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WESA Daily Briefing: September 4, 2020

Erin Keane Scott
90.5 WESA

News on the coronavirus pandemic, protests, 2020 election and more from around Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Find all of the WESA Daily Briefing posts here

Editor's note: This post will be frequently updated with the latest news.


5:12 p.m. - Pennsylvanians receiving unemployment payments slated to receive an extra $300 per week soon

Last month, President Donald Trump issued an executive order allowing the extra money for weekly payments, replacing the $600 per week boost the federal government had been providing until late July.

The commonwealth is the latest state approved to start disbursing the extra money.

State Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said he expects it to start as early as Sept. 11.

"After we get the system up and running on the 11th, we expect that by September 14th or shortly thereafter, people will begin receiving that extra $300,” Oleksiak said.

Unemployed workers have to be getting at least $100 per week from the state right now to be eligible.

They may also have to certify they're being impacted by the coronavirus, depending on the program they are enrolled in.

More than 2 million Pennsylvanians have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began.

3:01 p.m. - Shippensburg adopts LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance

The mid-state borough is just the second small town community in the commonwealth, after Huntingdon Borough, to enact such protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast without explicit LGBT nondiscrimination protections.

While the recent Supreme Court decision Bostock v Clayton County extended federal civil rights protections in employment to people identifying as LGBT, housing and public accommodations remain areas of contention.

Jason Landau Goodman is with the Pennsylvania Youth Congress – an organization advocating for LGBT protections.

He says they began working with the Shippensburg Borough Council to pass such an ordinance when they heard about a person who was repeatedly denied housing when landlords learned he’d be living with his husband.

“Pennsylvania continues to have the most local nondiscrimination ordinances in the nation,” Goodmand said. “And that’s a testament to the fact that the state has not taken action on passing a comprehensive law.”

Council members  voted five-to-one in favor of the ordinance — which goes into effect at the beginning of next year.

Goodman’s group is working with lawmakers to pass statewide protections.

1:59 a.m. - Wendy Bell taken off air at KDKA-AM

Media personality Wendy Bell was removed from the KDKA-AM airwaves Friday after she encouraged violence earlier this week. On her daily radio program, Bell said that monuments needed to be defended from protesters and that “park rangers and hopefully snipers who are going to be watching this to shoot on sight.” Bell was fired from WTAE-TV in 2016 for a Facebook post that violated company standards, and that many considered racist.  

11:26 a.m. - Another holiday weekend, another coronavirus surge possible

Hopefully, summer won't end the way it began. Memorial Day celebrations helped set off a wave of coronavirus infections across much of the South and West. Gatherings around the Fourth of July seemed to keep those hot spots aflame.

And now Labor Day arrives as those regions are cooling off from COVID-19, and public health experts are calling on Americans to stay vigilant while celebrating the holiday weekend.

NPR's Blake Farmer has more here

10:02 a.m. - Pittsburgh food bank holding distribution at PPG Paints Arena

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is holding a drive-up distribution this morning from 10 a.m. to noon at the PPG Paints Arena. The food bank is planning to serve up to 500 vehicles.  More information on today's distribution is available at

 8:13 a.m. - Police arrest man in connection with shooting death of 1-year-old

Pittsburgh police have arrested a 29-year-old McKeesport man in the homicide of Zykier Young, a 1-year-old who was shot and killed as he slept in his bed.  Police have charged Andre Crawford with criminal homicide, criminal attempted homicide, and firearms not to be carried without a license.  Crawford is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.

Late last month, Pittsburgh police asked for help in finding whoever was responsible for Young's death