WESA Local News

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's payrolls crept to a record high in March as the unemployment rate remained flat for a 10th straight month.

AP

A new poll from Muhlenberg College is giving Democrats reason to feel hopeful about their midterm chances in November.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority voted Friday to increase the 2018 budget by about $12 million. They approved money to cover the costs of complying with brand new regulations—and some old ones—as well as to fund urgent repair work.

A big chunk of the increase, about $7 million, comes from the costs of organizing PWSA to meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), according to chief of administration Debbie Lestitian. PUC began its oversight of PWSA on April 1.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

More than 100 Pittsburgh students marched out of their school Friday and stood in Market Square for 13 minutes in memory of the people who died 19 years ago in Colorado's Columbine High School Shooting.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

A UPMC employee who has tuberculosis is currently on leave and the hospital is reaching out to patients.

Officials confirmed in a statement that the employee contracted TB. That person works in the UPMC Presbyterian Emergency Department and was also seen at a Presby ophthalmology clinic, as well as at a doctor’s office at Magee-Women’s Hospital, they said.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Dry leaf marijuana will soon be available for a growing list of Pennsylvania patients, including those addicted to opioids. State Health Secretary Dr.

ATF via Facebook

Federal authorities have doubled the reward to $20,000 for information on the theft of hundreds of explosives from a worksite in Pennsylvania.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says approximately 700 pounds of dynamite and 400 blasting caps were stolen over the weekend from a Gregory General Contracting Company site in the southeastern part of the state.

Ryan Devlin / Submitted Photo

For a month last summer, U.S. teachers worked alongside their Ethiopian counterparts to create lesson plans, PowerPoints and videos to give students in the U.S. a more nuanced understanding of the people and customs of Ethiopia.

That curriculum, called Teach Africa, is now being piloted in classrooms across the region.

How A High School Concussion Inspired A Tech Startup

Apr 20, 2018
Rachel McDevitt / 90.5 WESA

Matt Roda of Lancaster County was a junior in high school when a single hockey game changed his entire life, putting him on a path to try and better identify and treat concussions. 

He was skating down the ice on a breakaway when he was checked from behind and flew head first into the boards.

Roda doesn't really remember the rest of that game. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The commonwealth’s Independent Fiscal Office has released its yearly assessment of Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal.

It reports that most of the revenue estimates check out. That is, if Wolf can figure out how to get his ideas past the GOP-controlled General Assembly.

The Democratic governor’s fourth budget proposal—and the final one of his first term—brings back a lot of the ideas he’s been trying unsuccessfully to pass for his entire tenure.

Key components are a natural gas severance tax, a minimum wage increase to $12 an hour, and a corporate tax overhaul.

Garret Jones

As far as comics artists go, Ed Piskor might not seem like a superhero kind of guy.

Barry Sweet / AP

The opioid crisis has prompted a reckoning with the devastating effects of joblessness and isolation throughout rural and post-industrial America.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Legislation introduced by State Senators Randy Vulakovich (R- Allegheny County) and Judy Schwank (D- Berks County) would criminalize "sextortion" in Pennsylvania. 

*Warning: This story contains graphic information that some readers may find offensive. 

Courtesy of Angela Carducci

Craig Toocheck has a vision for Pittsburgh's future events and meetings. 

The Lure Of The Saw-Whet Owl

Apr 19, 2018

The Northern saw-whet owl is the symbolic face of conservation in Pennsylvania. The Wild Resource Conservation Program uses a saw-whet owl as its emblem, and the Commonwealth featured a saw-whet owl on its first specialty state license plate in 1993.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

State House lawmakers have completed their final session in a two-week series of Judiciary Committee hearings on gun violence.

They were inspired by the call for tougher gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people.

Despite some agreement on the importance of the issue, lawmakers are struggling mightily with solutions.

They tangled over one proposal after another, from expanding background checks, to arming teachers, to mandating schools install metal detectors, to banning AR-15 style weapons

Jon Hurdle / StateImpact Pennsylvania

More than a month after the Mariner East 1 pipeline was shut down over safety concerns, representatives for Sunoco say they’ve found no problems, and that they’re looking forward to getting the natural gas liquids pipeline running again.

But state officials say they’re not making any decisions to put the Mariner East 1 back in service yet.

Problems with the pipeline began late last year when a rash of sinkholes began opening up nearby. In early March, the state Public Utility Commission ordered that it be shut down.

Courtesy Guy Reschenthaler official Facebook page; Keith Srakocic/AP


State Rep. Rick Saccone (R - Elizabeth) sits at his campaign headquarters in Southpointe with one other staffer.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Pundits say the 75 Democrats who gathered in this Washington, Pa. library basement last weekend have a tough road ahead in the newly drawn 14th District. 

Photo by Jon Rubin

Alisha Wormsley didn’t intend her work of billboard art to be about gentrification. But her message reading “There Are Black People in the Future,” posted in big letters atop a building in the center of East Liberty, has become just that.

Matt Rourke / AP

A leaked email between Pittsburgh's Major Crimes Commander and his detectives said they need to prepare for a large scale protest in the case that President Donald Trump fires Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Bruno Sammartino, professional wrestling's "Living Legend" and one of its longest-reigning champions, has died. Sammartino was 82.

Family friend and former wrestling announcer Christopher Cruise said Sammartino died Wednesday morning and had been hospitalized for two months.

Sammartino was wrestling's biggest box office draw in the 1960s and 1970s and held the World Wide Wrestling Federation championship for more than 11 years (4,040 days) over two title runs.

Senate OKs Anti-Hazing Bill Drafted After Penn State Death

Apr 18, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Criminal penalties for hazing would become more severe under a bill — approved Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Senate — that was inspired by the death last year of a Penn State pledge after a night of heavy drinking.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Legislation is advancing in Pennsylvania to impose stiffer punishments on a repeat drunk-driving offender who kills someone while driving under the influence.

The Senate voted 45-4 on Wednesday to send the bill to the House.

Currently, a drunk driver who kills someone faces a three-year mandatory sentence. Under the bill, that sentence would rise to five years in prison for a repeat drunk driver and to seven years in prison for someone who has two or more prior drunk-driving convictions.

The bill imposes a consecutive prison term for each victim.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

Dick's Sporting Goods is destroying all the guns and accessories that it stopped selling earlier this year after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County will re-submit an application in September for federal funding for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit project.

Matt Rourke / AP

Lawyers for Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati have filed an appeal to a federal court decision that the Republican must personally pay more than $29,000 for legal fees in a high-profile redistricting case.

The GOP lawmaker officially has 14 days to pay—but his chief counsel said he has no intention of doing so.

The case in question was initially brought to the Commonwealth Court last summer by the League of Women Voters, who argued the state congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

State House lawmakers voted to create work requirements for able-bodied people to get Medicaid coverage.

Such requirements weren’t federally permitted for Medicaid until the Trump administration changed the policy several months ago.

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Wearable technology like Fitbits and Apple Watches can measure physiological signals and track a user’s location.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

One person died after a Southwest Airlines plane experienced serious engine trouble Tuesday and was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Seven other people on Flight 1380 were injured. It is the first U.S. airline fatality since 2009.

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