WESA Local News

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Officials with Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation say the 300-foot section of Route 30 that collapsed during a landslide in East Pittsburgh earlier this month will re-open in mid-July. 

Judge Rules Jury Can Hear Bill Cosby's Quaalude Testimony

Apr 17, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

The jury at Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial can hear the comedian's decade-old testimony about giving quaaludes to women before sex, a judge ruled Tuesday, handing the prosecution a key victory in its effort to portray him as a serial predator.

Not Seeking Re-Election, GOP Rep. Dent To Resign From House

Apr 17, 2018
J. Scott Applewhite / AP, file

Republican U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a leader of an influential caucus of GOP moderates and a critic of President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that he will resign from Congress in May, after announcing last year he would not seek re-election.

Dent's announcement sets up the potential for a special election as early as mid-summer to serve the remaining months in his term while candidates campaign for a full two-year term in the November election.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a charged public meeting Monday night, residents decried a plan to build retail and office space at the former Penn Plaza site in East Liberty, once home to more than 200 low-income and elderly people. 

Pennsylvania Launches Concealed-Carry Website To Clarify Rules For Gun Owners

Apr 17, 2018
Seth Pearlman / AP File

The state Attorney General’s office has launched a website where gun owners can check which states recognize Pennsylvania’s concealed carry permits — and which outside permits are recognized by the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania only recognizes concealed carry licenses from the 29 other states with permitting requirements that are least as strict as its own, according to the most recent review by the A.G.’s office.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

In western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, three towns all share an astronomical feature in their names. None of them have an observatory, and no groundbreaking space discoveries were made in any of them, but the trio of cities, within 200 miles of each other, all begin with the word “star.”

David Cook, of Whitehall, brought the idea to the attention of 90.5 WESA’s Good Question series. He wondered about the origins of Star City, Wv., Star Junction, Pa. and Starbrick, Pa.

Matt Rourke / AP

A proposal to prohibit abortions in Pennsylvania when the sole reason is that the fetus has or may have Down syndrome is headed to the state Senate after passing the House by a comfortable margin.

Office of Governor Tom Wolf

A package of bills aimed to protect victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania has been signed into law. 

State Medical Marijuana Program Expands To Include Dry Leaf

Apr 16, 2018
Steven Senne / AP

Patients in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana programshould be able to obtain the drug in dry leaf or flower form for vaporization by sometime this summer, the Wolf administration announced Monday.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

An acclaimed British photographer will guide some local students to document their own communities as part of this year’s Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Convicted Ex-High School Athlete Wants Off Sex Offender List

Apr 16, 2018
Dake Kang / AP

A judge will decide whether a man convicted as a juvenile of raping a 16-year-old girl during an alcohol-fueled party should be removed from Ohio's sex offender listings, as allowed by law.

GOP Candidates Disagree Over Attack Ads, Unions And Wage Law

Apr 16, 2018
Chris Knight / AP

Laura Ellsworth is trying to take advantage of back-and-forth attack ads in Pennsylvania's Republican gubernatorial primary to win votes in the three-way contest.

Ray Lisenmayer for Congress / Facebook

Democrat Conor Lamb's last remaining primary opponent is now supporting him, the way for the newly sworn-in Pennsylvania congressman to win the party nomination to challenge third-term Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus in November.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania traffic deaths are at their lowest number since such records began to be kept in 1928.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A new Pennsylvania law is in place to help guide judges setting bail for defendants accused of domestic abuse.

Pennsylvania’s state police force is reviewing its interactions with the federal immigration and customs enforcement, in the wake of a series of investigative reports questioning the legality of troopers using traffic stops to detain people in the country illegally.

Attacks In Pennsylvania Governor's Race Getting Personal

Apr 16, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

With less than five weeks to go before the Pennsylvania primary, the blistering attacks between  Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott Wagner and Paul Mango are getting more intense and personal.

In the latest exchange, Wagner’s daughter Katharine speaks directly into the camera answering a Mango ad that calls Wagner a “deadbeat dad.”

“Paul Mango is a disgrace,” Katharine Wagner says in the ad. “Mango is taking a decade-old dispute and twisting the truth. Mr. Mango, you're not half the man my father is. Take down your disgusting ads and apologize.”

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Nick Ross stood at the corner of Ridge Avenue and West Commons, an intersection on the loop surrounding Allegheny Center. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A woman charged with falsely accusing two state troopers of rape has been ordered to stand trial in northeastern Pennsylvania.

A district judge on Friday ordered 37-year-old Christine Cromer to trial in Luzerne County Court on charges of filing false reports and unsworn falsification.

Authorities allege that Cromer falsely accused a trooper of raping her in a police cruiser in November 2016 and also provided false information in a protection-from-abuse application when she said she was raped by another state trooper.

Jockeying Begins As House Openings Fuel Leadership Shuffle

Apr 16, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Changes are coming to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, due in large part to the pending departure of one of the most powerful elected officials in Harrisburg.

The decision by House Republican Leader Dave Reed to not seek re-election after a brief flirtation with running for Congress sets the stage for a fight over leadership later this year.

"The day that a leader announces that they're not going to be the leader anymore, a certain amount of 'Game of Thrones' begins," said rank-and-file Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Losing millions of dollars a year at its power plants, Ohio-based FirstEnergy has asked the Trump administration for help. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Republican Rick Saccone drew upon national Republican support during his special election campaign against Democrat Conor Lamb last month. He lost that race anyway, and federal campaign-finance reports show he may not be able to count on that edge when facing a new Republican challenger, state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, in the May 15 primary.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

On Monday, crews will begin patching and resurfacing 37 miles of streets, spread across the city’s nine council districts. Through coordination with various utilities, a total of 55 miles of roadway will once again be made traversable.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvanians have until the close of business Monday to register if they want to vote in the May 15 primary, but they can sign up online

Marc Levy / AP

Governor Tom Wolf and a number of legislators are pushing for a slew of changes to the state’s criminal justice system.

The call comes in the wake of a few victories for reform advocates, but in the face of opposition from a significant portion of the legislature’s GOP majority.

On the agenda are eight initiatives, including standardizing bail across counties, pumping more money into public defense, providing a clean slate for old misdemeanors, and a second phase of Justice Reinvestment initiatives aimed at reducing recidivism.

Friends of Ray Linsenmayer, Don Wright/AP, Conor Lamb for Congress

A month after winning the special election in the 18th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D - Mt. Lebanon), now faces a new drama on a new stage.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Lawmakers passed the Fair Housing Act just one week after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as riots flared in Pittsburgh and other cities. It was intended to protect buyers and renters from discrimination based on race, color, disability, religion, sex, familial status or national origin, but advocates argue the nation is still failing renters and homebuyers with disabilities and children, as well as those of color.

courtesy of Vivien Li

Riverlife president and CEO Vivien Li will leave the organization after two-and-a-half years at its helm.

The organization said in a release Friday morning that Li is leaving to spend more time with her family. She tendered her resignation this week, with Friday being her last day.

Pete Mendez, owner of Mendez Consulting, will take over as interim director in Li’s absence.

In a statement, Li said she enjoyed her time with the organization, but needed to prioritize family members in ill health.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

It could be 60 more days before the future of the Strip District’s Produce Terminal is finally decided.

On Thursday, the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority approved an extension of lease negotiations between the building’s longtime tenant, the nonprofit Society for Contemporary Craft and developer McCaffery Interests.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

After nearly a year of vocal opposition to a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan predicated on deep reductions of service to some Pittsburgh neighborhoods and the Mon Valley, the Port Authority of Allegheny County presented a new plan Thursday night to a packed hal

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