Bastiaan Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

Yali Perez worries about her son Ian playing outside with other kids near their home in Bridesburg. On paper, the neighborhood is safe. Yali and her mother, Brenda Santiago, moved here precisely because of its safety.

Courtesy of Therese Rocco


On today's program: A new play explores the life and career of Pittsburgh’s first female assistant police chief; Pitt explains why PFAS chemicals are cause for worry; residents of a Philadelphia neighborhood are proud of their exclusionary reputation; and COVID-19 preparations continue in Pittsburgh.  

Matt Rourke / AP

The number of Pennsylvania state government employees who make at least six figures currently includes nearly 10,000 workers, according to a report published Tuesday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulating two PFAS chemicals in drinking water: PFOS and PFOA. Also known as "forever chemicals" due to how difficult it is to clean them up, these compounds are associated with health problems.

Matt Slocum / AP

As of Monday, drivers in Pennsylvania who are picked up by cameras traveling more than 11 mph over the speed limit in a marked highway work zone will get a written warning for a first offense and fines for subsequent violations.

Fight Over Natural Gas Tax Break Divides PA Democrats

Mar 10, 2020
Ed Mahon / Pa Post

Lawmakers in Harrisburg have never overridden a veto from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

LIVE BLOG: Coronavirus In Pittsburgh, March 9-15

Mar 9, 2020
John Minchillo / AP

EDITOR'S NOTE: This blog post covers the events of March 9-13. For the latest on what's happening the week of March 16-20, follow here

News on the coronavirus pandemic, including the responses of local governments, health departments, hospital systems, schools and other institutions.

Matt Rourke / AP

While it’s widely known that breast milk offers babies health benefits, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher says it might also hold the answer to developing a better way for infants to ingest medicines.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: Pittsburgh’s new NAACP director shares her vision for equitable community development; how refugees are affecting some American towns; and why some local libraries have eliminated late fees.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh wants to change a rule that requires rowhouses to provide off-street parking spaces. Legislation proposed by Mayor Bill Peduto’s office would drop the requirement from one spot to zero.

Google Street View

Due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, UPMC is asking people not to visit the health network’s long-term care or skilled-nursing facilities if they are ill or have cold symptoms, even if these symptoms are relatively minor.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

About $5.5 million that poured in from donors after the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue attack that killed 11 worshippers is being distributed according to a plan outlined Monday by Jewish groups.

The largest share, just over $3 million, will go to the families of those killed and to two people who were seriously injured. Donations are also being distributed to people who were in the Tree of Life building during the attack, to first responders and to the congregations.

Matt Rourke / AP

A judge in western Pennsylvania has thrown out the conviction of a retired Roman Catholic priest accused of having assaulted a boy almost two decades ago.

Biden's Big Wins Also Were Big For His Pennsylvania Backers

Mar 9, 2020
Patrick Semansky / AP

Democratic Party stalwarts in Pennsylvania heaved a collective sigh of relief as Joe Biden, the choice of many party leaders in the battleground state, emerged from the presidential primary pack as the consensus pick to lead the party’s moderate wing.

Andrea Tudhope / America Amplified

Refugee admission into the U.S. has dropped dramatically in recent years. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Three Republican candidates are now hoping to replace outgoing House Speaker Mike Turzai in the 28th District, making for the first competitive contest the district has seen in years. Michael Heckmann and Libby Blackburn will join Rob Mercuri on the ballot in April.

Peach Bottom Nuclear Plant Gets 20-Year License Extension

Mar 9, 2020
Courtesy of Exelon

Peach Bottom nuclear power plant can operate into the middle of this century, federal regulators say.

PA Proposes To Relax Non-Residential Lead Cleanup Standards

Mar 9, 2020
Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvania is proposing to relax its non-residential standard for the concentration of lead allowed in the surface soils of obsolete contaminated properties that adhere to its voluntary cleanup program.


Political discourse is widespread on the internet, but online debates aren’t always productive. A group of Carnegie Mellon University students are using artificial intelligence to teach high schoolers how to have productive conversations online.


A Montgomery County resident has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, state officials said Monday.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

Allegheny County Judge Terrence O'Brien heard arguments Friday in a dispute over more than 1,000 security cameras operated by District Attorney Stephen Zappala's office in and around Pittsburgh.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

The two dominant health insurers in western Pennsylvania are picking up the bill for COVID-19 testing, when recommended by a medical professional.

See Neil deGrasse Tyson!

Mar 6, 2020
Joshua Pickering

Neil deGrasse Tyson is coming to Pittsburgh's Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland on March 19 — and we want to send you meet him!

Support 90.5 WESA today and you'll automatically qualify to win. Everyone who makes a membership donation on Saturday, March 7, 2020 between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. will automatically qualify to win a pair of premium tickets to see Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland on Thursday, March 19. A meet and greet opportunity is also included.

Make your donation today and automatically qualify to win. Click here to give.

No donation necessary. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.), 18 years or older. Promotion starts: Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 8 a.m. and promotion ends: Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 1 p.m. To enter without making a donation, click here. For full official rules, including prize descriptions and odds, click here. Sponsor: Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting, 67 Bedford Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Void where prohibited.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rose again in January, as the pool of job-seekers and payrolls both grew to record highs, the state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday.

Pennsylvania Has First Two Presumed Positive Cases Of Coronavirus

Mar 6, 2020
Andre Penner / AP

Pennsylvania has its first two presumed positive cases of coronavirus, one in Delaware County and one in Wayne County, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday morning.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Classes were cancelled Friday at five schools in an eastern Pennsylvania school district because some members of its school community were exposed to a confirmed case of the new coronavirus, district officials said.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Authorities on Friday released the name of the man who was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire that left a Pittsburgh police detective wounded.

'I Was All Set For Bernie': Trump Hones Attacks On Biden In Scranton Town Hall

Mar 6, 2020
Bastiaan Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

President Donald Trump honed his lines of attack against Joe Biden during a televised town hall in Scranton, the former vice president’s hometown, following Biden’s Super Tuesday surge. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

Pennsylvania officials say there are two presumed positive coronavirus cases in the eastern part of the state. There are no confirmed cases in western Pennsylvania, though it’s possible that the virus is circulating, undetected, in the Pittsburgh area. *

To conserve medical resources if a potential outbreak does occur, the Allegheny County Health Department is recommending that people get the seasonal flu shot.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh area organizations have taken precautionary measures as the coronavirus spreads, and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey says emergency funds need more support. The Allegheny County Health Department has a new director, Dr. Debra Bogen, a pediatrician from UPMC Children's hospital. And, how will voters respond to a future Democratic presidential candidate’s stance on fracking?