Local Headlines

Important stories from the Pittsburgh region.

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.

Officials Piece Together Chaotic Events After Officer Killed In Harrisburg

Jan 19, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

Investigators are working to piece together the chaotic sequence of events that led to a deputy U.S. marshal being shot to death while serving an arrest warrant in Pennsylvania's capital city, while colleagues are remembering him as the "cream of the crop."

Matt Rourke / AP

Prosecutors preparing for Bill Cosby's retrial on sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania want to call 19 other accusers to try to show a pattern of "prior bad acts" over five decades.

US Marshal Killed While Serving Warrant, Suspect Also Killed

Jan 18, 2018
Brett Sholtis / WITF

The name of the Deputy U.S. Marshal killed in the line of duty this morning in Harrisburg has been released.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Parts of Pennsylvania are dealing with light snow, while others face a bitter cold day.

Some schools in the central and eastern portions of the state have closed or delayed opening Wednesday because of the snow. Motorists are advised to slow down while road crews work to clear highways.

The Poconos face the greatest accumulations.

According to the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, the city shouldn’t be seeing any more snow from this storm. However, bitter cold will remain, partially because of the snow pack on the ground.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

When Caitlin Venczel moved to Bellevue with her family in 2014, she didn’t like going outside. At that point, the Shenango Coke Works was still in operation just down the Ohio River on Neville Island.

“There was a smell in the air," Venczel said. "When we would go outside to play, we’d bring our daughter outside and we could smell it. It made me so nervous, I’d bring her right back inside.

"I felt stuck in my house.”

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

In a statement released Tuesday, Mayor Bill Peduto said the city needs a better strategy to address snow and ice on Pittsburgh streets.

Jessica Spengler / flickr

Hearst Magazines plans to lay off 145 employees at the Pennsylvania publisher that owns Men's Health and Runner's World.

Matt Rourke / AP

Jurors couldn't agree the first time around whether to accept a woman's story that she was sexually assaulted over a decade ago by Bill Cosby.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Two men are suing Pennsylvania's governor and Transportation Department officials to challenge a state law that suspends driver's licenses for even the most minor drug convictions.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Eight guards were taken to a hospital after they were sickened while searching cells at the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh.

The search was being done in the jail's E Pod on Tuesday.

In a statement, chief deputy warden David Zetwo said several of the guards "began sweating and experiencing elevated heart rates." Zetwo says officials are investigating what may have caused the symptoms.

The guards were evaluated and released from the hospital.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

First there was the snow. Then it was biting cold. Now snow and freezing rain are moving across Pennsylvania.

The precipitation has started in the western part of the state and motorists around Pennsylvania could face slick driving conditions throughout Monday as the storm moves east.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

East Coast residents are bracing for a deep freeze a day after a massive winter storm slammed the region with heavy snow, hurricane-force winds and coastal flooding.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture / AP

The Pennsylvania Farm Show opens this weekend and after months of planning, its centerpiece has been revealed — a sculpture made from 1,200 pounds of butter.

Matt Slocum / AP

Snow and bitter cold are sweeping across parts of Pennsylvania, making travel difficult.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike has lowered speed limits in the southeast to 45 mph from the Morgantown Exit 298 east to the New Jersey line and on the Northeast Extension up to the Lansdale exit.

A winter storm warning rremains until 7 p.m. Thursday for Delaware, Philadelphia, eastern Montgomery and lower Bucks counties.

Snatched By Hungry Eagle, Little Dog Lives To Bark The Tale

Jan 4, 2018
Jessica Hartman / via AP

Felipe Rodriguez says he thought he was hallucinating when an eagle snatched his sister's little white dog from her yard, flapped its massive wings and disappeared over the trees.

Did he really just see that?

He had. Zoey the 8-pound bichon frise was gone, taken by a hungry raptor Tuesday afternoon not 50 feet from his sister's house on the banks of the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania, Rodriguez said.

"It seemed like something from the 'Wizard of Oz,'" he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I'm a city boy. This doesn't happen in my world."

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Glade Run Lake is frozen over right now, its 50-plus acres of water transformed into a broad, snowy plain set amid the rolling hills of Butler County.

Oddly, though, tree branches are reaching up through the frigid water and breaking the icy surface like gnarled, blackened fingers.

The trees are holdouts from when the man-made fishing lake was completely drained. In 2011, the state’s Fish and Boat Commission decided Glade Run Lake’s 56-year-old spillway was too badly deteriorated to be reliable. Fearing a flood downstream, the agency drained the lake that summer.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Loretta Kinger started going to the Jewish Community Center, or JCC, in Squirrel Hill 17 years ago. Her sister had recently died, after battling cancer for just two months, and Kinger, 85, said she didn’t know where to go.

 

That all changed at the JCC, where Kinger now has lunch nearly every day.

 

“It gives you a chance to be social with other people. You make a lot of friends. And it makes you feel like you belong someplace,” Kinger said.

Prosecutor Says Terror Links Not Found In Immigrant Shooting

Dec 28, 2017
Paul Vathis / AP

An Egyptian immigrant who wounded a Pennsylvania state trooper and fired at other police officers before being killed has not been connected with any organized terror group or terrorist activity, a prosecutor said Thursday.

December 27, 2017 newscast

- A Marcellus Shale gas well could be coming to Southwestern Pennsylvania's oldest steel mill.

- Pittsburgh residents pay their 2018 real estate taxes early.

- Western Pennsylvania home prices increase.

- Pittsburgh temperatures have been well below average.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburgh is feeling some of the coldest temperatures of the year and it's not expected to let up anytime soon.

Tim Lambert / WTIF

A prosecutor says authorities are still investigating the motives of an Egyptian man who shot at police in several locations in Pennsylvania's state capital, wounding one of them, before dying in a shootout.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico gave no new information Tuesday about Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty's motives. The 51-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen fired at a police officer Friday afternoon in front of the state Capitol and later at a state trooper, wounding her.

National Weather Service Cleveland / via Twitter

Snow continues to fall in Erie, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas that already have seen a record amount of snow over the past few days.

The National Weather Service office in Cleveland says at least an additional 5 to 10 inches are expected through Wednesday.

The storm brought 34 inches of snow on Christmas Day, an all-time daily snowfall record for Erie.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

As Gary Cirrincione walks along the Penn Avenue business corridor on the border Garfield and Bloomfield, he gestures towards the buildings on either side of the street. 

"You've got a mix of commercial and residential spaces, all jumbled together here," said Cirrincione. "Urban areas need that sort of mix and dynamic. There's a diversity here."

When Cirrincione first moved to Hays Street in the East End, his home was in Garfield. Now, the same house is part of East Liberty due to a boundary change, but he doesn’t pay much attention to those technicalities anyway.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Department of Homeland Security says a man who fired at officers in Pennsylvania's state capital before he was shot and killed Friday was a naturalized U.S. citizen who was admitted to the country from Egypt on a family-based immigrant visa.

Acting DHS Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton says Saturday that "the long chain of migration" that led to Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty's admission to the U.S. was initiated years ago by a distant relative.

Screen grab / Triad Strategies/Vimeo

The longtime chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Education is facing accusations that he pursued sexual relationships with teenage girls more than 35 years ago, when he was in his late 20s and early 30s.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Census estimates released Wednesday showed Pennsylvania rose a notch to become the fifth-most populous state, passing a shrinking Illinois by about 3,500 people.

Buster's Plight Helps Put Spotlight On Special Needs Animals

Dec 19, 2017
Humane Society of Cambria County via Facebook

The staff and volunteers at the Cambria County Humane Society know 2-year-old pit bull mix Buster's story - ears that were cropped incorrectly, heartworm disease and a spine injury that healed improperly, causing his back legs to collapse at times as he plays.

Buster was adopted out of the shelter previously, but became notorious for running loose in his neighborhood. He was eventually hit by a car while running after another dog, but was never taken to a veterinarian for those injuries.

On Nov. 5, he was returned to the humane society as a stray.

About 16 miles downstream from the headwaters of the Ohio River lies the borough of Ambridge. It was founded in 1905, when the religious group the "Harmony Society" sold about 2 square miles of land to the American Bridge Company -- that’s where the name Ambridge comes from.

The borough’s population boomed in the early 20th Century along with the rise of the steel industry, but declined steadily as mills began to close. More than 20,000 people lived in Ambridge in 1930, but now, the Census Bureau estimates the population to be fewer than 7,000.

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