Matt Slocum / AP

Finally Automating The Pennsylvania Turnpike Could Ease Money Woes, But What About Toll Collectors?

The transition to an all-electronic tolling system has been nearly a decade in the making; the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission first commissioned a feasibility study in 2010 . While finally pulling it off could stem the turnpike’s financial bleeding, it raises the specter of mass layoffs for the state’s more than 500 working toll collectors.

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Politics & Government

Matt Rourke / AP

The gender pay gap is one of the more argued-over concepts in politics.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is banking on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's "Restore Pennsylvania" infrastructure plan to fix its aging parks. The governor's plan would be funded by a severance tax to the natural gas industry, something Republicans in the legislature have repeatedly rejected.

As Suburbs Roar, PA Democrats Pick Top 2020 Target

Apr 19, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

To understand Pennsylvania's fast-changing political geography, look no further than Tom Killion.

Science, Health & Tech

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

More mothers are turning to milk banks for pasteurized donor human breast milk to give to needy infants. The organizations collect, test and treat the milk that is later provided to babies who wouldn't otherwise receive its benefits. 

Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY

Gov. Tom Wolf’s PFAS Action Team met with residents in Abington, Pa. on Monday to update them on plans to test water sources across the state for contamination by a toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS.

Identity & Justice

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Three years ago, Aasta Deth of Natrona Heights took her family to Kennywood Park. Her son Sam was 3 years old, and had recently been diagnosed with autism. Sam is particularly sensitive to noise stimulation, which sometimes leads to meltdowns.  

The trip to Kennywood wasn't very positive, Deth said. The family was still learning how to adjust their social outings to accomodate Sam's recent diagnosis. Deth said Sam was very overwhelmed by the noise, lights and crowds at the amusement park. Standing in line was also a challenge because Sam has trouble staying still.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is ending a seven-year lawsuit over a lack of funding for public defense in Luzerne County.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that doesn’t provide any funding or central oversight for criminal defense of its poorest people.

It leaves the job totally up to counties and some, like Luzerne, have been found lacking.  


Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Sixteen-year-old Isabelle Walker sits at a black lab table wearing a lab coat. She stares down at a petri dish.

“We’re trying to see how different bacterial colonies grow in different conditions,” she said. 

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Making Of Pittsburgh's East Busway

Pittsburgh was one of the first cities in the U.S. to experiment with the concept of a dedicated bus rapid transit system. Today, Pittsburgh’s three busways cover nearly 20 miles and help remove thousands of cars from the city’s congested highways.

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Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs / Detre Library & Archives at the History Center

High Water Markers Around Pittsburgh Reminders Of The 1936 Great St. Patrick’s Day Flood

Development & Transportation

Matt Slocum / AP

The transition to an all-electronic tolling system has been nearly a decade in the making; the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission first commissioned a feasibility study in 2010. While finally pulling it off could stem the turnpike’s financial bleeding, it raises the specter of mass layoffs for the state’s more than 500 working toll collectors.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

People walking along Forbes and Fifth avenues, and Ross and Grant streets will start to have a clearer path with less scaffolding as restoration of the Allegheny County Courthouse roof passes the halfway point. 

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Courtesy of University of Pittsburgh Press

Among poets, explicitly writing about one’s own life is rarer than some readers might think. That makes the title of Toi Derricotte’s new book, “‘i’: New and Selected Poems,” a bit unusual. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Visitors to the Historical Society of Carnegie typically come for two reasons: they love former Pittsburgh Pirates great Honus Wagner or they have a connection to the small, southwestern Pennsylvania borough. 

Courtesy of Pennsylvania Resources Council

When people envision a sustainable future, they might think of such industrial-scale, tech-heavy approaches as solar arrays and electric vehicles. But creating a greener civilization also includes strategies as simple as finding new homes for stuff you don’t want any more.

Environment & Energy

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Few legislators are more supportive of Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry than state Sen. Gene Yaw (Bradford), who serves as the Republican chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Emma Lee / WHYY

A renewed legislative effort to curb the use of disposable plastic shopping bags in Pennsylvania is milder than measures enacted or proposed in some other states and may not achieve its goals of reducing waste and cutting the use of fossil fuels even if it becomes law, advocates said.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

At a Duquesne Light facility in Pittsburgh, 10 high school students hunched over sheets of paper, pens in hand, as they sketched their dream homes.

Economy & Business

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has sunk to its lowest-ever recorded level.

Local Headlines

Matt Slocum / AP

The Philadelphia Flyers are covering a statue of singer Kate Smith outside their arena, following the New York Yankees in cutting ties and looking into allegations of racism against the 1930s star with a popular recording of "God Bless America."

Pennsylvania Agency Defends Closure Of Beloved Hiking Trail

Apr 18, 2019
Michael Rubinkam / AP

The Pennsylvania Game Commission said Wednesday that it would cost $1.7 million to make a beloved, well-known hiking trail safe for the public — which is why the agency plans to close it altogether.

The Glen Onoko Falls Trail has proven to be too dangerous, and the game commission has no money to fund safety improvements, said the agency's spokesman, Travis Lau, who confirmed the trail will close indefinitely on May 1.

Food & Drink

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

The production and distribution of food in the U.S. is a lot of work. The industry employed more than one in 10 Americans in 2017, the most recent year for which data were available.

National & International

For years he has played a high-school history teacher who accidentally became president of Ukraine. On Sunday, Ukraine's voters made that fiction a reality.

With nearly all the ballots counted, the 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelenskiy took 73% of the vote, trouncing incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who received less than 25%. Zelenskiy's victory is widely seen as a rebuke of the status quo, a response to perceived corruption within the political establishment, and a reflection of malaise over the lackluster economy and ongoing conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine.

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