WESA Local News

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

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

In all of the U.S., there are only a few dozen sets of instruments that qualify as gamelan ensembles – the collections of gongs and other tuned percussion instruments needed to play this form of music indigenous to Indonesia.

One such gamelan resides at the University of Pittsburgh, whose University Gamelan group marks its 20th anniversary this week with a pair of concerts. Guest performers include composer Ismet Ruchimat, vocalist Masyuning, and musician Idra Ridwan.

Amy Sisk / WESA

Researchers have a new way of tracking the song sparrows, dark-eyed juncos and other birds that fly about the Laurel Highlands.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Sales associate Dale Benner adjusted his stance, peering through two layers of reinforced glass. Less than 10 yards ahead, a soft “pop pop” barely registered over the low hum of classic rock piped overhead.

Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ

Robots designed by teams of teens from 53 schools in southwestern Pennsylvania will compete in a two-day, gladiator-style tournament starting Friday.

The aim of the Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ competition, which is being hosted at California University of Pennsylvania, is to get high schoolers to think creatively and collaboratively, while also exposing them to careers in manufacturing.

BotsIQ executive director Michel Conklin said the robots are judged on a variety of criteria.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

Editor's note: This post contains some graphic language.

Not long before reality TV star and former model Janice Dickinson says Bill Cosby raped her, back in 1984, she snapped a picture of the iconic entertainer in a hotel in Lake Tahoe.

Matt Rourke / AP

Opponents of Philadelphia’s controversial sweetened beverage tax, stymied so far in their efforts to defeat the levy in court, are getting some support in the state legislature.

Photo courtesy of Mark Simpson Photography

Over its 24 years, adventuresome dance troupe Attack Theatre has staged productions in some unusual places: outdoor plazas, old industrial spaces, a gallery at the Carnegie Museum of Art. But its latest venue is probably a first: a former Office Depot at The Waterfront shopping complex in Homestead.

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

These days, jazz studies programs are common at American universities and colleges. In 1969, there were only two at major universities. That’s the year Dr. Nathan Davis arrived at the University of Pittsburgh to establish its program.

A respected saxophonist, the Kansas City native had spent most of the 1960s living in Paris where he was an integral part of that city’s particularly vibrant jazz scene performing and recording with world renowned artists. That background influenced his approach to running Pitt’s jazz program, according to drummer Thomas Wendt.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Amazon, one of the world’s most successful businesses, started out as an online bookseller. But an effort to lure its second corporate headquarters--and 50,000 jobs--to Pittsburgh has not exactly been an open book.

Fish, Birds And Mussels Get Their Own Business Plan In Pennsylvania

Apr 12, 2018

A new conservation strategy is underway in Western Pennsylvania. The Western Pennsylvania Business Plan for Restoration of Healthy Forests and Freshwater Habitat prioritizes funding for projects that focus on key species in important ecosystems to ultimately restore healthy forests and freshwater habitat in the region. The plan was developed with numerous conservation groups headed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A new contract for Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers was accepted by 90 percent of voting members Wednesday night.

House GOP Backs Plan To Give Majority More Districting Power

Apr 12, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Republicans on a Pennsylvania House committee voted on Wednesday to give more power over redistricting to the majority party in the Legislature, breathing life into efforts to substantially change how General Assembly and congressional districts are drawn.

Courtesy Rahul Kale / Chrissy Houlahan for Congress

The names of distinguished men who have represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives could fill a book. But names of the women who have done the same fit comfortably on a sticky note.

On Witness Stand, Accuser Calls Bill Cosby A 'Serial Rapist'

Apr 11, 2018
Dominick Reuter / AP

The first accuser to testify at Bill Cosby's retrial described the comedian Wednesday as "a serial rapist" as she parried with his lawyers, while a second accuser tearfully confronted the comedian over a 32-year-old assault allegation: "You remember, don't you, Mr. Cosby?"

The courtroom dramatics prompted mistrial requests from Cosby's lawyers — which were denied — as prosecutors began putting on a parade of women who say Cosby drugged and molested them long before he met Andrea Constand, the chief accuser in his sexual assault retrial.

Pennsylvania Legislature Roiled By Sexual Misconduct Claims

Apr 11, 2018
Tim Lambert / WTIF

Sexual misconduct allegations have roiled the Pennsylvania Legislature this past year, including the revelation that two cases resulted in sizeable payouts.

A sitting state senator gave up plans to run for Congress in late February, following accusations of inappropriate behavior.

And an investigation is underway into claims a House member was abusive toward two women, including a fellow state representative.

Dank Depot / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana dispensaries may eventually be permitted to sell the product in plant form for vaping, after a vote by the state's medical marijuana advisory board recommended a change in the regulations. 

Ralph Wilson / AP

New data says concussions might take longer for high school athletes to heal from than previously thought. 

UPMC concussion specialist Micky Collins unveiled new insight into how concussions effect the teenage brain at a symposium for youth sports medicine Wednesday at Heinz Field. 

The results are from a study of more than 300 concussed high school athletes in western Pennsylvania. There are a few reasons the current data is showing longer recovery time than in years past, according to Collins. 

Andrew Harnik / AP

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced his second congressional hearing of the week Wednesday, and Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle of the 14th District is one of many members of Congress to question him on the privacy of Facebook's users. He also proposed a government oversight agency to regulate Facebook and its competitors.

GOP Brass Appeal For Unity Amid Gubernatorial Primary Fight

Apr 11, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's Republican Party chairman called for party unity Tuesday as a hard-edged primary campaign attack ad against its endorsed gubernatorial candidate played on television screens across the state, and another potentially tough attack ad waits in the wings.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

While PennDOT and local authorities are dealing with a destructive landslide that collapsed a stretch of Route 30 near East Pittsburgh and forced 30 people from their homes, the city of  Pittsburgh continues to address  a “record year for landslides” in the city.

Pages