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Alexander Popichak / 90.5 WESA

High school can be hectic enough, but 3,000 students in Allegheny County experienced homelessness during the last school year. 

Eight students who had spent time homeless received scholarships from the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, or HCEF, Thursday during an awards ceremony at the National Aviary.

Students can use the $2,500 awards toward tuition, books or other college-associated costs. For graduating seniors like Monet Spencer, the award comes as both financial relief and as a means of connection.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, one of the worst deals the U.S. has made. But the head of the country’s largest industrial union isn’t convinced his administration is doing enough to renegotiate the terms.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Honking car horns, screeching tires and the thunderous rumble of truck engines surround passersby on East Ohio Street. The street, while not Pittsburgh’s busiest, is among the noisiest. 

LM Otero, AP File

A new initiative aims to better prepare unemployed immigrants in Allegheny County for the American workforce.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Walk into Pittsburgh's East End location of the Humane Animal Rescue and you'll feel dozens of eyes on you. The shelter is currently overflowing with an influx of stray cats. 

"It's definitely kitty season," Ashley Burk, the shelter's manager of public relations, said. "It just really has to do with the fact that if there are strays on the street, they're not spayed or neutered. It's really easy for cats to get pregnant, have those kittens and then just continue to multiply."

They are an open door facility that does not turn away any animals.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Ashley Morris often brings her 7- and 3-year-old daughters, Taniea and Ta’naea, along with her to run errands downtown. The 26-year-old can’t afford to fix her car, so they take the bus. Even though the line goes right by her place, she doesn’t like living in Hazelwood.

For most of the history of Pittsburgh, elected officials have been white men. But in 1956, then-Mayor David L. Lawrence did something unheard of: he appointed a woman to City Council.

That woman was Irma D’Ascenzo, an Italian-American Hazelwood resident who was working as secretary and chief examiner for the city's Civil Service Commission. Throughout World War II, and in the years following, she’d been volunteering and was active in her community.

D’Ascenzo’s great-granddaughter, Jeanne Persuit, said Lawrence recognized that rising to council was a natural step for her.

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Construction of a 33-unit affordable housing complex in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood is expected to start this week. Action-Housing Inc. will build the six-story Krause Commons at the former Poli’s Restaurant property on Murray Avenue.

Lena Andrews, development officer with Action-Housing, said the site was ideal because of the community surrounding it.

“We really like to build our projects in strong neighborhoods that have access to a lot of amenities,” Andrews said.

Heiko DeWees

Andrew Carnegie had a personal bagpipe player on his payroll and the university that bears his name shows its Scottish roots through its signature green and red tartan plaid and mascot, Scotty

Those are not the only ways Carnegie Mellon University upholds its Scottish heritage. Tucked deep in the halls of CMU’s University Center is a small room packed with bagpipes and drums. It’s where Andrew Carlisle has had his office for the last seven years.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny Commons, Pittsburgh’s oldest park, is a bit like a green oasis amid the bustling streets of the North Side. The sounds of the streets press in from all sides, but a walk down the park’s tree-lined promenade can provide a small measure of respite from the hectic reality of city life.

It’s also a crossroads in the North Side, situated at the junction of three neighborhoods: Allegheny West, East Allegheny and Allegheny Center.

East Allegheny resident Lynn Glorieux seems to know -- and love -- every square inch of it.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Robert Bowden grew up in the Hill District, watching his mother struggle to move her family from a housing project into a nicer neighborhood.

 

Later on, as a young man, Bowden said he was “just a typical guy on a corner.” He had never considered college, and held a job as the janitor at a jewelry store. Bowden said his attitude changed after an incident during one of his breaks on the job.

 

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The Community College of Allegheny County has been issued a warning by its accrediting body, which requires the college to re-evaluate how it measures student learning.

Seth Weing / AP

Some patients in Pennsylvania could be able to get prescriptions for medical marijuana early next year. In the meantime, many doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers have questions.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

For the fourth week in a row, Pittsburgh City Council will not discuss a pair of lead-related bills at its committee meeting this week.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Artificial lungs have been around for decades, but they’re usually large devices that force the patient to remain in a hospital bed until their lungs improve or they’re able to undergo a lung transplant. 

But University of Pittsburgh Medical Devices Laboratory Director Bill Federspiel has developed a more mobile, wearable device.

Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

Take a walk through downtown or  the North Shore and it seems everything, from Pirates caps to government buildings to Heinz Field, radiates black and gold. The colors are synonymous with Pittsburgh sports and culture.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Every morning, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s new 177-pound baby African elephant takes a stroll through the grounds.

“She knocks over the trash cans, she knocks over any signs she can find,” said Willie Theison, elephant program manager at the Pittsburgh Zoo. “She just thinks she’s the baddest little girl.”

Walter Stein / AP

In 1948, twenty people died when thick smog settled over the small town of Donora, just south of Pittsburgh. But is the city prepared if it happens again?

Paul A. Selvaggio / Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

At the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, inside a tall concrete room, kept warm and humid, is a series of cages filled with the most illegally trafficked animal in the world: the pangolin.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities have lived on a hill in Millvale for more than 100 years: they started a hospital and a high school and taught generations of children.

But over the years their numbers have dwindled, and the order has decided to sell its 25-acre campus, Mount Alvernia.

James Benney III / General Photograph Collection, Detre Library & Archives Heinz History Center

Even before Pittsburgh was topping “most livable” listicles and getting attention as the “next Brooklyn,” it attracted travelers from around the country.

Kevin Sousa / Studio for Spacial Practice

A long-awaited restaurant in Braddock is set to start taking reservations this weekend.

Superior Motors is the latest venture of Chef Kevin Sousa. 

Ally Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

For the 12th year, furries have descended on Pittsburgh for the annual Anthrocon at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

This year’s theme is: “Take me out to the Ballgame” and runs through Sunday.

It’s considered one of the largest furry conventions in the world and organizers estimated that about 8,000 people are taking part this year. 

All weekend, Pittsburghers can expect to see colorful anthropomorphic suits adorning its sidewalks, as well as locals posing for pictures and photographs.

Why Is Pennsylvania Called A Commonwealth?

Jun 27, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Ever wonder about something you see or hear in the region that you wish our reporters would explore? Now's your chance!

Here's how it works: Share your questions with us. Then, we'll let the public vote on the one they want us to investigate. Finally, if your question wins — and if you're game — work with us to get to the bottom of it.

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After the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, or SPC, tabled the four-lane toll road extension of the Mon-Fayette Expressway in March to gather more information, the 10-county planning agency voted Monday night to add the highway segment to its list of recommended projects.

Bill Gardner / 90.5 WESA

The language on the controversial black and yellow Sprint advertisement that blankets part of Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington has been changed, amid legal battles over the sign’s permit.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

An independent bookstore chain in Pittsburgh is opening its third location on the South Side this week.

Amazing Books owner Eric Ackland still has quite a few bookshelves to fill. The 4,600-square-foot space on East Carson Street is about five times larger than his Downtown and Squirrel Hill locations.

“Most people assume a third store is evidence of great success,” he said. “In our case, thank God we’re seeking it out, but we need to thrive and we need a location to grow into.”

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

On a recent Tuesday morning, trucks filled with asphalt fed the black steaming material into a paving machine as it crept along Saline Street in The Run. Klaus Libertus has lived there for two years and said, before the paving crew arrived, driving down the street was "vibrating."

But it had its benefits.

“If you had kids in the back you wanted to get to sleep, it would help," he said. "I mean they used to say 'the patches had patches.'"

Molly Riley / AP

An organ transplant can be a life-saving procedure for people with serious medical conditions, but the drugs used to ensure the patient’s immune system doesn’t reject the organ can have severe side effects.

Damian Dovarganes / AP, File

Pennsylvania handed out licenses to 12 companies to grow marijuana for medicinal uses last week, and is expected to license producers and dispensaries soon. However, it could be tough for those businesses to get bank accounts.

Although Pennsylvania has legalized medical marijuana, it's still illegal at the federal level. That means all of the proceeds from growing, producing or selling it are illegal as far as the federal government is concerned.

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