Kathleen J. Davis

General Assignment & Technology Reporter

Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Kathleen J. Davis covers news about just about anything at WESA. She’s also the primary reporter and producer of WESA’s weekly series Pittsburgh Tech Report. Kathleen originally hails from the great state of Michigan, and is always available to talk about suburban Detroit and Coney Island diners. She lives in Bloomfield.

Emails about robots and dinosaurs are welcome at kdavis@wesa.fm.

Hamza Butt / Flickr

Sepsis is the leading cause of hospital deaths in the country, killing 250,000 Americans each year. The bacterial infection, colloquially known as "blood poisoning," can be caused by contamination in a hospital setting, and in deadly situations results in organ failure.

Jeff Kubina / Flickr

Clean energy jobs continue to grow in Pennsylvania, according to a new report from energy non-profits Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance and Environmental Entrepreneurs. Their 2017 data shows Pennsylvania is home to 70,000 clean energy jobs, a 6 percent rise from last year.

Allegheny County leads the state with more than 8,000 clean energy jobs, in sectors like wind, solar and hydropower. Pittsburgh's metro area has 14,000 clean energy jobs.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

About 100 protesters gathered outside the Mt. Lebanon office of Rep. Tim Murphy Wednesday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Children's Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA.

Sara Neff / Flickr

A successful opioid addiction program for pregnant women at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh is expanding to UPMC Hamot in Erie.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

People living with HIV are living longer lives, thanks to medical advancements and wider availability of antiretroviral drugs. This means age-related diseases are now manifesting in these patients with previously unknown effects.

University of Pittsburgh researcher Ivona Pandrea said people living with HIV are twice as likely to develop heart disease, due to a protein that triggers blood clotting and inflammation even after the HIV is treated.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Airmall at Pittsburgh International Airport opened Tuesday to daily non-passengers for the first time since security was tightened at airports nationwide after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"It's nice, it's for the economy to be able to come here and shop," said Elizabeth Township resident Shelli Ruggier, who came to pick up her grandson from a terminal. "We're just happy we can get to a gate and greet family members, rather than them getting off and not knowing anybody."

Paul Sancya / AP

Pennsylvania's minimum wage hasn't risen from $7.25 per hour since 2013. It's the only state in the region that hasn't seen an increase in three and a half years, and where the minimum wage is still under eight dollars.

Evan Vucci / AP

A focus group of 12 Pittsburgh voters expressed bipartisan disappointment in Donald Trump's leadership skills as president. The group consisted of five Trump voters, six Hillary Clinton voters and one person who voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An estimated 18,000 homes in Pittsburgh's northern neighborhoods, Millvale and Reserve Township will continue to be under a flush and boil water advisory until at least Thursday, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials said Tuesday.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Animal abusers in Pennsylvania could face fines of at least $500 and felony charges under a new law that went into effect this week.

Libre's Law increases penalties even for first-time offenders. It's named for the once-abused Boston Terrier-turned representative for animal rights, who co-signed the bill with his paw print alongside Governor Wolf back in June

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Affordable housing activists are calling out Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, saying he hasn't done enough to help low-income residents evicted from East Liberty's Penn Plaza Apartments.

Cristina Sanvito / Flickr

In a new venture, nonprofits Grow Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Land Trust are teaming up to preserve the city's urban farms. The Three Rivers Agricultural Land Initiative will give long-term support to select a handful of garden projects in the community.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Pennsylvania prison officials say a pilot program designed to lower the re-arrest rate for nonviolent drug offenders is showing promise in its second year.

 

The Corrections Department said Tuesday the program known as SIP-HOPE is cutting recidivism by 13 percent, and participants are spending fewer days behind bars.

 

The program was developed with researchers at Drexel University, and put it in place at two halfway houses.

 

frankieleon / Flickr

A new University of Pittsburgh-led study reveals Pennsylvania Medicaid enrollees prescribed an opioid are still highly likely to continue that prescription after an overdose from a legal opioid or heroin. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

In the wake of Charlottesville, a Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to extend what qualifies as a hate crime in the commonwealth.

Martial Trezzini / AP/Keystone

Analogies are a common problem solving method in research. For example, the Wright Brothers used their knowledge of how balance and weight affect a bicycle to create the first airplane. Velcro was invented when a Swiss engineer took a closer took at the burrs that stuck to his dog's fur.

Garry Knight / Wikipedia Commons

The elderly benefit more from standing exercises than traditional seated ones, according to a report by the University of Pittsburgh. Researcher Jennifer Brach said while this has been assumed for quite a while, her study was the first to prove it scientifically.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds gathered in front of the City-County Building on Friday afternoon as Mayor Bill Peduto and a diverse group of interfaith and community leaders joined to unite the community against bigotry and hatred.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

In the wake of the violent clash in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend, Governor Tom Wolf has urged Pennsylvania residents to unite against hatred and bigotry.

He also criticized President Donald Trump's remarks that there was "blame on both sides" during the event, which left one peaceful protestor dead and several injured.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said Wednesday he supports a NAFTA rewrite but he's concerned President Donald Trump's closed-door meetings won't take workers' needs into consideration.

"During the re-negotiations, it's really important and urgent that workers' voices be heard so the labor movement in the United States, Canada and Mexico will work together to advance workers rights," Gerard said.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Susan Hicks, a University of Pittsburgh professor, was killed in October of 2015 when her bike was pinned between two cars on Forbes Avenue. Her death was a shock to Pittsburgh's biking community, which had advocated for changes to Oakland's busy roads for years.

Alberto G. / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has announced changes to the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSA, to reduce the time kids spend studying for the standardized achievement test in the classroom. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Four applications to revitalize neighborhoods and foster social and economic diversity passed initial scrutiny by the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday.

The URA is asking for a combined $1.5 million in state Keystone Communities Program funding to fill gaps in local resources. State decision makers will choose which, if any, projects they want to fund.

If approved, the money would be split four ways.

Kathleen J. Davis

Construction began Friday morning on Braddock Civic Plaza, a community space to be located on the former site of UPMC Braddock Hospital, which closed in 2010.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh housing startup called Module is working on its first residential property, to be located in the North Side. 

Mark Lennihan / AP

Terry Collins will tell you BPA is a scary compound. It's a chemical that's used to manufacture plastics, and more than 6 billion pounds of it are produced every year.

Jim Fetzner / Carnegie Museum of Natural History

A researcher at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History has helped discover three new kinds of crayfish in Kentucky's Appalachian region. Jim Fetzner and his team said these newly classified lobster-like crustaceans could help us understand how crayfish evolve.

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh's reputation as a center for engineering innovation is largely due to Angel Jordan, according to his friends and colleagues.

Jordan, the former Provost of Carnegie Mellon University and founder of its Robotics Institute, died Friday at the age of 86. 

Kathleen J. Davis

A $600,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency will be used to help clean up some of Pittsburgh’s forgotten former industrial sites.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle accepted the grant Friday the Foundry in Lawrenceville, a luxury apartment complex built on the site of a former brownfield site.

The money will help officials clean up the old sites, which can sometimes contain hazardous material and prevent future development. The Foundry’s site was cleaned up with the help of a previous EPA grant.

PA Internet News Service

Pennsylvania officials are urging state residents to do all they can to prevent tick bites, especially in light of Pennsylvania’s history with Lyme disease.

In fact, the disease is so prevalent in Pennsylvania that the state dedicated a task force to combat tick-borne illnesses in 2014.

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