Local Headlines

Important stories from the Pittsburgh region.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist, and host, Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week's topics include the unveiling of Gov. Tom Wolf's 2017-18 budget, political challengers to Mayor Peduto in the May primary and the investigation of cheating and misconduct at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.

Bring Martin Home / Facebook

Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, a Pittsburgh man who received local and national attention for his immigration case, has been deported after eight months in prison.

Esquivel-Hernandez, originally of Mexico, had been held by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement since May 2016. His wife and three children, the youngest of whom is an American citizen, will remain in Pittsburgh.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist, and host, Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week's topics include a discussion about the water issues that required roughly 100,000 city residents to boil their tap water before drinking. We'll get the details on an investigation into mold on linens supplied to UPMC. Also, our Harrisburg reporters will discuss the consolidation of state health agencies and preview Gov. Tom Wolf's state budget address. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Police Chief Scott Schubert isn't acting anymore.

The Brookline resident took over Friday as police chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, pending approval from City Council.

NBC

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

To make the move to its new space, the Animal Rescue League paraded dogs, wagons full of cats and even a snake two blocks down Hamilton Avenue in Homewood Monday.  

Chief Executive Officer Dan Rossi said the old, smaller facility was always over capacity.

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin behind the headlines for an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

State police have announced a manhunt for a suspect charged with assaulting a trooper after a traffic stop on a busy western Pennsylvania highway.

Troopers say 26-year-old Byron Williams, of Pittsburgh, should be considered armed and dangerous.

Police say a trooper stopped a car for a lane-changing violation about 4:30 p.m. Jan. 8 and became concerned when a passenger twice gave a false name and birth date. That man, now known to be Williams, got out of the car, rushed the trooper, and wrestled with him before running into some nearby woods in Frazer Township.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin behind the headlines for an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Matt Nemeth / WESA

  The Confluence – where the news comes together – is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week, reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin for a behind-the-headlines look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week on The Confluence, panelists discuss affordable and accessible housing in Pittsburgh. We mark the launch of The Caucus, a new print newspaper taking an in-depth look at the state government in Harrisburg. And we talk to long-time Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Jack Kelly, whose final column appeared last Sunday.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Snow advisories could spell trouble for commuters on both ends of Pennsylvania.

National Weather Service advisories for Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania predict 1 to 2 inches in and around Pittsburgh, with 3 to 5 inches forecast for counties east and south of the city. A similar advisory is projecting 1 to 3 inches in and around Philadelphia.

But it's the timing of the advisories that could cause trouble.

The western advisory runs from noon Thursday until 7 a.m. Friday with snow possibly snarling the Thursday evening rush hour.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Pennsylvania's most northwestern county could be hit with 14 inches of lake-effect snow by Friday.

The National Weather Service expects 10 to 14 inches of snow to fall in Erie County between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. Friday. The county borders Lake Erie and southwestern New York.

The lake-effect snow advisory says the storm will also carry winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Otis, a 10-foot-long, 450-pound North American alligator rested his head against the cool exterior of his well-heated indoor pen.

It’s where he vacations each winter when it’s too cold to stay outdoors at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Otis summers in a pond inside Kids Kingdom and moving him to the reptile building just behind the elephant exhibit takes up to 12 people and some serious muscle, once they get him inside his crate.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Six-year-old Anaiah Newman and her mother Connie make time to hand out toiletries to children at the Center for Hope in Ambridge. But Anaiah said she felt it was unfair that she had fun bath time supplies at home, while those children got boring grown-up stuff.

“She talked about this for days. So, I said, ‘let’s go to the store,’ and we went to the dollar store and got some stuff,” said Connie. “Made some bags and donated them. She just got addicted to doing them.”

Megan Harris / 90

The Confluence – where the news comes together – is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Sarah E Schneider / WESA

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin. They go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region. 

Notorious 86-Year-Old Jewel Thief Strikes Again

Dec 16, 2016
John Bazemore / AP

 

An 86-year-old jewel thief who has kept jewelry sellers on their toes since the 1970s has struck again, police say - this time by slipping a $2,000 diamond necklace into her pocket.

Joshua Ganderson / Flickr

Power has been restored to a suburban Pittsburgh borough after three transformer explosions left its 3,000 residents without power for more than six hours in frigid temperatures.

Pitcairn is about 15 miles east of Pittsburgh and lost power about 3 a.m. Thursday.

Although Duquesne Light supplies electricity to Pitcairn, a borough-run company distributes it to residents. Duquesne Light restored the power and Pitcairn officials say residents were back in service by about 9:30 a.m.

Google Maps

 

Authorities say a western Pennsylvania businessman has been charged with harboring and transporting people who weren't legally in the country and who worked at his restaurants.

Federal prosecutors said a two-count federal grand jury indictment unsealed Monday names 44-year-old Xing Zheng Lin, also known as Steve Lin.

Authorities allege that from about 2009 until January 2014, the McKees Rocks resident harbored and transported people who weren't legally in the country and who worked at Saga Restaurant in Monroeville, Robinson and Bethel Park.

Don Wright / AP

 

 

An appeals court has cleared the way for refiling of a lawsuit against an engineering firm in the deaths of four people killed in flash flooding in Pittsburgh more than five years ago.

A judge earlier dismissed claims against Chester Engineers Inc., which acted as the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority's consulting engineer and construction manager.

Jill Stein 2016

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist, and host, Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week we’ll address the status of the recount request by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. StateImpact PA reporters join us for a look at gas drilling in the commonwealth. We’ll open a reporter’s notebook to get the story behind the story of the Pittsburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak. We’ll also mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Ephrata Police Department / Facebook

 

A Pennsylvania police department says a black cat was lucky for one of its officers tracking down a fugitive.

The Ephrata Police Department posted on its Facebook page that officers were searching for Jonathan Michael Steffy last month over an outstanding bench warrant.

PA Game Commission

 

A mother bear and three cubs have been found dead in a Pennsylvania church parking lot.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission calls the deaths of the sow and the cubs "highly suspicious" and is seeking information.

Wildlife conservation officers responded Tuesday to a report of dead bears in the parking lot of St. Monica's Church in West Wyoming. They discovered a nearly 300-pound female bear and the cubs.

The bears showed no signs of bullet wounds or external trauma.

Google Maps

 

Police are investigating allegedly Satanic graffiti spray-painted onto a central Pennsylvania church.

The vandalism included the digits "666" and upside-down crosses sprayed on the cupola above the roof of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster County's Manheim Township, about 40 miles southeast of Harrisburg.

The graffiti was discovered Sunday afternoon.

Pastor Michael Rogers said the church has never experienced anything like this. It appeared to be the work of "somebody stupid with something to get out of their system," he said.

Federal Bureau of Prisons

 

Federal prosecutors say an inmate's killing of a guard at a federal prison in Pennsylvania was a calculated slaying that saw the suspect pause to chew a piece of gum he took from the dying man's pocket.

Federal prosecutors detailed the attack in court documents filed Monday, arguing that a jury should see surveillance video showing the 9-minute attack, and 22-minute aftermath in which guard Eric Williams lay dying before other guards arrived.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Police in the Pittsburgh suburbs have charged an Uber driver with indecent assault and harassment for allegedly making unwanted sexual advances toward a female passenger.

Ross Township police are charging 46-year-old Jehad Abdula Makhoul by summons, so online court records don't list an attorney for him.

The woman reported the incident Nov. 22 after she contacted the ride-sharing serving for a ride to a restaurant that evening.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Jenni Broskey is bundled in a black hoodie at the back of a chilly warehouse on Pittsburgh’s North Side. She’s folding and bagging more than 200 newspapers, and she’s about to lose her job.

Salvation Army USA West / Flickr

While a few bell ringers have already hit the streets before Thanksgiving, the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign kicks into high gear Black Friday, as volunteers brave the crowds in an effort to get a jump start on a record-setting fundraising goal.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

 

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed a bill into law that expands the list of firearms permitted for hunting in Pennsylvania to include semi-automatic rifles and handguns.

The new law doesn't make semi-automatic weapons legal for hunting in time for the upcoming firearm deer season, which begins Monday.

Semi-automatic firearms discharge one shot for each pull of the trigger. The next cartridge is automatically pushed into the firing chamber.

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