News

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

The state Senate voted to protect domestic violence victims and strengthen Protection From Abuse orders on Wednesday. But there was opposition from some Western Pennsylvania legislators.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

One major question that has loomed over Philadelphia’s support of opening the country’s first supervised injection facility has been who would assume the legal risk of the nonprofit overseeing the site in the face of aggressive threats from the Trump administration that it would shut down the enterprise?

Ohio's Largest Catholic Diocese To Out Abusive Priests

Oct 3, 2018
Eddie / Flickr

Ohio's largest Roman Catholic diocese will join three other dioceses in the state and release a list of priests who have been removed from their posts because of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations.

Sabrina Bodon / 90.5 WESA

“Apocalypse Punch,” “Penicillin” and “W.H.O. Let the Virus Out?” will be on the menu of the pop-up zombie-themed bar at the Original Oyster House in Market Square opening Wednesday.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

There are hundreds of semi-official government entities in Pennsylvania that use taxpayer money, introduce legislative agendas and work closely with outside interest groups, but these groups are largely unregulated and operate under no obligation to publicize their meetings or answer questions about their memberships.

Sports Betting Weeks Away From Opening In Pennsylvania

Oct 3, 2018
Wayne Parry / AP

Pennsylvania, one of the nation's most aggressive gambling states, appears weeks away from becoming the sixth state with sports betting after regulators Wednesday awarded the state's first sports betting licenses to two casinos.

Carrie Antlfinger / AP

Officials who oversee voting in Pennsylvania are promoting ways for state residents living overseas to obtain absentee ballots after some encountered computer barriers set up to prevent meddling with elections.

The Department of State outlined new procedures Wednesday, the same day The Philadelphia Inquirer reported instructions for overseas voters had led to an online dead-end.

An-Li Herring / Keystone Crossroads

On a humid summer day, Shawnray Byrd works a new job renovating a home just outside Pittsburgh. During a break, he says he’s grateful to be employed and free.

Emergency Alert Test Going Out To Mobile Phones Nationwide

Oct 3, 2018
Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

About 225 million electronic devices across the United States will wail and buzz Wednesday afternoon as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts an emergency alert test.

A tone will sound at 2:18 p.m. EDT, similar to that of an Amber Alert or flood watch warning, and the subject of the alert will read: "Presidential Alert" and text will say: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state government's tax collections are running ahead of estimate through the fiscal year's first quarter, and state officials point to strong corporate profits.

The state Department of Revenue said tax collections for the three months through Sunday were $210 million, or 3 percent, ahead of the official estimate.

Total collections of $7.6 billion for the state's general operating account are 10 percent higher than last year at this point.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

A bill that would end Pennsylvania’s frequent use of mandatory life-without-parole sentences has hit a wall in the state Senate.

The night before the bill was set to be voted out of committee, sponsor Sharif Street—a Democratic Senator from Philadelphia—got word it didn’t have enough support.

The committee didn’t ultimately hold a vote.

Emma Lee / WHYY

If you hunt hard enough around Harrisburg, it is possible to find lawmakers who are on board with allocating state money for the public defense of the poor.

Wrongful Murder Conviction Points To Problems With Public Defense In PA

Oct 3, 2018
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Crystal Weimer’s nightmare began in 2004, when she was arrested for a crime she didn’t commit.

“When you go to jail, your whole family goes to jail,” Weimer said. “It’s just like a ripple effect — it’s just not you.”

She was charged with the murder of Curtis Haith, a 21-year-old who dreamed of becoming a chef.  Haith was shot in the face and beaten to death in front of his home in Fayette County, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh.

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A tornado struck a nursing home in northwestern Pennsylvania, blowing a roof off one building and causing moderate to heavy damage, authorities said. No serious injuries were reported.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

As far as Justin Bongiorni is concerned you can keep your toast, your gourmet sandwiches, your extravagant grilled cheese. For the head baker at Allegro Hearth Bakery, bread stands alone. “I don't need to add anything to it, really. It's fine just like that for me.”

Eric Long / National Air and Space Museum / Smithsonian Institution via Heinz History Center

It’s been nearly 50 years since the Apollo 11 team landed the lunar module, Eagle, in 1969. Now Pittsburgh can get close to a defining moment in American history thanks to a new exhibit at the Heinz History Center, Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. Heinz is one of four museums nationwide to host more than 100 mission artifacts, including the original spacecraft transported from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Richard Probst / Flickr

Health officials are warning western Pennsylvania residents that two more raccoons in the Pittsburgh area have tested positive for rabies.

The Allegheny County health department says the first raccoon was found this week in the city's Morningside neighborhood. The second was found in the borough of Pleasant Hills near Jefferson Hills.

Rabies is a virus transmitted by an animal bite or scratch; exposures are almost always fatal when left untreated. Residents are being warned to avoid stray animals and wildlife, even if the animals appear healthy.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

The state of Pennsylvania is asking coders and designers to look at its data on the opioid crisis as part of a month-long hackathon to find new strategies to fight the epidemic.

Mark Humphrey / AP

President Donald Trump is set to promote his new North American trade agreement and the nation's economic performance in Philadelphia on Tuesday, a day after he heralded the agreement in a Rose Garden press conference.

Trump is traveling to Pennsylvania to address the National Electrical Contractors Association Convention.

Congressional portraits

How much election-year drama is Allegheny County seeing? Enough that the League of Women Voters could practically put on its own miniseries this month.

Coke Whitworth / AP

Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters Inc. says it plans to invest $30 million into a planned facility in central Pennsylvania.

Officials with the lifestyle retail corporation say it plans to open an estimated 800,000-sq. foot fulfillment center in Indiana County, which could open within a year. Construction is set to start next month on the project, creating 600 temporary construction jobs.

Officials say White Township of Indiana County will gain 225 permanent jobs from the project.

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

A litany of health issues is arising as weather and temperatures become more severe, said emergency nursing experts at the national Emergency Nurses Association conference in Pittsburgh last week.

High on this list are illnesses related to poor air quality.

Matt Rourke

In the only scheduled debate of the gubernatorial race Monday night, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and former GOP state Senator Scott Wagner worked to stake out their positions on the issues that will likely define their campaigns over the next month.

However, the topics they discussed—and often the candidates themselves—frequently took a backseat to the moderator: Jeopardy host Alex Trebek.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools’ board members will vote on whether to arm the 22 police officers the district employs later this month. 

Julie Kahlbaugh

Pittsburgh-based photographer and filmmaker Njaimeh Njie has been named Pittsburgh Center for the Arts' 2018 Emerging Artist of the Year. Njie’s experience has spanned genres and borders, from documenting black Muslim life in Paris to earning degrees in film studies and secondary education. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The undead made a rare daytime appearance Monday morning to celebrate the filmmaker considered to be the godfather of satirical horror. Fifty years after George Romeo’s "Night of the Living Dead" premiered in Pittsburgh, more than 30 organizations have created programming around its anniversary.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

At age 92, Joe Negri can still glide up and down the fretboard of his guitar as well as someone half his age. Negri has been playing the instrument since he was 8 years old. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Democrat Lindsey Williams is running for state Senate – an office that, in an ordinary year, would generate little more than local interest. But this is 2018, a time when Democrats are investing unprecedented energy in the midterm elections, and Williams just got the backing of a former President of the United States.

Morris and Duffey
Brian Cook / 90.5 WESA

 


Removed from the bustle of the city’s busier neighborhoods, Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill neighborhood is a bit off the beaten path. Looking out from the hillside is a breathtaking view of the Downtown skyline. Its streets are dotted by family businesses and mid-sized dwellings. 

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stopped in Pittsburgh on Friday to say that natural gas from places like Pennsylvania plays a key role in helping the United States deal with foreign adversaries.

If an energy-rich nation like Russia or Iran were to act aggressively toward the United States, he said having an abundance of natural gas would help counter that move.

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