Local Headlines

Important stories from the Pittsburgh region.

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."

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Many schools have delayed opening after a blast of snow moved through western Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Public Schools is operating on a 2-hour delay Monday morning. 

Several inches of snow covered roads and slowed motorists in the Pittsburgh area Monday.

Penn State Trainer Who Testified In Frat Death Case Quits

Feb 9, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penn State said Friday its head football trainer is resigning, a year after he was inside a fraternity house when a pledge suffered fatal injuries during a night of drinking and hazing.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Friday marks two big events: National Pizza Day and the deadline for the state legislature to create a new congressional map and submit it to the governor. (However, lawmakers said Thursday they would not be able to meet the Friday deadline.) 

Matt Rourke / AP

Bill Cosby's lawyers say they'll need to postpone his April 2 sexual assault retrial if some of his other accusers are allowed to testify.

The comedian's lawyers said in a court filing Tuesday that they'll seek a delay to allow them more time to investigate allegations from the 19 women prosecutors are seeking to call as witnesses.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburgh is expected to get as much as 5 inches of snow overnight and into Wednesday morning's commute – and the city says it's prepared.

Matt Slocum / AP

A Roman Catholic bishop has issued some guidelines on how his 78 parishes in four southwestern Pennsylvania counties should deal with flu and the Mass.

Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic on Wednesday encouraged parish leaders to promote prudent and beneficial practices.

Priests should eliminate the practice of exchanging the sign of peace, or tell parishioners to do so without making physical contact. Communion should not be distributed from the chalice and if using a chalice, parishioners who are ill or fear they are becoming ill should not receive it.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Pennsylvania State Police are asking for donated horses to join a Hershey-based mounted patrol unit.

The agency on Wednesday issued a call for geldings between 5 and 15 years old. Officials say draft horses or draft-crosses are preferable.

The 26-horse unit performs searches, crowd control, security and patrols, as well as participates in parades and similar events.

Horses have to be at least 16 hands tall, which is 5 feet 4 inches at the shoulder, and can't be 18 hands or larger.

They must be able to be safely housed with others horses in a stable.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Snow is falling across Pennsylvania and that's causing some schools to delay opening or close for the day.

Motorists are asked to urge caution, especially on roads that have not been treated.

Temperatures in the western part of the state remain below freezing. Elsewhere, snow is mostly sticking on the grass and untreated surfaces because temperatures are at or above freezing.

The snow is expected to taper off from west to east on Tuesday.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Police on Monday were focusing on phone records to try to piece together how a group of friends wound up at a Pennsylvania self-serve car wash, where a gunman lying in wait in the early morning hours killed four of them and injured one who managed to hide.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Steven "Stevo" Sadvary is scoring and cutting glass in his Squirrel Hill studio, his sheepdog sitting by his side.

It's a unique place -- an otherwise unused level of a parking garage where several artists have set up work spaces. Panels and shards of brightly-colored glass are packed onto shelves lining the wall, and mosaics of all kinds hang on the walls and rest on tables. It's mostly Sadvary's own work, but occasionally one of his students' pieces. 

Victims' Families: Jealousy Drove Car Wash Shooting Suspect

Jan 29, 2018
Cayleigh Myers / via AP

  A man suspected of gunning down four people at a Pennsylvania car wash was driven by jealousy, according to family members of the shooting victims.

State police said Timothy Smith, 28, was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a .308-caliber rifle and a handgun and was wearing a body armor carrier without the ballistic panels inserted when he opened fire early Sunday morning at Ed's Car Wash in Saltlick Township, a rural town about 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

State police say at least five people were killed in a shooting at a Pennsylvania car wash.

WPXI-TV reports the shooting occurred around 2:45 a.m. Sunday in Melcroft.

Melcroft is about 55 miles (89 kilometers) southeast of Pittsburgh

The victims were identified only as three men and two women. At least one other person was wounded and was taken to a hospital, but further details on that person's condition were not immediately released.

uhs.uasdschools.org / Uniontown Area School District

A 14-year-old boy was arrested and weapons including a semi-automatic rifle and throwing knives were seized from his home after an alleged threat to shoot other students at Uniontown Area High School, authorities said Friday.

State police in Fayette County said the weapons were found in the teenager's bedroom Thursday night in Henry Clay Township after authorities learned of the threat allegedly made on a school bus against four Uniontown Area High School students.

Giving Military Families A Hand-Up With MilitaryShare

Jan 27, 2018
Michael Rubinkam / AP

It is drilled into soldiers to care for others before yourself. To be self-sufficient.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A 14-year-old boy was arrested and weapons including a semi-automatic rifle and throwing knives were seized from his home after an alleged threat to shoot other students at a western Pennsylvania high school, authorities said Friday.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a Pennsylvania man accused of killing a police officer and then leading law enforcement on a four-day manhunt with the help of his mother.

The Westmoreland County district attorney's office has filed a notice of intent to seek capital punishment if 29-year-old Rahmael Holt is convicted of first-degree murder.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

UPDATED: This story was updated at 4:38 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. 

A man who pleaded guilty to stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard at his suburban Pittsburgh high school will spend at least 23 years in prison with a maximum of six decades.

A judge sentenced 20-year-old Alex Hribal to 23.5 to 60 years in prison and ordered him to pay more than $269,000 in restitution.

Tony Webster / Flickr

A letter containing what investigators are calling a "biohazard" has been sent to a Pennsylvania police barracks and has sickened three employees.

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