WESA's Top Stories, May 27: Lower Hill Development Hopes To Break Ground In July, Pittsburgh Police Tossed Back Dozens Of Drinks Before Bar Fight With Pagans, Pens Out Of Playoffs
Today's top stories on Pittsburgh, the state, and the world, from WESA, NPR, and public radio partners.
1. ‘A total disgrace:’ Pittsburgh police review board report on Kopy’s Bar fight paints troubling picture
According to the report, officers consumed dozens of alcoholic drinks — ranging from 7 to 19 each — while surveilling an individual they believed to be involved in the drug trade in 2018. Liz Reid reports the police review board says the officers remained at the bar after the target of their operation left, and they later got into a fight with members of the Pagans motorcycle club who were also at the bar that night.
2. The first project on Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill edges closer to approval
The Pittsburgh Penguins and their lead developer, the Buccini/Pollin Group say by mid-July they expect to break ground on a 26-story office tower in Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District. Margaret J. Krauss reports community members continue to raise concerns about how the project will affect the Greater Hill District.
3. Nursing home staff say conditions are bleak, hope union negotiations bring higher staffing levels
Nursing home workers are calling on employers and regulators to increase staffing levels at their facilities. Sarah Boden reports they’re also pushing for increased wages, just as SEIU Health Pennsylvania is about to enter contract negotiations with facilities across the state.
4. Penguins lose game 6 to Islanders, eliminated from playoffs
For the second time in three years, the New York Islanders shut down Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, got some timely goals and are now headed to the second round of the playoffs.
5. Investigation finds no intentional act to derail sex-abuse vote
An internal investigation into an apparent bureaucratic blunder by Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration that scuttled a statewide voter referendum sought by victims of childhood sexual abuse found no evidence of a deliberate attempt to derail it, the Associated Press' Marc Levy reports.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Health has dropped its legal action against more than 40 restaurants that were accused of defying state orders to close indoor dining and maintain social-distancing protocols.
6. New video appears to show state Sen. Mastriano closer to Capitol riot than he said
Internet sleuths have unearthed video from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that appears to show Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano was much closer to clashes with police than earlier statements about his whereabouts that day indicated, WHYY's Ryan Briggs and Katie Meyer report.
7. State Senate Democrats push for greater accountability from natural gas industry
Bills from state Senate Dems come nearly a year after a statewide investigative grand jury found that state regulators failed to protect the public from the health impacts of fracking. StateImpact Pennsylvania's Rachel McDevitt reports one bill would increase the distance gas wells must be set back from homes from 500 to 2,500 feet; for schools and hospitals, the distance would increase to 5,000 feet.
- In a dramatic boardroom battle, a tiny hedge fund fought with the energy giant ExxonMobil over the future of the oil and gas industry — and won.
8. Opioid trial in West Virginia comes amid a national reckoning for Big Pharma
Drug distributors have faced embarrassing revelations about their internal practices. NPR's Brian Mann reports one email shared by corporate executives described rural Americans addicted to opioids as "pillbillies."
9. Robert Morris cuts men's and women's hockey
The school made the announcement Wednesday, saying the decision was part of a strategic initiative “intended to position the university to be amongst the most agile and professionally focused schools in the nation as it prepares for its upcoming 100th anniversary."
On The Confluence
- Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel explains how the department is bringing back in-person visits at state prisons, and the preventative measures in place to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks.
- The participant in a breakthrough study explains how he can "feel" some sensations through his robotic arm.
Tune in at 9 a.m. for The Confluence with Kevin Gavin. Listen here.