WESA Local News

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.

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.

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