WESA's Top Stories, May 26: Healthy Ride Adding E-Bikes, Pittsburgh Remembers George Floyd, Parnell Wants Election Audit
Today's top stories on Pittsburgh, the state, and the world, from WESA, NPR, and public radio partners.
1. Allegheny County Health Department among top Pa. vaccine providers who spoiled doses
ACHD spoiled 636 Pfizer doses allocated to county vaccination sites over three separate days — April 21, April 24, and May 9 — after officials started to thaw vaccines but then experienced a “sudden and unexpected drop in filled appointments,” said a department spokesman. Spotlight PA's Jamie Martines analyzes the state's data on wasted vaccine doses.
- A recent 90.5 WESA/Campos survey found that 20 percent of southwestern Pennsylvanians do not want to get a vaccine, Sarah Boden reports.
- Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for teens, according to the company.
2. Pittsburgh’s bike-share program will add electric bikes
Since Healthy Ride launched in 2015, the service has grown to include 625 bikes over more than 100 stations. But widespread adoption has always faced a pretty formidable challenge: Pittsburgh’s many, many hills. Margaret J. Krauss reports a grant from The Heinz Endowments will be used to help electrify the fleet of bikes.
3. After saying he didn't want to litigate 2020 election, Parnell says he supports audit of Pa. results
Two weeks ago, U.S. Senate candidate Sean Parnell said he didn't want to relitigate the 2020 election. Lucy Perkins reports Parnell now supports a "forensic audit."
4. Fitzgerald names director for new Allegheny County children's department
Rebecca "Becky" Mercatoris will head the newly-created Allegheny County Department of Children Initiatives, an agency charged with getting more kids into early education and after-school programs. Kate Giammarise reports the early childhood education professional is the department's first hire.
5. Bill to restrict abortion rights advanced in Pennsylvania
Republicans who control Pennsylvania's legislature began Tuesday to advance hot-button bills to restrict abortion rights and expand gun rights, although the bills faced opposition by Democratic lawmakers and certain veto by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
- A state House committee voted on party lines Tuesday to keep portions of the governor's coronavirus disaster emergency in place until October but end fast-track contracting rules and other provisions.
6. Medical workers remember George Floyd, one year after his death
Yesterday marked one year since George Floyd was murdered under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. Jason Phox and Ashton Jones report medical workers took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds outside of UPMC Presbyterian in protest against police brutality and racism.
7. A year after George Floyd’s murder, Black Pa. lawmakers double down on push for police accountability
State lawmakers and student activists remembered the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by calling for more action on police reform. Sam Dunklau reports a group of around 50, including members of the Legislative Black Caucus and students from Philadelphia-area high schools, rallied at the Capitol building Tuesday.
8. Starkist to move headquarters from Pittsburgh to Virginia
StarKist, known for cartoon mascot Charlie the Tuna, said in a statement that its headquarters on Pittsburgh's North Shore will close at the end of March 2022 “but the company will maintain a presence in the region." The seafood firm's connection with landlocked Pittsburgh came when it was sold to H.J. Heinz Co. in 1963.
On The Confluence
- Although many universities are requiring students to be vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall, it will be up to individual businesses to decide for themselves whether to mandate vaccination.
- Despite a recent increase in passengers, traffic at Pittsburgh International is still down 45% from before the pandemic. But cargo service is soaring. Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis joins the program.
Tune in at 9 a.m. for The Confluence with Kevin Gavin. Listen here.