deaths of 58-year-old Sandra Douglas, 21-year-old Shamira Staten and her daughter Chy'enne Manning.

Authorities allege that Smith set the fire Dec. 20 after a bar fight with a relative of theirs. Police allege that he said "Yep, I did it" as he watched the house burn.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Authorities have released the name of a man shot by a Pittsburgh police officer after officials allege he and another officer were fired upon over the weekend.

Allegheny County police said two Pittsburgh officers on foot patrol in the Homewood neighborhood shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday were fired upon by a man who emerged from behind a building. An officer returned fire then and when they found the suspect again.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

With long hair and a big handlebar mustache, Tom Walker is recognizable --and everyone in Millvale seems to know him.

He’s also busy in the community. Walker is a "semi-retired" graphic designer, he’s on the board of directors for the Millvale Community Development Corporation and he’s an avid kayaker and backpacker.

Walker is also known as “The Garlic King of Millvale.”

Local Thrift Shops Deal With Unwanted Junk

Feb 12, 2018
Dan Gill / AP

Old tires. Dirty mattresses. Broken televisions.

Those are some of the unwanted items people have dumped at local nonprofit thrift stores.

The problem: Thrift stores, which raise money to help people in need by selling donated items, end up spending time and money to dispose of the unusable junk.

"It happens all the time," said Janet Ammons, manager of Goodwill in Washington. "We have generous people who donate very nice items with price tags still on, and then there are other people who leave garbage. Literally."