News

PA Grand Jury Report On Clergy Child Sexual Abuse Is Public. What’s Next?

Aug 15, 2018
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

More than 300 “predator priests” allegedly sexually abused more than 1,000 victims in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses for decades, while bishops and other high-ranking church officials covered it up and urged victims not to go to the police.

Fly Fishing Is Big In Central PA. Can We Keep It That Way?

Aug 15, 2018
Julie Grant

For people searching for the best fly-fishing spots to catch wild trout in the U.S., central Pennsylvania still makes top 10 lists, despite pollution from agriculture and development. The Allegheny Front went to meet some of the people who are working to keep these premier streams clean.

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It’s just before sunset, and 27-year-old Matt Kowalchuk is standing in the river, near the bank of Penns Creek in central Pennsylvania, not far from State College. He’s a fly-fishing guide, and chooses a leggy-looking lure from his box. It’s meant to catch wild trout.

Courtesy of Bob Rumba

If the phrase “puppetry for adults” sounds either oxymoronic or potentially salacious, the Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh has a show to prove otherwise.

The group’s third annual Puppet Slam and picnic is the local manifestation of a national subculture of puppetry that’s not just for kids, says Cheryl Capezutti, perhaps Pittsburgh’s best-known puppet artist and an organizer of the Slam.

Lavish Court Spending In Poor West Virginia Triggers Scandal

Aug 14, 2018
John Raby / AP

A $42,000 antique desk. A $32,000 blue suede sectional sofa. A $7,500 inlaid wooden floor map of West Virginia's 55 counties.

Matt Rourke / AP

A new grand jury report released Tuesday details widespread sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses, alleging over 300 priests victimized more than 1,000 children over the past six decades, and that church officials took steps to conceal and protect abusive clergymen. 

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

At the South Philadelphia high-tech makers’ space NextFab, creators of all types work on projects using laser cutters, robots, and a room full of 3D printers.

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 Gary Cirrincione, an architect who’s volunteered his skills to rehab housing in Garfield; Siggy Pehel, who helped restore a 50-acre lake in Butler County; and Shannon Merenstein,  the founder of the Hatch Art Studio, a place for children and families to gather and make art in Point Breeze.

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

Report Detailing Widespread Child Sexual Abuse By PA Catholic Clergy Released

Aug 14, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

A long-awaited grand jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania was released Tuesday in an interim, redacted form — detailing decades of alleged misconduct and cover-ups in six of the state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses.

Bill Bradley / Wikimedia Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced rule changes allowing the manufacture of new products containing asbestos after they undergo EPA review.

Pennsylvania Catholic Church Abuse Report To Be Released Tuesday Afternoon

Aug 14, 2018
Susan Walsh / AP

Time is ticking down to a court-ordered deadline Tuesday afternoon to decide what information to black out in a forthcoming grand jury report investigating child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Authorities say a Pittsburgh police officer was injured when his cruiser crashed into a barrier.

The single-vehicle accident occurred around 5:45 a.m. Tuesday. The officer was alone in the cruiser at the time, and no other injuries were reported in the crash.

The officer was taken to a local hospital in stable condition. But his name and further details on his injuries have not been disclosed.

It wasn't clear if the officer was responding to a call at the time of the crash.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

As midterms approach, Republicans and Democrats around the country are looking at special election results for clues on how their candidates will do in November.

A new Associated Press analysis shows Democrats, so far, have an enthusiasm advantage.

And in Pennsylvania, Democrats are trying to capitalize on that.

There have been ten special elections since Donald Trump became president. The final one before the midterms was last Tuesday in Ohio.

Charles Krupa / AP

As Pennsylvania’s Democratic Socialists get ready to have some of their own in the state House next legislative session, they’re also looking to broaden their coalition.

Casey, Barletta Spar Over Medicare Vote

Aug 13, 2018
Screenshot/Bob Casey for Senate

In a new campaign ad, Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey attacks his opponent, Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta for his vote seven years ago to restructure the Medicare program. Barletta's campaign says the ad is repeating a proven lie.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

By including more pipelines in Pennsylvania’s one-call law and creating a more robust enforcement system, state officials hope to cut down on incidents where residents or excavators accidentally hit pipelines and cables when digging underground.

Those incidents happen 6,000 times per year in Pennsylvania. Before they dig, residents and contractors are required to dial 8-1-1 and ask for utility companies with lines or cables in their area to come out and mark the locations.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania is dedicating more money to repair roads damaged by the cold season as part of its Resurface PA initiative. The program was started by Gov. Tom Wolf in May to patch damage from the winter season. 

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.

Matt Rourke / AP

Overnight rains triggered flash flooding in parts of central and eastern Pennsylvania on Monday, closing down a heavily traveled interstate and sending water into homes in the mountainous coal regions.

Charles Bonner
Brian Cook / 90.5 WESA

Flanked by children as he walks the perimeter of the Ammons Community Recreation Center in the Hill District, Charles Bonner makes his way to the Olympic-size swimming pool. He unlocks security gates, checks chlorine levels and proceeds to greet enthusiastic attendees of his summer swimming program.

The 28-year-old Bonner serves as head lifeguard at Ammons, a job he said he’s been preparing for since he was a teenager.

“Starting back in 2005, I was a program counselor,” Bonner said. “One of the positions I had to have was lifeguarding. It was actually my first job."

Toxins Turning Up In Dozens Of Public Water Systems

Aug 13, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household.

Mark / Flickr

A new analysis estimates that Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana market will rake in $60 million in revenue this year, a number that's expected to quadruple to about $240 million by 2020.

Church Abuse Report, 2 Years In The Works, May Soon Be Released

Aug 13, 2018
Andrew Rush / AP

A damning report into allegations of decades of child sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members and efforts to cover it up in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses is expected to be released in the coming days.

The public disclosure of the findings, the result of an almost two-year grand jury investigation, has been delayed while some of the people named in the report have launched legal challenges, arguing the report is inaccurate and releasing it in its current form would violate their constitutional rights to their reputations and to due process of law.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

As person after person stepped through the door of Peace, Love and Zen – a wellness center  in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood last week, they joined the awkward circle people make when they expect to be members of an audience. They were lit by the gentle glow of the wellness center’s Himalayan salt lamps, set into cubbies near the ceiling.

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

Josh McIntyre moved to Pittsburgh two years ago after growing up in Latrobe, Pa. Standing in a back aisle of the North Side’s Giant Eagle on Cedar Avenue during a quiet evening, he said the store is the sole option in the neighborhood.

Erie's Mushroom Kingdom: Exotic Mushrooms Abound

Aug 11, 2018
Tory Talbot / AP

Pennsylvania is far and away the largest producer of mushrooms in the U.S., mostly the white "button" variety, grown on 68 farms mostly in the Philadelphia region. That's been true for generations.

Now, for many reasons — Americans' widening interest for food grown and produced locally, a focus on low-carb diets, and encouragement of farmers by the USDA to monetize their forests — exotic mushrooms are sprouting up in this neck of the woods.

Schizoform / flickr

State wildlife officers have seized three king cobras among the more than 300 reptiles kept in a New York home.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The union representing Giant Eagle workers has ratified a new three-year contract with the regional grocer.

Jason Eppink / flickr

Pennsylvania plans to restore general assistance cash payments this fall for poor or disabled Pennsylvanians following a state Supreme Court decision.

How You Recycle Plastic Is About To Change

Aug 10, 2018
Courtesy of Waste Managment

The global market for recycling has changed dramatically over the last year. And it’s already trickling down to what happens curbside.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

A state agency has said it’s willing to let Pennsylvania’s capitol keep its uncommonly high taxes through 2020—the latest development in a battle between the city and state over how it’ll pay its bills after losing its “distressed municipality” status.

The city, however, is hoping it gets to keep its special taxing authority permanently.

The new tax option comes in the latest version of Harrisburg’s Act 47 exit plan, delivered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

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