WESA Local News

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A new after-school program targeting Pittsburgh’s refugee students aims to bridge the gap of English language learning in schools. The pilot program launches in Crafton Heights this week.

Pittsburgh Suburbs Decide As Fracking Comes Near: Welcome It, Or Resist?

Feb 13, 2018
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Michael Thomas didn’t think the Marcellus shale industry, with its multi-acre well pads and large drilling operations, would come to the Pittsburgh suburb of Plum.

Pennsylvania Department of General Services

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is promising he'll send a politically impartial congressional district map to the state Supreme Court by its Thursday deadline if the Republican-controlled legislature cannot draw one themselves.

Alex Brandon / AP

Third-party and independent candidates will have an easier time running for office in Pennsylvania following settlement of a longstanding federal lawsuit.

The settlement approved by a federal judge earlier this month includes a provision that such candidates will need far fewer petition signatures to qualify for the ballot, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

"Carnegie’s Maid" tells the fictional story of an immigrant housekeeper who moves to Pittsburgh and accidentally ends up serving one of the city’s most famous families: the Carnegies.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On Monday the city of Pittsburgh became the second city to exit Act 47, the state’s oversight program for financially distressed cities. For a city known for the catastrophic collapse of its steel industry in the 1980s, this clean bill of financial health was lauded by state and local officials as nothing short of a comeback.

Ronald Woan / Flickr

According to a CNN report from last summer, 44 million Americans make money outside their regular job with a "side hustle." Carnegie Library's new Side Hustle lecture series, which launches this week, will highlight different options for joining the gig economy each week.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

With long hair and a big handlebar mustache, Tom Walker is recognizable --and everyone in Millvale seems to know him.

He’s also busy in the community. Walker is a "semi-retired" graphic designer, he’s on the board of directors for the Millvale Community Development Corporation and he’s an avid kayaker and backpacker.

Walker is also known as “The Garlic King of Millvale.”

Race In PA’s 18th District To Test How Tax Law Plays With Voters

Feb 12, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

In southwest Pennsylvania, Democratic congressional hopeful Conor Lamb hammers the new Republican tax law as a gift to corporations and the wealthy that will add to the national debt and give the GOP-led Congress an excuse to gut Social Security and Medicare.

Local Thrift Shops Deal With Unwanted Junk

Feb 12, 2018
Dan Gill / AP

Old tires. Dirty mattresses. Broken televisions.

Those are some of the unwanted items people have dumped at local nonprofit thrift stores.

The problem: Thrift stores, which raise money to help people in need by selling donated items, end up spending time and money to dispose of the unusable junk.

"It happens all the time," said Janet Ammons, manager of Goodwill in Washington. "We have generous people who donate very nice items with price tags still on, and then there are other people who leave garbage. Literally."

Open Or Contorted U.S. House Districts May See Biggest Changes

Feb 12, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's high court last month became the first state court to throw out a congressional map because of partisan gerrymandering, a decision that has ignited a scramble to redraw district boundaries as dozens of candidates watch and wait.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Many schools have delayed opening after a blast of snow moved through western Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Public Schools is operating on a 2-hour delay Monday morning. 

Several inches of snow covered roads and slowed motorists in the Pittsburgh area Monday.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Venezuelan authorities say police have rescued the mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz three days after she was kidnapped.

Democrats See Partisanship In GOP Pennsylvania District Map

Feb 11, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania Democrats on Saturday described a revised congressional district map being proposed by Republican leaders as too partisan, citing as evidence the results of the 2016 presidential campaign.

A spokesman for state House Democrats said their analysis of the GOP proposal indicates Republican President Donald Trump would have collected more votes in 13 of 18 districts, one more than he actually did win.

Marc Levy / AP

At its annual winter meeting Saturday, the Pennsylvania Republican Party endorsed York County state Senator Scott Wagner for governor.

The hat-tip gives Wagner a powerful new talking-point as he attempts to unseat Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wagner had a strong lead in straw votes leading up to the endorsement—pulling 175 out of 317 nods from around the state.

Matt Rourke / AP

Teachers, paraprofessionals and technical and clerical employees at Pittsburgh Public Schools are deciding whether to strike for the first time in more than 40 years.

Penn State Trainer Who Testified In Frat Death Case Quits

Feb 9, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penn State said Friday its head football trainer is resigning, a year after he was inside a fraternity house when a pledge suffered fatal injuries during a night of drinking and hazing.

Uber To Pay $245 Million To Settle Waymo's Theft Allegations

Feb 9, 2018
Eric Risberg / AP

Uber is paying $245 million to Google's self-driving car spinoff to end a legal brawl that aired out allegations of a sinister scheme that tore apart the once-friendly companies.

Pennsylvania To Require Voting Machines With Paper Backup

Feb 9, 2018
Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday ordered counties that plan to replace their electronic voting systems to buy machines that leave a paper trail — a safeguard against hacking — but his budget doesn't include any money to fund the replacement of the state's aging, increasingly vulnerable fleet.

Are Pipelines To Blame For Decline In Ancient Salamanders?

Feb 9, 2018
Dave Herasimtschuk / Freshwaters Illustrated

As the natural gas industry matures in our region, construction of big transmission pipelines like the Constitution and the Rover continue make headlines. But there are also thousands of miles of smaller pipelines being built in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to connect drilling well pads to the energy distribution system. These lines have far less oversight and could be having big impacts on smaller streams, and the wildlife that lives there.

Center for Biological Diversity / AP

An environmental group wants couples to think of wild animals before acting like them this Valentine's Day.

The Center for Biological Diversity is handing out endangered species condoms at the Carnegie Science Center's adults-only Valentine's event Friday in Pittsburgh.

The wrappers feature colorful artwork and slogans like "Before it gets any hotter...remember the sea otter," and "Can't refrain? Think of the whooping crane."

The group hopes to show how human population growth negatively affects wildlife.

Obama-Backed Committee Targeting Races In PA, Ohio And Other States

Feb 9, 2018
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

A Democratic group backed by former President Barack Obama said this week it plans to invest millions of dollars in state-level elections in 11 states this year, with its heaviest focus on Ohio.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, said this year's election cycle is critical to affecting the congressional redistricting process. It is the first cycle whose winners will participate in drawing congressional maps for the decade starting in 2021.

Mark Tenally / AP

Pirates president Frank Coonelly says the team is working with authorities to secure the safe return of the mother of catcher Elias Diaz.

Team officials did not specify the circumstances, but Venezuelan media reported Thursday that the 24-year-old player's mother was kidnapped in San Francisco, a city about 430 miles west of Caracas.

Coonelly says in a statement that the team is "shocked and deeply concerned for Elias' mother, as well as for Elias and his entire family."

Diaz played 64 games for Pittsburgh in 2017, hitting .223 with 19 RBIs and 18 runs.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Friday marks two big events: National Pizza Day and the deadline for the state legislature to create a new congressional map and submit it to the governor. (However, lawmakers said Thursday they would not be able to meet the Friday deadline.) 

"Teenie" Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art Heinz Family Fund

Cities like Harlem and Chicago are often associated with “The Great Black Renaissance,” but for a brief  time in the 20th century, Pittsburgh was an epicenter for black art, sports, business and political influence.

Lawmakers Won't Meet Deadline To Vote On Congressional Map

Feb 8, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Legislature said Thursday they would not be able to meet a court-ordered deadline to hold a vote on a replacement map for the state's congressional districts, but that they still hoped to develop a plan in the coming days.

Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved a measure Thursday to help fund new affordable housing units near PPG Paints Arena. 

Mini-Casino Headed For Lawrence County, Along Ohio Border

Feb 8, 2018
Julie Jacobson / AP, file

The family that owns northeastern Pennsylvania's Mount Airy Casino Resort won the rights Thursday to build a mini-casino on the opposite side of the state along the Ohio border, an area that has tried for years to land a casino project.

Pat Sullivan / AP

Since 2016, roughly 700 backlogged rape kits have been tested in Pennsylvania. But the remaining number hovers around 1,200, with some untested kits dating back to the 1990s.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania regulators are fining Sunoco more than $12 million for problems with a massive natural gas pipeline project, but letting work resume under a consent agreement.

The Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday that Sunoco Pipeline has made changes since work on the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline was halted Jan. 3.

The 350-mile project has been plagued by spills and leaks of drilling fluid and improper construction methods.

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