WESA Local News

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. 

Courtesy of Sylvia Rhor

Rob Rogers' cartoons have been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for more than 20 years. And as Pat Bagley can tell you, some friction with editors is part of the job.

Philadelphia Eagles Coach Says He Wanted To Go To The White House

Jun 6, 2018
Matt Slocum / AP

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he was looking forward to going to the White House to be recognized as Super Bowl champions but he wouldn't further discuss a visit that was canceled by President Donald Trump.

"I was looking forward to going down, obviously," Pederson said Wednesday. "We did something last season that was very special, a milestone in the city of Philadelphia and for our organization. I was looking forward to being recognized as world champions. It is what it is."

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Pennsylvania high school students may soon be facing a new test on civics knowledge, but they won't have to pass it in order to graduate.

The House on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly for a bill that mandates a locally developed test of U.S. history, government and civics.

Those who get a perfect score will qualify for a certificate developed by the state Education Department.

Schools will have to report how many students were deemed to have passed the test.

Supporters say there's an alarming lack of civics knowledge among American adults.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a public hearing Tuesday, many residents threw their support behind a plan to permanently rezone the city's waterfronts, while others expressed concern over how the new zoning could affect their residences or businesses. 

House OKs Bill To Relax Rules For Shallow Gas, Oil Drilling

Jun 6, 2018
Joe Ulrich / WITF

A Republican bill to relax regulations on the shallow oil and gas drilling that has gone on in Pennsylvania for more than a century passed the state House Tuesday despite firm opposition from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

The GOP-majority chamber voted 111-84 for a proposal that covers permits, rules for wells, spills and enforcement for drilling that does not include the much deeper wells tapping into the Marcellus Shale formation.

The Breathe Project

A new initiative aims to employ citizen scientists to monitor air pollution created at U.S. Steel Corporation plants located in the Mon Valley.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

On Tuesday, a state House bill that would overhaul congressional map-drawing was assigned to an unusual committee—circumventing a different panel where such proposals have repeatedly been struck down.

It’s the latest in a series of spasms toward changing Pennsylvania’s oft-disparaged redistricting process.

But lawmakers are quickly running out of time to close the deal.

The new bill is the brainchild of Dave Reed—the GOP majority leader who is departing the House at the end of this year.

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

  

Rachel Sager is the accidental owner of a coal mine. She purchased property near her hometown in Perryopolis, Pa., three years ago.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Street photography is its own artistic discipline -- one in which 13 local high school kids got a crash course recently with a world-renowned shooter. Some of the results are on display this week at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The current Pennsylvania budget, which ends June 30, was more than four months late in being completed. Two years earlier, in Gov. Tom Wolf’s first year in office, the budget impasse lasted nearly nine months.

In February, Wolf unveiled a $33 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2019. That’s a $1 billion increase, or 3 percent over the current budget. 

There’s been little political rancor over the budget this year, compared to last when the governor and legislature were wrestling with a $2 billion deficit.

Courtesy of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

A controversial judicial nominee from Pittsburgh is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing Wednesday. David Porter was nominated to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Trump in April.

Google Maps

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials expect to begin modifying Schenley Park by 2019 to address flooding in Four Mile Run, a section of Greenfield. 

Carnegie Mellon University

Robots are able to perform a wide variety of tasks, from providing companionship to senior citizens to searching for survivors in the rubble of an earthquake, but they can't always reflect on how well they performed. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

A public-private partnership with the Ford Motor Company aims to help Pittsburgh identify and solve its most pressing mobility challenges through a City of Tomorrow Challenge, Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday.

Building A Better Bat Cave

Jun 5, 2018
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

To save the bats of Pennsylvania, Greg Turner wants to build a better bat cave. Turner is a biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. His latest renovation project is a cave under a hillside in Central Pennsylvania. Indian Caverns used to be commercial cave, and there’s still an abandoned gift shop with fake display plants. It closed last year, and now the state is in the process of acquiring it as a way to preserve bats.

Michael Rubinkam / AP

For several years, a hog farm in Luzerne County has been under legal fire for emitting a stench that people say can make the surrounding area almost unlivable.

A lawsuit is now awaiting consideration before the state Supreme Court.

But the outlook isn’t good—and that’s largely because Pennsylvania law makes it near-impossible to sue farms for nuisances like smells.

Matt Rourke / AP

State Representative Mark Mustio (R-44) of Allegheny County is fronting a charge to repeal Philadelphia's soda tax, and prevent similar actions from taking place elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

City of Pittsburgh

It’s the first full week for the City of Pittsburgh’s annual line-up of free outdoor summer events, including concerts and films.

Court Orders Records Unsealed In Penn State Officials' Case

Jun 4, 2018
AP

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Monday ordered the release of documents sealed in the criminal case against former Penn State administrators over their handling of child sex abuse complaints about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The three-judge Superior Court panel's unanimous decision concerned many of the more than 200 records sealed in the case against former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.

Scott Wagner Leaves Senate, Vowing To Work To Fix PA's Problems

Jun 4, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Scott Wagner, who once warned that he would carry a baseball bat into Pennsylvania's Senate to get things done, bid farewell Monday to the institution that he had barged into as a write-in candidate four years earlier to concentrate on his Republican campaign for governor.

Wagner, who will challenge Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's re-election bid in November, told the chamber's members in a 15-minute farewell speech that he had gone to the Senate to change the culture.

Now, he said, he can do more as governor.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh police training now includes a half-day session on the role of law enforcement in Nazi Germany.

Report: Draft Memo Points To Trump Invoking National Security In Bailing Out Coal, Nuclear

Jun 4, 2018
Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Trump administration could invoke two seldom-used laws to save faltering coal and nuclear plants, according to a Bloomberg News report. The plan would force electricity grid operators to pay more for electricity from coal and nuclear plants, which have struggled to compete in the electricity market, the report says, and would be an “unprecedented intervention into U.S. energy markets.”

Chris Gardner / AP

Pennsylvania's newest prison has been formally dedicated near Philadelphia and officials say they will start transferring inmates there this month.

Lawmakers and other officials gathered Friday to dedicate the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix.

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