WESA Local News

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that it will release a Forever Stamp featuring America's favorite neighbor, television icon Mister Rogers.

The title character of the half-hour children's educational television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred Rogers "was known as a beloved television neighbor to generations of children," a statement from USPS said. The stamp is scheduled to be unveiled March 23, 50 years after the original episode of the series aired in the U.S. in 1968.

A Library Without Books? Universities Purging Dusty Volumes

Feb 7, 2018
Michael Rubinkam / AP

A library without books? Not quite, but as students abandon the stacks in favor of online reference material, university libraries are unloading millions of unread volumes in a nationwide purge that has some print-loving scholars deeply unsettled.

Pennsylvania Redistricting Decision Gives Democrats A Boost

Feb 7, 2018
Googlemaps

Pennsylvania already figured prominently in Democrats' attempt to win back control of the U.S. House. A decision this week in a long-running redistricting case is set to give those efforts a boost.

Matt Rourke / AP

Bill Cosby's lawyers say they'll need to postpone his April 2 sexual assault retrial if some of his other accusers are allowed to testify.

The comedian's lawyers said in a court filing Tuesday that they'll seek a delay to allow them more time to investigate allegations from the 19 women prosecutors are seeking to call as witnesses.

Amtrak Engineer Ordered To Stand Trial In Deadly Philadelphia Rail Crash

Feb 6, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian sat stunned Tuesday as a judge reinstated twice-rejected criminal charges and ordered him to stand trial for a deadly 2015 train wreck in Philadelphia.

Judge Kathryn S. Lewis ruled that another judge erred in dismissing the reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter charges at a hearing in September.

Lewis said evidence at the hearing — including testimony from an injured passenger and gruesome details of tattered cars and strewn limbs — should have been sufficient to warrant a trial.

Matt Rourke / AP

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to intervene in the case requiring Pennsylvania lawmakers to draw new congressional districts before the May primary, there’s just three days left to create a new map.

Music Everywhere

As a kid, Seth Glickman, like many people, learned to play the piano by taking lessons with a teacher. He was talented, and he went on to become a music instructor himself, but later Glickman questioned whether in-person lessons were the best approach for everyone who wanted to learn.

"What about the people for whom that doesn't work?" said Glickman.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburgh is expected to get as much as 5 inches of snow overnight and into Wednesday morning's commute – and the city says it's prepared.

Wolf Renews Battles On Natural Gas, Minimum Wage In Budget

Feb 6, 2018
Chris Knight / AP

  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's election-year budget plan unveiled Tuesday will renew battles with the Republican-controlled Legislature over imposing a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas and increasing the minimum wage.

Updated on Feb. 6 at 3:49 p.m. ET

Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they've identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago.

Cosby's Lawyers: We Were Wrong About Hidden-Evidence Claim

Feb 6, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Bill Cosby's lawyers admitted Monday that they wrongly accused prosecutors in his criminal sexual-assault case of withholding evidence — an assertion seething prosecutors blasted as "outrageous and reckless."

Members of Cosby's retooled defense team acknowledged in a court filing that they made the bold, headline-grabbing claim last month without realizing prosecutors had already told Cosby's former lawyer about interviewing a woman who cast doubt on his accuser.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania state representatives are moving closer to a vote that would let the public decide whether to trim about a quarter of their own members.

The state House on Monday turned down a series of proposed changes to the constitutional amendment.

Amendments at this stage could prevent the constitutional referendum from being put before the state's voters this year.

A final vote in the House and passage by the Senate are still required.

The referendum would cut the size of the state House of Representatives from 203 to 151 members.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Attorneys general in over a dozen states oppose a federal Department of Labor proposal to let employers control the tips of some hourly employees.

The attorneys general filed comments in opposition with federal officials on Monday.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called the proposal that rescinds a 2011 rule "outrageous" and likened it to wage theft.

The plan applies to employees paid the federal minimum wage, which is $7.75 an hour. In Illinois, about half a million workers could be affected.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf is releasing his fourth budget proposal Tuesday. 

It will lay out his preferences for spending and funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The plan—and reception from republicans—isn’t expected to be quite as contentious as in past years, because negotiations are beginning as Wolf and many other state lawmakers are running for reelection, or for higher office.

That’s significant, because the budget impasses that have lately plagued Pennsylvania typically aren’t great for poll numbers. Wolf—and other candidates—stand to gain if everyone agrees.

Map from the office of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack

Pennsylvania Republicans have lost what was likely their best shot at getting out of redrawing congressional maps, after the state Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Before school starts at 7:30 a.m., Daunteeka Smith drops her daughter off at the Early Head Start Center on the first floor of Westinghouse High School.

Eagles Get Hero's Welcome After Winning First Ever Super Bowl Title

Feb 5, 2018
Julia Cortez / AP

Fresh off their first Super Bowl title, the Philadelphia Eagles arrived home to a hero's welcome Monday afternoon, hours after overjoyed fans mobbed the streets in a sometimes unruly victory celebration nearly 60 years in the making.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A violent crime committed with a firearm in Pennsylvania holds a mandatory five-year sentence tacked onto any other convictions for the same incident. State Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny County) wants to amend this law to make sure those sentences are served one after another.

"What's happening is, the judges are running them concurrently instead of consecutively, and the [additional] five years don't mean anything," DeLuca said.

In Blow To GOP, Supreme Court Won't Block PA Redistricting

Feb 5, 2018
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let a court-ordered redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania proceed, denying a plea from Republicans legislative leaders to block it.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Jayne Miller, the Former head of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, is joining the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy this week.

Miller will become only the second President and CEO in the history of the Pittsburgh nonprofit. She will succeed conservancy founder Meg Cheever, who will retire in March. Miller headed The Minneapolis Park System for seven years. For five of those years, it was ranked the No. 1 park system in the nation.

Neville Green

On a winter day on Neville Island, Dorothy Antonelli sits at the dining room table of her home, flipping through printed pictures. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh education advocacy group is coordinating organizations that could care for children in the event of a teacher strike.

Wolf Aims For Smooth Landing For Election-Year Budget

Feb 5, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will roll out his fourth and final first-term budget proposal, an election-year plan expected to be relatively restrained after three years dominated by drawn-out partisan fights with the Republican-controlled Legislature over how to plug gaping deficits.

Mark Lennihan / AP

Wherever Amazon chooses to locate its second North American headquarters, or HQ2, the company expects to hire 50,000 people over the next 10 to 15 years.

Mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries to treat everything from asthma to gout.

Now they're being marketed in the West as functional or medicinal mushrooms that can prevent cancer or stimulate higher brain function, but there are relatively few trials in humans to back up these claims.

FracTracker Alliance

Gov. Tom Wolf drew support from both environmentalists and energy insiders when he promised to ease the state's permit application backlog and better enforce regulations by hiring 35 more Department of Environmental Protection inspectors.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Vice President Mike Pence on Friday continued the effort of national Republicans to boost Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R - Elizabeth) in the special election to represent the 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh. It's part of their bid to maintain a majority in Congress through the midterm elections this year.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Some LGBT advocates are discouraging Amazon from building its second headquarters in states that don’t have full discrimination protection laws– including Pennsylvania.

GOP Accuses Justice Of Bias In Bid To Save Election Map

Feb 2, 2018
WHYY

Pennsylvania legislative Republican leaders say a Democratic justice's comments about gerrymandering should require him to remove himself from a case challenging the state's congressional district map.

Keith Srakocic / AP

There are sports rivalries, and then there are teams that Pittsburgh fans love to hate.

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