WESA Local News

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Every day, around 100 people visit a special check-in booth in a corner of Pittsburgh International Airport. They aren’t there to pick up tickets, and they don’t have any luggage.

World War II-Era Planes To Touch Down In Johnstown

Jun 11, 2018
Ross D. Franklin / AP

The deep, ominous rumble of a Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber's four engines, a sound that echoed throughout the Pacific Ocean during World War II, was heard again on Monday in the skies above Richland Township.

"Fifi," one of only two B-29 Superfortresses in the world that still fly, touched down on Monday afternoon at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, as did two other World War II-era aircraft belonging to the Commemorative Air Force, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving and showing historical aircraft at airshows.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

 Around six months ago, during a West End community meeting hosted by Black Women for Positive Change, Pittsburgh chapter president Diane Powell heard a frustration she knew how to tackle. 

Report On Pennsylvania Priest Abuse To Be Most Extensive Yet

Jun 11, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

The results of a lengthy probe into the handling of sexual abuse claims by Roman Catholic dioceses throughout Pennsylvania, which victim advocates say will be the biggest and most exhaustive ever by a U.S. state, could be made public within weeks.

A statewide grand jury spent nearly two years looking into the abuse scandal, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has said he plans to address the panel's findings by the end of June.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

Nationwide, the natural hair community is growing. Between 2011 and 2016, sales of hair straighteners --  also known as relaxers -- fell 31 percent. Relaxers are made up of chemicals that flatten the natural kinks in many African-Americans’ hair, and Pittsburgh’s natural hair community is seeing an increase in new membership too.

Office of the Governor

Pennsylvania's minimum wage has been stagnant at the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour for the last 10 years, which is at least $1 less than every neighboring state.

Thein Zaw / AP

For a long time, scientists thought that the flu virus degraded in humid conditions and that was the reason most people don’t catch it in the summer.

University of Pittsburgh microbiologist Seema Lakdawala and collaborators devised an experiment to determine how mucus enables the airborne transmission of H1N1, which caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and found that it survived in several types of environments. Dry, moist – it didn’t matter.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Rodney McCoy has lived on Hillcrest Street, across from three vacant lots, since 2000. After putting away the weed whacker he uses to clip his grass, he said Garfield has changed a lot.

Nancy Patton Mills, who hopes to be chosen as the next chair of the state Democratic Committee next week, suffered a rebuke in her own home county on Saturday: Despite the support of Gov. Tom Wolf and other top Democrats, she lost the race for Allegheny County Democratic chair to Eileen Kelly by a two-to-one margin.

Wagner Campaign

This week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner focused some of his energy on an unlikely target: grass.

Screengrab / CDC

Suicide rates have increased in nearly every state from 1999 to 2016, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday. Since 2016, there have been 45,000 suicides nationwide.

Pennsylvania, For First Time, Sets Methane Requirements On Natural Gas Wells

Jun 8, 2018
Joe Ulrich / WITF

Pennsylvania has joined a growing number of states in issuing new methane requirements for natural gas wells.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

An ambulance pulled up to the entrance of UPMC Preysbetarian's emergency room in early June, a pair of EMTs unloaded a portable isolation pod, basically a human-sized, medical-grade Ziploc bag.

Matt Rubin

Thousands are expected to hit the streets of downtown Pittsburgh this weekend to celebrate the LGBT community. 

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The solar industry is one of the newest players to enter Pennsylvania’s energy landscape. During its infancy, making a career in it was a bit of a gamble, but Hal Saville decided to give it a go.

“It was something that I had to convince my family was the right thing to do because I had a pretty cushy job and could have retired from doing that, and the industry was somewhat slow to get on its feet and really gain momentum,” he says.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

More than 2 million people work in energy efficiency across the United States. It makes up the largest sector of the nation’s clean energy workforce.

Virginia McGrath has held one of these jobs for three years. She’s an energy auditor for Pittsburgh’s Conservation Consultants Incorporated.

“I think the energy efficiency field has made a transition,” she says. “Instead of saving energy and saving money, we’re talking about making a home safer and more comfortable. I think that resonates with people more.”

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

When something goes wrong in the natural gas fields like a spill or an explosion — somebody has to clean up the mess.

Mike Chicka gets these calls. The work, he says, can be pretty challenging.

“We’ve had times where we’ve had to build roads in the side of mountains,” he says. “We’ve brought in 30-, 40-foot pipes to be able to put through culverts to be able to divert the flow of streams and rivers, and bring in thousands of tons of stone to be able to build a road proper to get to the spill.”

Carolyn Kaster / AP

After more than a year of on-and-off negotiation, the state Senate has moved a congressional redistricting overhaul to the floor of the full chamber.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

A networking program to connect immigrants and refugees to established Pittsburgh professionals is underway in the city.

The Pittsburgh Connector Program will set up one half-hour-long meeting between a recent arrival with professional experience and a Pittsburgher in the same career field. The local shares three professional contacts with the immigrant, and then those contacts each share three more.

Photo courtesy of City Theatre

Most theater companies have an artistic director – the guiding force behind what goes on stage. But Pittsburgh’s City Theatre did without one for about a year following the resignation of Tracy Brigden, who’d held the post for 16 years.

Instead, the troupe, one of Pittsburgh’s largest and most venerable theater companies, made it through the 2017-18 season led by a team of three top administrators.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Emerson Botts is full energy in the morning. Skipping down the sidewalk on the three-block walk to her school, she tells her mom how sad she is that the school year is ending.

White House Visits Become Political Litmus Test For Athletes

Jun 7, 2018
Alex Brandon / AP

For victorious sports teams these days, the confetti and champagne are apt to be accompanied by a politically fraught question: Are you going to the White House?

Bryan Colangelo Resigns At 76ers President

Jun 7, 2018
Elise Amendola / AP

The Philadelphia 76ers say Bryan Colangelo has resigned as president of basketball operations after an independent firm investigated allegations that he used a variety of Twitter accounts to anonymously trash some of his own players and fellow executives and defend himself against criticism from fans and the sports media.

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

Security cameras in Pittsburgh's South Side have helped lower the area's crime rate by 37 percent in the last year, according to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennslvania

Pennsylvania will begin enforcing tougher air pollution standards on its booming natural gas industry.

Courtesy of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

During his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, Pittsburgh attorney and judicial nominee David Porter faced intense scrutiny from Democrats. They expressed concern about Porter’s reported ties to conservative groups as well as his past criticisms of the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade.

Pennsylvania Eyes Statewide School Threats Reporting System

Jun 7, 2018
Wilfredo Lee / AP

Pennsylvania's Senate advanced legislation on Wednesday to set up a state-administered program to take anonymous reports of dangerous activities or threats of violence in schools, as lawmakers explore improvements to school safety spurred by February's school shooting in Florida that killed 17 people.

Senators approved the bill unanimously, modeling the program on the Safe2Tell program created in Colorado after 1999's Columbine school shooting.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf has signed an executive order to change certain hiring practices in select state government jobs, in an effort to cut down on gender-based wage discrimination.

John Beale / Focus Features

Morgan Neville never met Fred Rogers. Growing up, he had the same relationship with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as did many people his age: Neville, now 50, watched the show, then more or less forgot about it. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is known for its rivers. But many residents, like 90.5 WESA listener Judith Hoover, aren't sure where the bottom of each of the three lie. 

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