Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Postal Workers Rally In Pittsburgh Against White House Plan To Privatize

About 2,000 postal workers rallied Tuesday outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, protesting a Trump administration proposal to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is holding their biennial convention in Pittsburgh.

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Politics & Government

Matt Rourke / AP

Amid the fallout from the massive grand jury investigation into sex abuse by Pennsylvania clergy, victim advocates and others are waiting to see how state lawmakers will respond.

Early responses indicate some of the most significant reforms will still face roadblocks.

Mark Rozzi, a Berks County Democrat who says a priest raped him when he was a teenager, has spent several years pushing bills to extend or eliminate Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on sexual abuse.

Manel Balce Ceneta / AP

A coalition of activists intent on shutting down the Berks County Residential Center is trying to convince Governor Tom Wolf to take more extreme action on the issue.

All summer, they’ve held regular rallies at the state Capitol in an effort to drive their point home. And at the latest one on Monday they renewed their call for Wolf to issue an Emergency Removal Order.

Berks is one of three facilities operated by the federal government to hold undocumented migrant families. The smallest of the three—and the only one not in Texas—it has a maximum capacity under 100 people.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

General assistance, a state-funded cash program created to help Pennsylvania’s poorest residents, will start issuing benefits again next month, six years after lawmakers voted to eliminate it.

The Department of Human Services, which will oversee the program, is in the process of updating its internal systems and training staff, said spokesman Colin Day.

A form of welfare, the mandated program provided $205 a month to people with no other income.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Warning: This story contains dog puns.

 

 


It’s the dog days of summer, and both Republicans and Democrats are embracing pet causes to win voters.

Science, Health & Tech

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Every minute, 1 million plastic bottles fly off store shelves and into the hands of consumers. More than 90 percent of these are not recycled, winding up in landfills or waterways. Thread aims to help reduce the amount of cast away plastic bottles by using them to make fabric.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Similar to infant changing tables, an adult changing table is basically a cot, but one that’s sturdy enough to support several hundred pounds of weight, and can be adjusted for height. Many people may be unaware that these tables even exist, in part because there are so few of them. But they’re necessary.

Identity & Justice

Google

One month after an Avalon man was assaulted in a neighborhood bar, the community is looking for answers about the authority’s handling of the racially-fueled attack.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Former members of a Penn State fraternity are due in court for a preliminary hearing on charges related to the February 2017 death of a pledge after a night of hazing and drinking.

The hearing Tuesday before a district judge will determine if there's enough evidence to send charges against several of the defendants in the case to county court for trial. It could last several days.

It'll be the third preliminary hearing for the defendants and the fourth overall involving the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey.

Education

New PA School Safety Funding On Track For March 2019

Aug 16, 2018
Dana DiFilippo / WHYY

Pennsylvania state lawmakers say they’re awaiting feedback from the state’s 500 school districts and 300 private school entities before they can disburse the first wave of funding to improve school safety. They expect to distribute the money by March 2019.

The funds are part of Act 44, a bipartisan bill signed into law in the months after the Parkland, Florida school shooting that killed 17 people.

Forget 'Kumbaya:' Camp Kids Help Fight Spotted Lanternfly

Aug 13, 2018
PA Dept. of Agriculture

Summer camp is a place for friendship bracelets, nature walks and bug juice.

But at one program in southeast Pennsylvania, children were given a whole new experience.

They were taught how to find, then crush the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that has become enemy No. 1 in the state.

The weeklong program, themed Hunt for the Spotted Lanternfly, was created by Centro Cultural Latinos Unidos, a Pottstown group, in partnership with other organizations.

About 27 children and their families participated in the program that ended on a recent Friday.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Rise And Fall Of Pittsburgh's Inclines

Giddy crowds of kids from a local summer camp recently gathered in the lobby of the Duquesne Incline’s upper station on Mount Washington.

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Development & Transportation

Google Maps

For most of its history, Hazelwood was a hopping place: it had LTV Steel’s coke works, a trolley line to downtown, a busy shopping district. But like a lot of neighborhoods, Hazelwood suffered during Pittsburgh’s economic decline.

PlanPhilly

Outside Courtroom 426, a small shoal of bicycle-safety advocates gathered in a semicircle, seemingly dazed by their unexpected good fortune.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Joe Sheehan

It isn’t exactly jazz, but has its roots in jazz – and in West Africa.

That’s the fast take on the new album Songs of Lake Volta: Ghanaian Traditional Music Reimagined by Pittsburgh band Kinetic, headed by pianist and composer Joe Sheehan.

Franklin photo by Dan Dion

JC Coccoli grew up Catholic in McKees Rocks – and while she hasn’t lived in Pennsylvania for years, she too is kind of upset about the grand jury report that alleged sex abuse in the church.

Environment & Energy

Pennsylvania Millennials Are Buzzing About Beekeeping

Aug 20, 2018
Danny Johnston / AP

Every few days, Sam Torres heads to Glen Foerd in Northeast Philadelphia to check his beehives. He gets there about 8 a.m. because bees get up with the sun, and goes through the hives carefully to make sure his "girls" — beehives are a bona fide matriarchy at 85 to 90 percent female — are doing just fine. Smoker in hand, Torres looks at how many cells the bees have capped with wax, meaning that they've filled them with honey, and observes the larvae that will eventually grow into worker bees that clean and forage for the hive.

Economy & Business

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

About 2,000 postal workers rallied Tuesday outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, protesting a Trump administration proposal to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is holding their biennial convention in Pittsburgh.

Local Headlines

The 90 Neighborhoods, 90 Good Stories Podcast introduces you to people in the Pittsburgh area, who are striving to make their community a better place to live.

This episode, we speak with a trio of motherss in Bellevue who put together a farmer’s market in seriously speedy fashion; Dorothy Antonelli, who works to maintain Neville Island's environment; and Steven Sadvary, a Stowe Township resident and artists who specializes in mosaics.

90.5 WESA Celebrates 90 Neighborhoods, 90 Good Stories, is sponsored by UPMC.

Boatwright
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

In an effort to eliminate barriers to accessing mental health care, West End social worker Julius Boatwright engages people in street conversations about mental health wellness in the communities in and around Pittsburgh.  Boatwright is the founder of the Pittsburgh nonprofit Steel Smiling, a mental health resource provider.

Below are excerpts from his conversation with 90.5 WESA’s Elaine Effort for our series 90.5 WESA Celebrates: 90 Neighborhoods, 90 Good Stories.

Food & Drink

Greg Roth / Penn State University

Last month, Pennsylvania saw the most recorded rainfall in a July. For many farmers in the state, the intense precipitation is part of a pattern of weather changes they are trying to adapt to.

A new report out of Penn State University says corn production in the Southeastern part of the state could be especially vulnerable in the coming decades.

National & International

Lions and tigers and bears are now roaming free – on the box for Barnum's Animals.

For more than a century, the animal cracker packaging has shown the mighty beasts locked behind bars in a circus boxcar.

A spokesperson for Mondelez International, Nabisco's parent company, said it was time for a change.

"To continue to make the brand relevant for years to come, we felt this was the right time for the next evolution in our design, now showing the animals in a natural habitat," said Mondelez's Kimberly Fontes.

Stories from National Partners

Next month, Danish shipping company Maersk will launch the first container ship on an Arctic Ocean route. The 3,600-container ice vessel will travel from Vladivostok in eastern Russia all the way to St. Petersburg in the west using the Northern Sea Route. That's a shipping lane running across Russia's northern coast.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

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