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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.)

Google Maps

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.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Police say two Good Samaritans used their cars to stop a suspected drunken driver swerving all over a Pennsylvania highway.

Google Maps

A local law firm decided to dig into PennDOT crash data to visualize the most dangerous intersections in Allegheny County. The study identifies 787 intersections that had five or more crashes from 2014 to 2016.

Dallas W. Hartman P.C. represents a lot of collision cases, and wanted to raise awareness about areas around the county where drivers are more likely to crash, said attorney Dallas Hartman.

Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET

Garrison Keillor, the creator and former host of A Prairie Home Companion, has been accused of inappropriate behavior with someone who worked with him, according to Minnesota Public Radio, which has announced it is cutting ties with Keillor and his production company.

Tim Kelly / Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering

A Ph.D. student in Pittsburgh is working to develop a more effective drug delivery method for patients with lung diseases.

Pennsylvania State Officials Will See A Pay Raise In 2018

Nov 28, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The salaries of Pennsylvania's 253 state lawmakers, more than 1,000 judges and several dozen top executive branch officials will rise in 2018.

The increase amounts to 0.8 percent, a figure tied by state law to the year-over-year change in the consumer price index published by the U.S. Department of Labor for urban consumers in the mid-Atlantic region.

The bump takes effect Friday for lawmakers and Jan. 1 for judicial and executive branch officials. It is slightly smaller than last year's increase of 1.3 percent.

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