Local Headlines

Important stories from the Pittsburgh region.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Plea negotiations are occurring in the case of a now-20-year-old charged with stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard at his suburban Pittsburgh high school, attorneys said.

"I think there is a good chance it will be resolved before trial," defense attorney Patrick Thomassey told the Tribune-Review on Wednesday.

Thomassey was referring to 21 counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault, plus a weapons charge, pending against Alex Hribal.

Courtesy of Ted Zellers

Basement toilets are a pervasive feature of Pittsburgh homes -- so much so that one local photographer set out to document them.

And although local lore suggests they were first installed so that mill workers and miners could clean up before entering the main part of the house, multiple local experts said they couldn't verify that, and most declined to weigh in on how these mysterious home features came to be.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

In the early 2000s, a pair of new college graduates lived in Highland Park, just across the street from a crumbling old church. It hadn't been used recently, and the arts grads dreamed of buying the property and turning it into a community asset where artists and the arts could flourish.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It's been more than two weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico—knocking out the power grid, leaving people homeless and hospitals with dwindling supplies. Despite President Donald Trump's comments contrasting the storm to a "real catastrophe like [Hurricane] Katrina," many in Pittsburgh are eager to respond to the island's needs.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

A female college student stood in a room at UPMC Presbyterian hospital Thursday morning, laughing as another student tended to her gunshot wounds -- one on either side of her belly button.

Nearly 500,000 pounds of hurricane relief supplies were collected for Puerto Rico during a two-day drive at PNC Park earlier this week. The Pittsburgh Pirates organized the effort in part to honor legendary Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who was born on the island and dedicated his life to humanitarian efforts.

Dave Huh / Dewberry via AP

A church is inviting members to come pray for the family of a Pennsylvania man killed in Sunday's mass shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas.

John Locher / AP

An engineer from south central Pennsylvania is among those killed in Sunday night's mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas.

Shippensburg Police said in a Facebook post Tuesday that Bill Wolfe Jr. was one of the 59 people killed when a man opened fire on the crowded concert grounds from an upper floor of a nearby casino hotel.

Niven Sabherwal / 90.5 WESA

Ten goats and a donkey that were helping to clear vines and weeds in a Pittsburgh park were quickly corralled after they got loose from their enclosure.

An Allegheny County 911 supervisor tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the animals were reported loose in the city's Brighton Heights neighborhood early Tuesday. They were rounded up, and no damage to any property was reported.

Bryan Cox / AP

Federal immigration officials say 107 people were arrested in Philadelphia as part of a nationwide sweep focusing on what they called "sanctuary" jurisdictions, which limit local authorities' cooperation in immigration investigations.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Pittsburgh sports teams are at the center of the debate over protests during the national anthem. Last Sunday, as football teams across the country kneeled or raised a fist in protest, the Steelers waited off field while the national anthem was played in Chicago.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is considering a temporary moratorium to prohibit all water shutoffs this winter for residential customers who don’t pay their water bills.

 

The moratorium, which would last from December through March, is meant to help customers who rely on radiators to heat their homes, but cannot afford the cost of water.

Maria Scapellato / 90.5 WESA

The Lantern Building on Liberty Avenue downtown could soon become a new police substation.

Oscar Sosa / AP

At least nine coal cars have derailed in McKeesport, Pa., downing some live electrical wires.

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Pittsburgh's museum honoring Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente is collecting supplies and money to benefit hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the Clemente Museum is working with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Restaurant Depot for the relief effort. The museum will host an open house on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Brian Oswald is pretty familiar with the steps of the South Side Slopes.

Matt Rourke / AP

The widow of a Pennsylvania state trooper has sued the parents of a man convicted in her late husband's killing.

Fred Vuich / AP

Federal prosecutors have taken over the case of a National Guardsman who allegedly threatened Vice President Mike Pence before his visit to Pennsylvania for the annual observance of the Flight 93 crash on Sept. 11.

State prosecutors have dropped terroristic threat and disorderly conduct charges now that prosecutors in Johnstown have charged 22-year-old William Robert Dunbar with threats against the vice president. The charge against the Berlin man carries up to five years in prison.

Matt Rourke / AP

The Pennsylvania budget crisis continues. Governor Tom Wolf said there will be no cuts or delays in state services if lawmakers can reach an agreement on how to fund the $32 billion budget by October 1st. That means the legislature has nine days to come up with more than $2.2 billion. And now, complicating the conversation, a credit rating agency downgraded Pennsylvania's credit rating.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED: Sept. 22, 2017 at 2:54 p.m.

 

The lawyer for the Ohio man who was beaten by a Pittsburgh police officer outside PPG Paints Arena late Tuesday night declined to say whether his client, Daniel Adelman will sue for excessive use of force. A bystander caught the confrontation in a video that has been widely shared on social media.

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: 

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