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Sajad Haghanifar / University of Pittsburgh.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are working to improve the next generation of solar panels.

They’re using something called fused silica glass. Imagine tiny blades of grass, almost 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, tightly packed together.

That’s how the surface of fused silica glass will look under a microscope after Paul Leu, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and Sajad Haghanifar, a Ph.D. student in Leu's lab, bombard the glass' surface with charged particles called ions.

1sock / Flickr

The board of Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority has adopted a tenant protection policy, as part of the city larger efforts to safeguard and preserve affordable housing.

The URA’s tenant protection policy creates three additional responsibilities for landlords before they can end tenants’ leases: it gives tenants more time to move out, requires relocation assistance if multiple leases are being terminated, and requires landlords to notify local government of evictions.

More notice is always better, said Tom Cummings, director of housing for the URA.

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.

Greg Sousa / AP

Most drivers who hit roadkill leave the carcass on the ground, but several thousand Pennsylvanians in 2017 wanted to make the dead animal their next meal.

 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

 

When 22-year-old Kristian Trump Goerman died of a drug overdose in January, she left behind two young children. Trump Goerman had long battled an opioid addiction, and child welfare officials had removed 4-year-old Cameron and 1-year-old Layla May from her care about a year before her death.

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.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday passed a controversial bill outlawing the use of certain tools for training or controlling wild animals.

The ordinance specifically bans the use of “bullhook, electric prod, shocking device, hacksaw, ankus, ankusha, elephant goad, elephant hook, baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork, whip, stick, muzzle or instrument capable of inflicting pain, intimidating or threatening pain.”

More than an hour of public comment preceded the vote.

Kerry Weber

When Kerry Weber moved back to Pennsylvania to open Switch and Signal Skate Park in Swissvale, he knew he wanted it to be an inclusive space.

“These spaces should be open to everyone, and I definitely feel that it has been a boys club,” said Weber. “Where you’re a young typical male, it’s a place that’s easy to fit in, but it does lock a lot of people out.”

Skating gave him a creative outlet and helped build confidence, he said, and he hopes the park will get more people, especially girls, to enjoy those benefits, too.

Beer_Powered / Flickr

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman has listed expansion of the city’s recycling program among his priorities for 2018. (Update: Mayor Bill Peduto announced Tuesday that Gilman would leave his city council post in January to take over as Peduto's chief of staff.)

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The $17.5 million Workingmen’s Square Hotel has been eight years in the making.

The 96-unit hotel will be built on a vacant lot near the junction of East Ohio Street and Madison Avenue on the North Side. 

It's a highly visible corner, said Mark Fatla, executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference. 

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

A major water main break at Centre and South Negley avenues Sunday prompted the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to issue a flush and boil water advisory for eight East End neighborhoods. 

Ronald Woan / Flickr

After nearly four years of work, the Pittsburgh Land Bank remains a divisive issue.

Bob Studebaker / 90.5 WESA

After struggling to make a living in Portland, Ore., artists Drew and Alyssa Kail moved back to Pittsburgh and found the area to be friendly to creators like themselves. 


Kathleen J. Davis

A woman who worked at a Penn State satellite campus apparently was shot dead by her estranged husband in a university parking lot on Wednesday, and the man then killed himself, police said.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburgh’s riverfronts host a vast range of activity: industrial, residential and recreational. That diversity lends vitality to the 35 miles of riverfront along the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, but it’s bedeviling for zoning, said Riverfront Development Coordinator Andrea Lavin Kossis.

“The zoning that already exists isn’t always doing a great job with the different kinds of developments that are coming these days," she said. 

90.5 WESA

UPDATED: 4:08 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

The ACLU of Pennsylvania is again confronting Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris for allegedly censoring a constituent on her new official Facebook page.

Allicia Leaper / Crush Photography via AP

A beloved Santa with "naughty" tattooed on one arm and "nice" tattooed on the other has been asked to tone down his typically goofy poses at a suburban Philadelphia mall, leaving some fans miffed.

Scott Diethorne is known for silly poses like hanging kids upside down and flashing his "naughty" or "nice" forearms.

Customers tell Philly.com that when they arrived at the Oxford Valley Mall in Bucks County for their annual photos recently, they learned Santa Scott could only take "traditional" Christmas pictures — no tattoos or upside-down poses.

An-Li Herring / WESA

After outperforming expectations in the 2017 election, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, endorsed two candidates for the 2018 election Monday night.

Oh Boi-lo! Holiday Beverage Source Of Cheer And Warmth

Dec 11, 2017
Mike Steinhoff / Flickr

'Tis the season for a hot beverage that warms from the inside out.

For many residents of the coal region, that means it's time to heat up a batch of boilo.

The sweet citrus drink has remained a popular beverage for cold winter days, even as other traditions from coal region's eastern European immigrants have faded.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

When Dave Breingan walks into the gym at Arsenal Middle School during an after school program, about a dozen kids immediately run up to him and say, "hi!"

North Dakota Department of Agriculture via AP

The number of acres permitted to grow industrial hemp in Pennsylvania is going to increase 100-fold in 2018, from less than 50 to possibly more than 5,000.

Compelling Closing Arguments Bring Federal Trial Over PA Gerrymandering To An End

Dec 8, 2017
Keystone Crossroads

The federal trial over Pennsylvania’s congressional district map wrapped up in a Philadelphia courtroom on Thursday with a string of stirring closing arguments before a three-judge panel.

During four days of deliberations, a group of more than 20 Pennsylvania voters challenged the way Republican lawmakers drew the state’s congressional districts in 2011, asserting a gerrymandering scheme that violates the U.S. Constitution.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Swissvale council member Julie Grose drives to the top of Grand View Golf Course in North Braddock. From up there she can see all of Braddock, the Monongahela River, and on a clear afternoon, east to Oakland and downtown.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

About two dozen demonstrators gathered outside a Verizon store in downtown Pittsburgh on Thursday, chatting slogans like “Ho-Ho, Hey-Hey, Net Neutrality is here to stay” and “Pai, Pai, Stop the Lies.” 

Matt Rourke / AP

A conservative Pennsylvania lawmaker is doubling down on comments he made suggesting a fellow lawmaker might be gay for touching him on the arm.

The incident occurred Tuesday in the House State Government Committee between chairman Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, and minority chair Matthew Bradford, D-Montgomery.

During a discussion on a land use bill, Bradford briefly touched Metcalfe’s arm while making a point.

GOP Lawmaker's 'I Don't Like Men' Comment Stirs Protest

Dec 6, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

An outspoken and conservative Pennsylvania state lawmaker has stirred calls to resign or be demoted after he interrupted a committee meeting to accost his Democratic counterpart for touching his arm and suggest the man might be gay.

*UPDATED: This story was updated at 7:20 a.m., Dec. 7, 2017. 

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday called Rep. Daryl Metcalfe's comments offensive and discriminatory, and said it is "part of a disturbing pattern of behavior."

Lawyer: 'Voter-Proof' Pennsylvania Congressional Map Favors GOP

Dec 5, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

A lawyer for a group of Democratic voters in Pennsylvania told a federal court Monday that it should throw out the state's congressional district map favoring Republican candidates because it was created to be "voter-proof."

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh will soon offer child care for city employees on days when Pittsburgh Public Schools are closed but city offices remain open.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Two women have chained themselves to the doors of a downtown Pittsburgh building that houses U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's office to protest the Senate's tax bill.

They tell the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette they have a host of objections to the Senate Republicans' passing of their $1.5 trillion tax bill early Saturday.

Pennsylvania Case Takes New Approach To Redistricting Rules

Dec 4, 2017
Keystone Crossroads

Judges have been asked repeatedly to decide whether the lawmakers in charge of drawing congressional district lines have gone too far to favor their parties.

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