Local Stories

Mister Rogers Still Lives In Your Neighborhood

4 hours ago

It wasn't anything spectacular at the time. When the show first aired on Feb. 19, 1968, it seemed to be a typical children's educational program. On a black-and-white screen, a tall, dark-haired man nearing 40 years of age wandered into a staged living room, softly singing a song as he changed from a blazer into a much softer, cozy cardigan.

That man, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, quickly rose into recognition and a half-century later is still an American icon.

DEP Extends Comment Period For Shell's Ethane Pipeline

Feb 16, 2018
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will extend the public comment period for Shell’s 97-mile Falcon pipeline, which will carry ethane to the company’s $6 billion petrochemical plant in Western Pennsylvania.

The DEP will also hold public hearings in each of the three counties the pipeline route traverses: Washington, Allegheny, and Beaver counties. Instead of the comment period closing on Feb. 20, it will be extended to April 17, the DEP said in a news release.

New Maps Could Improve Democrats' Chances In Pennsylvania

Feb 16, 2018
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 *Updated

 

 

Democrats' chances at picking up congressional seats in Pennsylvania likely would improve under new models of district boundaries drawn to replace the Republican-drawn boundaries thrown out in a high-stakes gerrymandering court case, independent analysts said Friday.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In the aftermath of this week’s high school shooting in Florida, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is calling for improved federal background checks for firearms sales.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Toomey said he and his staff will “continue to reach out to senators on both sides of the aisle to see where progress can be made” on the issue.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

While the upswing in temperatures might have some Pittsburghers excited to ditch their coats, it’s helped create a nightmarish pothole season for city roads.

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's been nearly two years since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, and this week, a handful of dispensaries began selling it.

David Bachman Photography

Pittsburgh Opera’s new world-premiere performance, Douglas J. Cuomo’s Ashes & Snow, might be an edgy, contemporary work, but it was inspired by a classic piece of music: Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, meaning "winter journey."

Schubert wrote this song cycle in the 1820s, as a musical setting for a series of 24 poems by German poet Wilhelm Muller. The poems tell the story of a jilted lover wandering a rural landscape in winter.

“I am finished with all my dreams. Why should I linger among the sleepers?” runs one line of the English translation.

Google Maps

Residents of Homewood and North Point Breeze have requested the Urban Redevelopment Authority postpone its search for development proposals for a former industrial site between the two neighborhoods.

Keith Srakocic / AP


In the special election to fill the vacant seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh, 33-year-old Democratic candidate Conor Lamb (Mt. Lebanon) has presented himself as part of a new generation of leaders, and he says voters are excited for the change he represents.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

The 2,400 teachers who work for Pittsburgh Public Schools are one step closer to a strike, but will hold off doing so as the union representing them continues to negotiate with the district. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

At about 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, the door at the Solevo Wellness medical marijuana dispensary in Squirrel Hill opened, allowing in a line of patients that wrapped around the building.

Wikimedia Commons

The deadline has come and gone to submit congressional map proposals that meet the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s new guidelines.

When justices first declared the maps unconstitutional about four weeks ago, they ordered the GOP-controlled legislature and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf to negotiate a compromise on new ones.

That compromise never happened. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh is continuing its battle at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court over two laws that could affect local workers, but that lower courts have so far blocked.

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.

7 Guards Charged With Sex Abuse At Pennsylvania Jail

Feb 15, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

Seven prison guards have been charged with sexually abusing inmates in what the Pennsylvania attorney general said Thursday was an effort to stop a "persistent culture of abuse" that has plagued the scandal-ridden lockup for more than a decade.

Current and former guards at Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton abused their positions of power to coerce sex from female inmates, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. The abuse was widely known, he said, broadly hinting at a cover-up.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Seven Pittsburgh chefs and establishments have been named semifinalists for this year's national James Beard Foundation awards.

Whitfield, the restaurant inside the Ace Hotel in East Liberty, houses semifinalists in two categories: Casey Renee for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and Executive Chef Bethany Zozula for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

On Tuesday, a New York federal judge issued the second ruling to temporarily block the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program on March 5.

Corgi HomePlan / Flickr

As Pennsylvania moves into the latter part of winter, 13,500 households that started the season without a safe source of heat still don’t have one.

Data released Wednesday by Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission shows there are fewer homes without a utility heating service this winter compared to last year. But when money’s tight, many families still turn to heating sources that pose fire risks.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

New insight into a series of fracking-related earthquakes in Eastern Ohio shows that deeper drilling is tied to stronger seismic activity. 

Legal Medical Marijuana Sales Begin At Pennsylvania Facility

Feb 15, 2018
Ryan Kang / AP

The first legal medical marijuana sales under a 2-year-old state law began Thursday at a dispensary in western Pennsylvania, with the first purchase by a woman who lobbied for passage of the law.

A line of about a dozen people greeted employees as they opened the doors of the Cresco Yeltrah dispensary in Butler. Five other dispensaries are expected to start sales in the coming days.

Diana Briggs of Export, Pennsylvania, said the $178 purchase she made should easily be enough to treat her 17-year-old son Ryan for a month.

Matt Rourke / AP

Thursday is deadline day in Pennsylvania's high-stakes gerrymandering case for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and others to submit maps of new congressional district boundaries that they want the state Supreme Court to adopt for this year's election.

Screengrab via Draw the Lines

As Republicans and Democrats in Harrisburg fight bitterly over a state Supreme Court order to redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional maps, one group is taking a longer view.

In a bid to increase awareness about gerrymandering, fledgling organization Draw the Lines is making professional digital mapping tools available to the public.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The March 13 special election to fill the vacant seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh is widely viewed as a bellwether for the midterm elections later this year, and that’s due in part to candidate Rick Saccone’s (R-Elizabeth) vocal support for President Donald Trump.

Chad Pizzello / Invision via AP

Black Panther opens Friday, and it’s expected to be a blockbuster, but for many people, the film is more than just another superhero flick.

This Marvel Comics character, created in the 1960s, is often credited as the first mainstream black superhero. The new film adaptation takes place in Wakanda, a fictional high-tech nation that's never been colonized and is led by T’Challa, who doubles as the Black Panther. It boasts an African-American director, Ryan Coogler, and a nearly all-black cast, led by Chadwick Boseman. 

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.

90.5 WESA

Last month, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ordered the City of Pittsburgh to release its bid to become Amazon's second headquarters.

Mayor Bill Peduto said at the time he'd fight the ruling, even if it meant going to court. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania lobbyists are subject to a new law that requires them to file their disclosure reports electronically.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed a bill that also increases fines for missing quarterly deadlines for filing disclosure reports.

Officials say about one in five reports were still being filed with paper.

Brian Siewiorek / 90.5 WESA

After 14 years of being designated "financially distressed," on Monday the city of Pittsburgh exited Act 47 state oversight of its finances. State officials hailed the city's return to fiscal good health.

90.5 WESA's Kevin Gavin spoke with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto about the city's financial future.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Graphic via Sarah Kovash | Photos via AP and NCTC Archives Museum

In honor of Valentine's Day (or Galentine's Day, if you prefer), we've put together a list of inspiring quotes about love -- and life -- from some famous Pittsburghers. 

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Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Two main issues are keeping the Pittsburgh Public Schools district from settling a contract dispute with the union representing its teachers, according to PPS administrators. 

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