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Jana Kasperkevic

On Sunday, 23 percent of Puerto Rico’s eligible citizens went to the polls, and 97 percent of them voted to make Puerto Rico America’s 51st state. That’s about half a million people. The vote was nonbinding, and because of the low turnout, it might not be enough to persuade Congress to convert Puerto Rico from a commonwealth to a state.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Fourth grade students at Propel Hazelwood gathered in a circle around another student summarizing a class text. As she spoke, each student gave her a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nowhere in the country can someone work 40 hours a week at a minimum-wage job and afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

On average, a Pennsylvanian earning minimum wage would have to work 83 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom rental.

There are a lot of misconceptions about low-income earners. Primarily, that they’re not working hard enough, said Phyllis Chamberlain, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Mary Ann Merranko went to see one of her favorite bands, Rusted Root, at the now defunct venue The Beehive in Oakland in 2001.

She made her way to the front of the crowd and ended up right next to the speaker. When she emerged onto Forbes Avenue later that night, she noticed a ringing in her ears.

Maranie Staab / Facebook

Pictures of young refugees from the war-torn countries of Syria and Iraq have been defaced with spray paint at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Journalist Maranie Staab, of Pittsburgh, is currently in Iraq photographing the ongoing crisis there in Mosul. She posted a photo of the defaced images and a message for the vandal or vandals on Facebook: "If the person that did this happens to see this, I would welcome the opportunity to speak to you about these kids."

The two defaced pictures showed refugee children. The vandals X-ed out their faces with spray paint.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County makes changes to its bus schedules four times a year. The next one, coming up on June 18, will affect 15 routes

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival is underway all this week in Pittsburgh.

The event runs until June 11 and features exhibits throughout Point State Park, the Cultural District and the Gateway Center.

Argo AI

Uber is not the only self-driving car game in town. Ford announced in February that it would invest $1 billion over five years in Pittsburgh-based Argo AI. The company has been quietly building its team, with the goal of putting self-driving cars in production by 2021.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Terry Grantz stood on a swaying dock, pointing to a massive, off-white concrete block. He’s the manager of Lockwall One Marina, a private facility in the Strip District below the Cork Factory Lofts.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Despite a bomb threat for Market Square called in to Pittsburgh Police Saturday morning, a few hundred protestors marched from the City County Building on Grant Street to show their disdain for President Donald Trump.

Carnegie Mellon University

After four years at the helm of Carnegie Mellon University, president Subra Suresh will step down at the end of the month.

The former National Science Foundation director announced his resignation Thursday in an open letter to the campus community.

Margaret Sun/90.5 WESA and Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

In a strongly worded statement, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto rejected President Donald Trump’s use of Pittsburgh in his announcement of the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A group of constituents is calling on state Rep. Dom Costa (D-Allegheny) to attend a town hall meeting Thursday in Lawrenceville.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Nashville Predators fan briefly faced summary charges after throwing a catfish onto the ice at PPG Paints Arena during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Pens were up 3-0 with 16:40 left in the second period when Jacob Waddell, 36, of Nolensville, Tenn., said he launched a mangled catfish over the protective glass near section 122. 

Convenience Store Wars: The Economic Impact And Fandom Of PA's Sheetz And Wawa

May 30, 2017
m01229 / Flickr

There are millions of Americans out there who don't have much of an opinion about their local convenience store brand. They'll stop at a 7-Eleven for a snack, a Shell station for gas and any old truck stop to use the bathroom. They're not likely to describe their relationship with a convenience store as "love."

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Cobblestone, brick, asphalt: the commonwealth has an abundance of street-paving options. But there’s one we don’t talk about a lot: wooden blocks. Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are each home to one of the last wooden streets in the nation.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Walking down Fourth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh, it might feel like you’re being watched. And you are.

There are about a dozen pairs of eyes glaring down at the street. They’re made of gray and brown stone, some with intricate carved manes. Lions are a common sight on this stretch of downtown, and they have a very important job: to guard.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Legislation to allow PennDOT to issue REAL ID-compliant drivers licenses is about to be signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, but that doesn't mean the ID in your pocket will truly be compliant with the federal standards.

As of June 7, non-compliant IDs will no longer be accepted for admittance into federal and nuclear facilities. TSA officials will stop accepting them for air travel as of Jan. 22, 2018.

Noah Berger / AP

At least 15 states have allowed police agencies to pilot surveillance drones in the name of public safety, including one that can carry weapons.

This week on 90.5 WESA’s Criminal Injustice podcast, University of Pittsburgh law professor and host David Harris talks to the Cato Institute’s Matthew Feeney from his office in Washington D.C.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

**UPDATED: 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that Pittsburgh Police officers don't have to live inside city limits.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The president of the South Side Chamber of Commerce said he feels the popular bar district is still a safe place despite a deadly shooting inside the Rowdy Buck bar early Sunday morning.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Results from a University of Pittsburgh survey published last week found that the presidential election impacted women's decisions about their contraception.

Dick Daniels / Carolina Birds

The Highland Park Bridge is noisy—traffic speeds by as barges pass through the nearby lock and a train rattles underneath. But in the past few years, a new, natural sound has joined the orchestra of automobiles and industry: gulls. To be more specific: Herring gulls.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

  A giant billboard went up at the intersection of Centre Avenue and Crawford Street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood in 1960. It read, “No Development Beyond This Point.”

Craig Sjodin / ABC

Three years ago, Samm Hodges would've laughed if you'd suggested he take up voice acting.

"I had a stutter in high school that was really extreme," he said.

Ewa Krawczyk / National Cancer Institute via AP

University of Pittsburgh researchers have found a gene editing technique that could be used to treat aggressive forms of cancer.

Dave J. Bruce Photography / via Station

The Penguins just need four more wins before we're in the Stanley Cup finals ... AGAIN. 

A lot of us are super stoked -- and some of us don't really care (I know, I know).

But even if you don't care about watching the Pens play, there is another benefit to an extended hockey season, especially if you're a bit of a foodie: checking out one of the city's popular bars and restaurants that are usually hard to get into.  

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

For the first time, shoppers at farmers markets around the region can grab some whiskey with their watermelon. Due to a 2016 change in state laws, distilleries, breweries and meaderies are able to sell their products in Pennsylvania farmers markets and food expos.

Matt Rourke / AP

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack "billed taxpayers for $34,000 worth of groceries, two leather cuff link boxes, flags and thousands of dollars of candy and snack bars while living at his state-operated mansion and collecting a $162,373 salary." 

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