WESA Local News

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is setting aside $1.8 million to assist low-income customers by replacing the private portions of their lead service lines.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate dropped in October to a new post-recession low, although the labor force, employment and payrolls all shrank during the month.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has a relatively concentrated downtown -- the distance between Firstside Park on the southern border and the David Lawrence Convention Center that hugs the Allegheny River is less than 1 mile.

Chris Ayers / 90.5 WESA

With a chill in the air and the holidays fast approaching, many people make plans to visit downtown Pittsburgh for Light up Night and other holiday festivities.

One of the highlights of the season is the traditional lighting of the official city Christmas tree outside the City County Building on Grant Street, downtown. But selecting the perfect tree is a long process that begins months earlier, during the warm days of summer.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

A widely-shared Politico article used Johnstown, Pa. as a lens to showcase the loyalty of President Trump’s supporters one year after his election. But local residents are balking at the portrait of Johnstown that emerged from the story. 

Peter Petokas / AP

There's another salamander vying to become Pennsylvania's official amphibian.

House Republican leader Dave Reed circulated a memo Thursday seeking support for forthcoming legislation to make Wehrle's salamander the state's official amphibian.

His memo appeared a day after the Senate voted overwhelmingly to make the Eastern hellbender the official amphibian of Pennsylvania.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania is already on track to have a significant budget gap to fill next year.

A study from the Independent Fiscal Office shows lawmakers will likely need to come up with about a billion dollars to keep the books balanced.

They only just finished this year’s budget, four months behind schedule.

It was mostly filled with borrowing, expected revenue from a gambling expansion and a number of internal fund transfers.

Much of the money isn’t recurring, and that’s a big reason why the IFO is predicting the state will have to find more cash next year.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

City officials want to push the restart button on an old idea: establishing connectivity between Oakland and neighborhoods to the south. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Affordable housing advocates say they’re concerned the consent agreement reached by the city of Pittsburgh and four neighborhood groups about the former Penn Plaza development site won’t actually help those who need it.

T. Charles Erickson / PigPen Theatre Company/City Theatre

Each night, an old man that lives on a cliff fills up the moon with liquid light. He and his wife have been doing the same routine for so long, they’ve forgotten who they are and why they started filling up the moon in the first place.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Downtown Pittsburgh’s holiday traditions have changed over the years. But starting Saturday, a new exhibit at the Heinz History Center takes visitors back in time.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is many kinds of city: it’s a sports city, it’s a robotics city, it’s a ketchup city. But at its most essential, Pittsburgh is a city of steep hills. In the early 1900s, public staircases were built all around the city to help people navigate challenging terrain. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Protection for current homeowners, affordable housing and job creation remain among the Hazelwood community’s primary concerns, especially as residents move forward with the neighborhood planning process that kicked off last month.

About 50 people gathered at the Spartan Center on Tuesday night for discussion of the plan, which is being spearheaded by the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative. The GHCC comprises 27 community groups, as well as city and state officials.

An-Li Herring / WESA

Pittsburgh City Council is still searching for a way to pay for a fund it established last December to expand the supply of affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Holiday traditions from around the globe converge at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning inside its Nationality Rooms, a collection of 30 classrooms representing the cultures of various groups that settled in Allegheny County. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Steel might soon be paying a fine for several violations of both county and federal environmental protections at its plant in Braddock.

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Supercomputers are pretty much what they sound like: bigger, faster and more sophisticated than any Mac or PC. 

Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

A public health researcher delivered a dire warning on Monday during a panel on the implications of the planned Royal Dutch Shell ethane cracker plant in Beaver County.

"When we allow industry to get way out in front of public health and environmental oversight, we end up counting bodies,” said Dr. Brian Schwartz of the Geisinger Center for Health Research in Montour County.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

In its latest annual report sent to 30,000 homes in the city, A+ Schools is drawing attention to persistent disparities within Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

From a transportation perspective, Pittsburgh has a lot of challenges: narrow streets, steep hills and aging infrastructure that needs maintenance.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Over the next three to five years, more than 200 affordably priced apartments and homes could be built in East Liberty and Garfield as a result of the negotiations surrounding the demolition of Penn Plaza, according to Rick Swartz, executive director of the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation.

An-Li Herring / WESA

State Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth), 59, will be the GOP’s nominee in the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. He won the nomination at a convention the Republican Party of Pennsylvania held in Canonsburg Saturday.

 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Alongside Route 51 by a Denny’s and a Huntington Bank in West Mifflin, there are two round, rust-colored sculptures. There’s no informational plaque, and there are no signs posted.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

A decision on the Penguins’ amended development plan for the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill has been delayed until next week.

While the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Allegheny County approved the new plan, it still needs approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

URA Chairman Kevin Acklin acknowledged the new plan wasn’t circulated to board members until late Wednesday night for a Thursday vote. At the request of City Councilman Lavelle, who also sits on the URA board, Acklin did not ask for a vote.

Brian Bohannon / AP

The American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday it had reached an agreement with Allegheny County regarding the solitary confinement of pregnant inmates at the county jail.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Since the late 1800s, steamfitters have built, installed and maintained piping systems, everywhere from power plants to residential homes.

M. Spencer Green / AP

Pennsylvania was one of only four states that saw a decrease in premature birth rates last year compared to 2015, according the March of Dimes’ annual Premature Birth Report Card.

Last year 9.3 percent of babies in Pennsylvania were born before 37 weeks gestation. In 2015 the rate was 9.4 percent. Nationally the rate increased from 9.6 to 9.8 percent.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A committee tasked with finding alternatives to suspending Pittsburgh students below third grade for non-violent offenses says the district needs more counselors, social workers and de-escalation training.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority can fix its delivery systems, manage its debt, and provide clean, safe drinking water while remaining under public control, according to recommendations from consultant Infrastructure Management Group, Inc.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Attorney Mik Pappas, who ran as an Independent, won Pennsylvania’s 31st Magisterial District race, unseating the incumbent who held the position for 24 years.

It was the first time in more than two decades that Ron Costa, Sr. faced an opponent.

Pappas was endorsed by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and said that Donald Trump’s victory in last year’s presidential election energized his supporters.

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