90.5 WESA Features and Special Reports

Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA

The Norfolk Southern tracks in Pittsburgh have now been cleared after seven cars from a Norfolk Southern train derailed and crashed into the Station Square light rail stop.

TSA via AP

  State officials say they've successfully stopped a company that makes 3D downloadable guns from making them internet-accessible in Pennsylvania and from uploading new files. But the halt is temporary.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The June shooting death of  Antwon Rose, an unarmed black 17-year-old, by Michael Rosfeld, a white East Pittsburgh police officer, continues to have political, policy and policing repercussions.

In addition to protests large and small, as well as various community meetings since Rose's death:

David Zalubowski / AP

It’s now up to Common Pleas Senior Judge Terrence O’Brien whether to order the city and Allegheny County to release details of their bid to lure Amazon’s second headquarters, or HQ2, to Pittsburgh. 

Democrats across Pennsylvania have a new party leader.  Nancy Patton Mills was elected Saturday as chairwoman of the State Democratic Committee as candidates are gearing up for critical races for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress and the state legislature.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The number of women in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Allegheny County will likely triple after November’s general election—from one to three. That’s because Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee upset longtime Democrat incumbents Dom Costa and his cousin Paul Costa in the May 15 primary election. 

Megan Farmer / KUOW

Officials from Amazon visited Pittsburgh for a one-day trip about a month ago, Mayor Bill Peduto has confirmed. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The play and words are heating up between the Penguins and the Washington Capitals in their Stanley Cup playoff series after the Caps' Tom Wilson broke the jaw of Penguin Zach Aston-Reese with a hit to the head in Tuesday's 4-3 Washington victory. Penguin players were furious because moments after the hit, Wilson could be seen laughing on the bench while Aston-Reese was sprawled on the ice. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gun-rights supporters crowded into the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg Monday to rally for their Second Amendment rights.

Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) organized the annual event and said “the left is out of control” in proposing restrictions.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County will re-submit an application in September for federal funding for the proposed Bus Rapid Transit project.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

While PennDOT and local authorities are dealing with a destructive landslide that collapsed a stretch of Route 30 near East Pittsburgh and forced 30 people from their homes, the city of  Pittsburgh continues to address  a “record year for landslides” in the city.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Twenty consecutive losing seasons, followed by three years of making the playoffs, and now the Pirates will try to avoid a third straight losing season.  

Toby Talbot / AP

With more than 650 drug fatalities in 2017, Allegheny County broke the record for fatal overdoses set the previous year, which in turn broke the record established in 2015.

Piotrus / Wikimedia Commons

The controversial Stephen Foster Memorial, which many have described as racist, is scheduled to be removed from Schenley Plaza in Oakland next month. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and his Task Force on Women in Public Art want to fill that vacated space with a statue honoring an African American Pittsburgh woman.

“Of all the sculptures and statues throughout the entire city of Pittsburgh, there is not one that recognizes an African-American woman, not one in the entire city,” Peduto said.

Tom Wolf / Flickr

Three weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead, there seems to be some momentum for action on gun reform bills in Congress and in the legislatures of states, including Florida and Pennsylvania.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Friday is the deadline for city leaders to either comply with or appeal to the Court of Common Pleas an order from the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records to reveal details of its application to have Amazon establish its second headquarters in Pittsburgh. 

Brian Siewiorek / 90.5 WESA

After 14 years of being designated "financially distressed," on Monday the city of Pittsburgh exited Act 47 state oversight of its finances. State officials hailed the city's return to fiscal good health.

90.5 WESA's Kevin Gavin spoke with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto about the city's financial future.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

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

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh loves its sports heroes, and they often love the city back. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Katharine Eagan Kelleman began her new job Tuesday as the CEO of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. She takes over at a time when the transit agency has a lot on its plate, everything from a proposal to build a Bus Rapid Transit link between downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland and beyond, to devising a cashless fare enforcement system that doesn’t profile certain riders.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Steelers ended the season earlier than many fans were hoping for, with a 45-42 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, and one person who was definitely paying attention was NPR Morning Edition host David Greene.  

Greene spent just six years of his childhood in Pittsburgh, but still considers Pittsburgh to be his home and the Steelers to be his team. He spoke to 90.5 WESA's biggest sports fan, Kevin Gavin, about how his time in Pittsburgh shaped parts of his life.

 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA


  Fourteen years after entering Act 47, the city of Pittsburgh appears to be very close to exiting the program, which places financially distressed municipalities under state oversight.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is halfway through his second term in office. 90.5 WESA's Kevin Gavin sat down with Fitzgerald to discuss his goals for the county in 2018.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

KEVIN GAVIN: Let's start with what you think were the major developments during 2017 before we start talking about the new year. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

When Bill Peduto is sworn in to his second term as mayor of Pittsburgh Jan. 3, Kevin Acklin will no longer be his chief of staff. 

Acklin, a corporate attorney, announced last week he’s returning to the private sector.

But Peduto is not only losing his chief of staff. Over the last four years, Acklin also served as the city’s chief economic development officer.

“It's hard to replace someone that's irreplaceable,” Peduto said. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has warned that Republican efforts to cap Medicaid funding would cost the state billions of dollars, and that might impact senior citizens in nursing homes.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In many developing countries, families routinely cook on open fires, often in poorly ventilated homes. According to the World Health Organization, the smoke from those fires lead to the premature death of more than 4 million people each year.

In rural Uganda, families often burn dried banana leaves.

"Which doesn’t combust very well, so it’s very inefficient so it makes a lot of smoke,” said Josh Shapiro, an engineer with Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab

Ally Rugierri / 90.5 WESA

The Peduto administration unveiled the city’s first EcoInnovation District plan Tuesday, focusing on the Uptown and West Oakland neighborhoods.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Artificial lungs have been around for decades, but they’re usually large devices that force the patient to remain in a hospital bed until their lungs improve or they’re able to undergo a lung transplant. 

But University of Pittsburgh Medical Devices Laboratory Director Bill Federspiel has developed a more mobile, wearable device.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Oxygen is something that many of us take for granted. But many people with breathing disorders can't take it in on their own -- and it's especially difficult for people living in poor and remote parts of the world. 

Scientist Wendy Zhang recalled the difficult decisions a physician in Gabon, Africa had to make as the result of limited resources. 

"On some, she had to make the heart-wrenching decision of which baby to live and which baby to die just because they don’t have oxygen to supply both,” Zhang said.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The implementation of cashless fares on the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s light rail system has been put on hold until the interim CEO completes a review of concerns about the process.

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