Bizuayehu Tesfaye / AP

Computer Scientist Who Outed J.K. Rowling’s Pseudonym Uses Program To Preserve Writers’ Anonymity

A computer scientist at Duquesne University is working to develop software that strips unique words and phrases from a piece writing to preserve anonymity for the author.

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Politics & Government

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Assault weapons and some types of ammunition and accessories would be banned in Pittsburgh under new legislation to be introduced to City Council Tuesday. A third bill in the package would temporarily prohibit a person from having guns if a family member or law enforcement deems the person to be a risk to themselves or others.

Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

A longtime Allegheny County judge has resigned in the wake of her removal from two sex offender cases due to alleged bias.

Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel submitted her resignation Thursday.

The 72-year-old served on the bench for 33 years and has been praised for her compassion toward victims of sex crimes.

But twice in the last month the state Superior Court removed McDaniel from sex offenders' sentencing proceedings for allegedly showing bias against the defendants and their attorneys.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office didn’t have much to say when it released a scathing grand-jury report on how the city of Pittsburgh investigates police shootings last Friday.

Science, Health & Tech

Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvania is making it easier for doctors to provide treatment for opioid addiction. 

Identity & Justice

Jacqueline Larma / AP

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie says that it will soon start accepting claims for compensation by survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy.

‘I Killed My Best Friend’: Opioids’ Fatal Grip On Young Mayor, Pal

Dec 14, 2018
Michael Bunner / via AP

Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old, just resigned mayor of the tiny Pennsylvania town of Mount Carbon — in what she assumed was a deep sleep. 

Education

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Over the last few years, Melody Ray has fielded many calls seeking advice on how to talk to kids about addiction and overdose. 

Pennsylvania's New List Of Struggling Schools Looks Beyond Usual Suspects

Dec 13, 2018
Alberto G / flickr

Pennsylvania released a list of 289 struggling schools Thursday that will have to develop "improvement plans" with the direction of state advisers.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

What's Behind The Scenes Of The Carnegie Museum Of Natural History?

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is expansive — a person could spend hours walking the different exhibitions. But what's on display is only a small portion of what's in the museum's possession.

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Pittsburgh City Photographer / University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Almost Had The Most Billboards In The Country

Development & Transportation

Googlemaps

The first major allocation of money from the Housing Opportunity Fund was approved Thursday. The loans will go towards more than 200 affordable housing units.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

Port Authority buses and trains arrive on schedule less than 70 percent of the time, according to a new report from state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. While there’s room to improve, DePasquale acknowledged that the agency has come a long way.

In 2014, his office released an audit that covered 2007 to 2012. Port Authority’s fiscal house was really out of whack, he said.

“What gets me rolling is when you’re giving a former executive director free housing, a free car, while cutting routes,” DePasquale said. “That gets my blood boiling.”

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Nick Childers / Associated Artists of Pittsburgh

 

It's the oldest, continuously exhibiting visual arts membership organization in the country, boasting alumni like Andy Warhol, Mary Cassat, Samuel Rosenberg and Rochelle Blumenfeld, and works of its 600-plus modern members will be available to view and purchase all over Pittsburgh in 2019.

Photo by Seth Caplan

Some side-eye. A curt “gurrrl, please.” A sarcastically drawn-out “ohhh-kaay.” These are just a few manifestations of shade, that versatile conversational tool long used by African-American woman and gay men. Thanks in part to reality TV, shade has spread in the culture, and Rashaad Newsome has seen a disturbing outcome: White people who casually throw shade also stereotype black people who do the same as “ghetto.”

Environment & Energy

Fighting Air Pollution With Stories And Friendship

Dec 14, 2018
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Miriam Maletta opens her hair salon in Clairton, southeast of Pittsburgh, at 11 a.m. on Thursdays. Amid boxes piled boxes piled up on padded chairs, and her Yorkie, Neyno, who dances in little circles on the linoleum floor, Maletta says her salon is finally getting a facelift. She’s been in business for 34 years and she has lived in Clairton all of her life. That’s evident as a cousin or a nephew stops by the shop to drop off Christmas donations for a local family she’s helping, or just to check in.

Googlemaps

An explosion and fire at a MarkWest energy facility in Washington County has left several people with injuries.

Economy & Business

Keith Srakocic / AP

Two more casinos in Pennsylvania have started up with sports betting.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, break ground on smaller locations in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and over the next three years will expand in Pittsburgh, New York and Colorado.

Local Headlines

Micahel Rubinkam / AP

A Pennsylvania state police trooper who was shot in a 2014 ambush has had his right leg amputated below the knee.

Trooper Alex Douglass underwent the surgery this week at a New York City hospital.

His friend Earl Granville says Douglass had some medical complications with his leg and decided to amputate it to improve his quality of life.

Granvillle, a veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan, says he and Douglass completed the New York City Marathon handcycle event last month. He says Douglass should be able to run marathons now with a prosthetic.

Fort Carson Public Affairs Office / AP

The body of a second Pennsylvania serviceman killed in Afghanistan has returned home.

Food & Drink

Gene J. Puskar / AP

SNAP benefits, sometimes referred to as food stamps, were in a precarious position until this week when Congress approved a compromise on a 10-year, $867 billion farm bill that no longer requires recipients to meet a work requirement as previously proposed. 

National & International

Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, a darling of Europe's far-right, has tightened his grip on power in ways that have shocked the European Union.

His ultranationalist Fidesz party has gamed the electoral system, shut down most independent media, forced out an American university and even created new administrative courts that will be directly controlled by the government.

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