Local Headlines

Important stories from the Pittsburgh region.

Riccardo De Luca / AP

 A Roman Catholic diocese has appointed a five-member board to oversee its handling of child-sex abuse allegations against clergy as part of an agreement with the federal prosecutor who oversees western Pennsylvania.

Always Shooting / Flickr

The 42-story Cathedral of Learning has reopened on the University of Pittsburgh campus after a sprinkler problem flooded the building.

Classes and other activities were canceled Monday after the malfunction caused water to run across the floors, into the hallways and down the stairs of the iconic structure.

University officials were still assessing the damage but say the 30 Nationality Rooms in the building were not damaged beyond water on their floors. The rooms each have a unique architectural design and contain artifacts of the various cultures represented.

Allegheny County Airport Authority

The Pittsburgh International Airport is about to have a major makeover. Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said the Pittsburgh region is "a growing, tech-focused economy" and its airport should better reflect that. The renovations are expected to cost $1.1 billion

hhm8 / Flickr

City leaders in McKeesport traced $1.4 million in unpaid taxes to a company that did business there over multiple years.

A tax collection audit firm discovered the loss, but declined to name the company responsible. In a statement Wednesday, Philadelphia-based eCollect Plus said the company is publicly traded and not local.

A partner at eCollect Plus, Michael Hill, said “a multitude” of other companies also owe unpaid taxes to McKeesport. It’s common for municipal tax revenues to go missing, usually due to inadvertent errors in tax reporting, according to Hill.

zeevveez / Flickr

Gnats!

The Philadelphia police department and other agencies in the suburbs were kept busy with calls reporting swarms of gnats which, experts say, are actually flying ants.

The reports Monday are a result of the insects mating, a one-day, once-a-year occurrence.

The swarms were reported in Philadelphia and up the Lehigh Valley into Bethlehem, as well as Bucks and Montgomery counties and other areas. Similar clouds of insects were reported in Michigan and Connecticut.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Tom Wolf were among those at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville Monday to the people who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

bioLINIA and Paul Murdoch Architects / AP

The 16th anniversary of United Flight 93's crash into a Pennsylvania field during the 9/11 terrorist attacks will mark the beginning of the end of a $46 million effort to transform the rural Pennsylvania crash site into a national memorial park.

Ground was broken Sunday on the final element of the Flight 93 National Memorial — a 93-foot tall Tower of Voices. 

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Almost 30 years ago, a business on Baum Boulevard bought and demolished a house in the little residential neighborhood of Friendship to make way for an extra parking lot. That demolition became a catalyst for the placid East End community.

“The neighborhood was so upset about this commercial encroachment that they banded together and were successful in keeping the zoning residential," said Friendship resident Diana Ames.

Mike Stewart / AP

Pennsylvania's top law-enforcement officer says his office is investigating the massive data breach targeting the credit monitoring company Equifax.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Friday that it is unclear how many Pennsylvanians were affected.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Congress is back in session, and they have less than two weeks of legislative days to solve a slew of problems. By the end of the month, Congress needs to: 

Gerben Van Es / Dutch Defense Ministry via AP

Pennsylvanians with specialized skills are headed to help out with the destruction expected from Hurricane Irma.

Officials said 39 members of an urban search and rescue task force departed from Philadelphia on Wednesday for a staging area in Mobile, Alabama.

They'll meet up with other members of the group who have been working in Texas in response to Hurricane Harvey.

It's unclear how long they'll be deployed for Hurricane Irma.

Charles Dharapak / AP

Republican Rep. Tim Murphy is confirming he had an extramarital affair with a personal friend, a relationship that became public as part of another couple's divorce proceedings.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

When Dave Carver, pastor at the First United Presbyterian Church in Crafton Heights, first came to the church 35 years ago, he immediately noticed something.

“The neighborhood was filled with children and teenagers and there was not any programming, ” Carver remembered.

So, he decided to do something about it.

He started a street hockey league in 1983 that revealed lots of enthusiasm for youth recreation in the area, and in 1987, he took the next step by starting an organization called The Open Door.

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's been a busy week for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. A consultant found PWSA to be “a failed organization atop a dangerous and crumbling structure” in an initial assessment presented Monday. Hours later, the authority issued a flush-and-boil water order for 18,000 homes across the North Side, Millvale and Reserve Township related to holes in the cover on top of a water reservoir in Shaler Township.

Jeff White / AP

Two Penn State professors have received $300,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop technology that will enable digital devices to weed out fake news.

The university says information sciences and technology professor Dongwon Lee and communications professor S. Shyam Sundar are working on the project.

Lee says fake news "has been around for decades" but has been "exacerbated" on the internet and social media platforms.

Daniel / Flickr

A small-town Pennsylvania police chief is drawing fire for an internal memo telling his officers to stop making so many traffic stops because of too many resident complaints.

Midland police Chief Keith McCarthy still wants his officers to stop suspected drunken drivers and others suspected of more serious offenses, but asked them to "stop traffic stops significantly." He warned officers who don't will be scheduled for fewer hours.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Despite reports of improvement in recent days, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium officials said Wednesday morning that the facility’s baby elephant has been euthanized.

“Our hearts are broken, it’s just devastating,” said Pittsburgh Zoo president and CEO Barbara Baker in a press release. “She touched so many people in such a short time. We did everything we possibly could to care for her, but unfortunately in the end, it just wasn’t enough.”

David J. Phillip / AP

Six airmen skilled in securing and re-establishing cellphone and satellite communications are on their way to help with Tropical Storm Harvey recovery in the Houston area.

The Wolf administration said Tuesday the members of the 193rd Special Operations Wing departed on a C-130 transport plane for Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.

They're based at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

Officials say they don't know how long the team will be helping out in Texas after being activated by the National Guard Bureau.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority issued a precautionary flush and boil advisory Monday night for city neighborhoods north of the Allegheny River, as well as Millvale and Reserve Township.

David J. Phillip / AP

Volunteers and rescue workers from the Pittsburgh area are making their way south to help flood victims in Texas.

Courtesy of Rochel Tombosky

Rochel Tombosky was born in California, but she and her parents moved to Squirrel Hill to become a part of the Jewish community there.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Officials at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium say a baby elephant's appetite is improving following insertion of a feeding tube to help it gain much-needed weight.

Zoo spokesperson Tracy Gray said the still-unnamed female calf is taking in more food through the tube "and she's also taking more bottles."

On Saturday, the zoo posted on a blog devoted to the elephant that the baby had taken a short walk "and we're beginning to see her feisty personality return."

Mary Altaffer / AP

A former Pennsylvania police officer who was found unconscious of an apparent overdose at the station has been charged with stealing drugs seized as evidence and hammering a hole in the wall of the secured evidence room.

Former Johnstown officer William Slisz was arraigned Thursday on charges including burglary and evidence tampering.

State police say Slisz began stealing heroin from a temporary evidence locker in 2015 and later stole from the secure room. They say he then lost access to the room and crawled through the ceiling into a colleague's office to get the key.

AP

Last weekend, during a protest near Pittsburgh’s Bakery Square, several people online questioned the legality of a man openly carrying a rifle on a public city corner. According to Pennsylvania firearms laws, however, it’s perfectly legal.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Pittsburgh isn’t the worst place for bed bugs in the U.S., but it did make a list of the country’s top offenders, according to Terminix.

The extermination company released a list of the top cities for bed bugs based on the volume of service requests for the first half of the year.

Pittsburgh ranked No. 12, just below Philadelphia, which ranked No. 10 on the list. However, you don't have to travel far to find the worst city for bed bugs: Cleveland, Ohio.

Jared Wickerham / AP

The National Park Service has restored a family cemetery that just happens to lie within the Flight 93 National Memorial, which honors those killed on the hijacked airliner that crashed in western Pennsylvania during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The cemetery belongs to the Sorber family, who buried relatives there from 1856 to 1892.

The park service says it has straightened headstones, landscaped and cleaned up the small cemetery, and fenced it in. The park service will offer tours of the fixed up cemetery on Tuesday.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

UPDATE: Pittsburgh Zoo officials said Friday that the elephant calf is doing well after surgery and was moving around. She is currently using a feeding tube to get one pint of formula and officials said her GI tract was functioning normally. She is also taking a bottle of milk from Nan, a lactating elephant also at the zoo.

Earlier Version:  

Pittsburgh Zoo officials announced Wednesday that the facility’s baby elephant's health is flagging, and that the next 24 to 48 hours will be critical.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Jill Evans grew up in Beltzhoover. She remembers a community where neighbors looked out for each other.

Drew Wilburne / Department of Aging

The oldest known living person in the United States is celebrating her 114th birthday in Pennsylvania.

The state Aging Department says Delphine Gibson hit the milestone Thursday, getting a personal greeting from the governor.

Matt Rourke / AP

The Confederate monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park will not be removed from the battlefield, according to officials with the National Park Service.

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