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WESA's Top Stories, May 25: Gainey Reflects On His Win, Peduto Looks Forward, And Port Authority Dreams Big

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Today's top stories on Pittsburgh, the state, and the world, from WESA, NPR, and public radio partners.

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Mayor Bill Peduto, who lost last week's Democratic primary, will be on The Confluence today at 9 a.m. Listen at 90.5 FM or

1. Gainey reflects on winning mayoral primary in a ‘city that wants to see justice’
“Last year, when we saw the peaceful protestors in the streets, it was the first time I had seen something like that,”state Rep. Ed Gainey told The Confluence. “Some of them had environmental justice signs, others had Black Lives Matter justice signs, others had LGBTQIA justice signs, some had criminal justice, social justice — but the common denominator was justice.”

  • Gainey also committed to serving just two terms as mayor: “In eight years when I’m done, I want to know that that momentum, that change is underway and that it’s proper for the next person that comes along to be mayor, to be able to build on what we started."
  • Listen to the whole interview on The Confluence.

2. 'People want new leadership': Peduto looks back on 8 years in office

Gene J. Puskar

“Change is in the air, and what people really want to see right now is new leadership. They want something fresh. … [T]hey want to see new directions that will be taken. And I had become an obstacle in that wish.” Mayor Bill Peduto spoke with Chris Potter about what Ed Gainey’s win says about the state of the Democratic party, his post-election conversation with President Biden and what he plans to do next.

3. Children's risk of serious illness from COVID-19 is as low as it is for the flu
Even a vaccinated parent can occasionally get infected with the coronavirus; there's also a small risk that the virus can pass to an unvaccinated child. But as NPR's Richard Harris reports, the risk that a child gets seriously ill is extremely small — comparable to the risk that children face of having serious illness as a result of the flu.

4. Port Authority proposes its top 10 projects
In the next 15 years, Port Authority of Allegheny County hopes to make key investments that will expand ridership, improve connections among neighborhoods, and increase the efficiency of the countywide public transit system. Margaret J. Krauss reports officials unveiled a list of 10 priority projects at a public meeting on Monday, ranging from a downtown transit hub to an extension of the East Busway.

5. Pennsylvania to resume work-search rule for jobless benefits
Hundreds of thousands of people receiving unemployment compensation will have to prove they are looking for a job beginning July 18 to continue getting the funds. The Associated Press' Marc Levy reports the requirements had been waived during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Republicans have been pushing Gov. Tom Wolf to reinstate them.

6. Environmental advisory committees give OK to proposed RGGI rule
Three advisory committees to the Department of Environmental Protection are offering their support of the proposed rule to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. StateImpact Pennsylvania's Rachel McDevitt reports the non-binding votes mark a shift in attitude from last year, when none of the committees voted to recommend the draft rule.

7. Medical marijuana law changes pass Pennsylvania House panel

Gosia Wozniacka
AP, file

Lawmakers on Monday voted nearly unanimously to make permanent the current practices of dispensing the drug through curbside pickups and permitting three-month supplies, rather than a 30-day limit.

8. Islanders stun Pens 3-2 in double OT, take 3-2 series lead
The New York Islanders spent the better part of four periods hanging on thanks largely to the sheer brilliance of rookie goaltender Ilya Sorokin. The Associated Press' Will Graves reports they needed just 51 seconds of the fifth to stun the Penguins, with a major assist from Pittsburgh netminder Tristan Jarry.

9. Land & Power: Bonus episode!
This spring, WESA's Land & Power was honored as “Best Podcast” with a regional Edward R. Murrow award from the Radio Television Digital News Association. Lucy Perkins sat down with reporter Margaret J. Krauss and editor Liz Reid to talk about the process of creating Land & Power: what they learned, what surprised them and what stories remain to be told.

On The Confluence

  • A year after the death of George Floyd, what criminal justice reforms have been embraced? David Harris from Pittsburgh's Community Task Force on Police Reform joins the program.
  • Bill Peduto had hoped to serve 3 terms as mayor of Pittsburgh, but Ed Gainey upset those plans. What does Peduto's future hold?

Tune in at 9 a.m. for The Confluence with Kevin Gavin. Listen here.

Miss yesterday's show? State Rep. Ed Gainey, the likely future mayor of Pittsburgh, considered the significance of his election win; a researcher explains why “problem-based” visits to pediatricians remained low during the pandemic, and how that can carry over past the public health emergency. Listen here.