Kiley Koscinski

Morning News Producer
Keith Srakocic / AP

The 38th annual Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show kicks off Friday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. John DeSantis, the event’s executive director, says that this year's 10-day event will have more than 1,800 vendors and include a farm-to-table, buy-local conference. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale wants to strengthen state laws against accepting gifts after an audit determined that officials in 18 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties accepted gifts, meals or trips from firms competing to sell new voting machines to counties ahead of the 2020 election.

Egan Jimenez / Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

A staffing shortage at the U.S. State Department and a global perception that diplomacy is in decline shouldn't prevent the United States from playing its role in resolving worldwide conflicts, according to former Assistant Secretary of State Rick Barton. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Allegheny County Health Department has been criticized in community meetings and at a state legislative policy hearing for a lack of communication in the first several days after a Christmas Eve fire at Clairton Coke Works. How can outreach improve, what’s being done to repair the plant, and how can Pittsburghers protect themselves from emissions?

Randall Coleman / Redd Vision

 

Benji. holds little, if anything, back on his latest album, "Smile, You’re Alive!" The Pittsburgh native spoke with WYEP’s Joey Spehar for the Live & Direct series about the inspiration behind his music, his career trajectory and how he almost lost his entire album before its release. Benji. was recently named one of NPR's top artists to watch in 2019.

Andrew Medichini / AP

Over the next few days in Vatican City, Pope Francis will meet with bishops from around the world to address ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandals, including those accused in Pennsylvania. 

Josef Rabara

An estimated 2,400 lectures and 1,000 concerts were given at Terezín Concentration Camp during World War II, including Requiem, a Catholic funeral march composed by Giuseppe Verdi in 1874.

Courtesy of Sojourner House

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court made a controversial decision in December, ruling that women who use drugs during pregnancy are not guilty of child abuse. The case involved a woman who gave birth to a child with neo-natal abstinence syndrome, which occurs when a baby is withdrawing from drugs they were exposed to in the womb.

Courtesy of the Heinz History Center

The African American History Commission Act was signed last year to recognize and highlight the resilience and cultural contributions of Africans and African Americans in the 400 years since they first landed in Virginia, by force as slaves. 

Samuel Black, director of African American programs at the Heinz History Center and immediate past president of the Association of African American Museums, joins 90.5 WESA's The Confluence to discuss the commission’s goals, Pittsburgh’s African American heritage and the cultural and historical impact on our region.

Courtesy of Jeff Goldblum / Decca Records

West Homestead native Jeff Goldblum has a knack for booking roles in lucrative Hollywood franchises like Jurassic Park and the Marvel universe, but he's nurtured another love, albeit quietly, for most of his life: jazz.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Last summer, companies across the country, including Mylan Pharmaceuticals in Pittsburgh, began recalling large quantities of blood pressure drugs after carcinogens were found in the medications. Commonly prescribed medications including valsartan, losartan, irbesartan and Amvalo were affected.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Many overdose fatalities in Pennsylvania are opioid-related, but deaths from methamphetamine and other stimulants are back on the rise. For people who use meth, especially those who also identify as LGBT+, resources can be scarce.

There is a growing need for queer-centered resources in Pittsburgh, says Tommy Brassell, a medical assistant at Central Outreach Wellness Center, a clinic that specializes in LGBT health care. 

Matthew Craig / Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh

Preserving historical buildings and landmarks “can be a force for a renewal of spirit,” according to Matthew Craig, executive director of Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh.

Ebrahim Noroozi / AP

Surgeons have successfully performed organ transplants for more than five decades, but patients still have to take powerful medication to prevent their bodies from rejecting the live-saving donations. 

Google Maps

A long-standing “gay-owned, gay-operated, and gay proud” nightclub in the Strip District is closing its doors this weekend, after one more farewell party. For seven years, Cruze Bar has been a popular gathering spot for the city’s younger set of LGBTQ-identifying adults. Did development push the party spot out of the neighborhood? And what will its departure mean for other queer spaces?

Keith Srakocic / AP

Last year was Pittsburgh's wettest on record, triggering dozens of landslides, forcing people out of their homes and costing the city millions in repairs. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Understanding fare inequity and providing riders better tech tools are top priorities for the Port Authority of Allegheny County in 2019, CEO Katharine Kelleman says. 

Kathleen J. Davis / WESA

Celebrations with dumplings—symbols of good fortune and connection—and lucky red envelopes begin in earnest today to mark the Lunar New Year, followed by 15 days of banquets, ceremonies and performances in honor of 2019's "Year of the Golden Earth Pig."

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Dr. Leonard Moore, vice president for diversity and community engagement and George Littlefield professor of American history at the University of Texas at Austin, teaches classes about the evolution of black politics and power throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Beth Hollerich / Allegheny County Airport Authority

Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis says federal TSA workers serving the region's two main airports are glad to be at work—and receiving a paycheck—since the government shutdown halted late last week. 

Ted S. Warren / AP

Discrepancies between state and local laws in Pennsylvania have led to a battle of discretion in the way marijuana-related charges are applied. Police officers can still charge people for possession of the drug, but prosecutors are increasingly unwilling to pursue these cases. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The city's homeless population could face life-threatening conditions over the next few days as single-digit temperatures and sub-zero wind chills settle in across the region

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Since the summer of 2017, Pittsburghers stuck in traffic at the intersection of Bigelow Boulevard and Herron Avenue could be greeted by a billboard with the same smiling face, positive message and personal phone number. Its message belonged to poet Rachel Ann Bovier. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Furloughed government workers are heading back to work Monday after President Trump signed a temporary end to the partial federal government shutdown. The repercussions, though, are still being felt throughout the community. With the threat of another potential shutdown looming, local organizations are preparing for the worst.  

Seth Farrington / Courtesy of Krish Mohan

Racism, sexism and immigration can be difficult to talk about, especially when engaging people across the political aisle. Pittsburgh stand-up comedian Krish Mohan says he's up to the task and finds that comedy is an effective vehicle to bring folks together. 

Courtesy of Clarion University

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's internal review found all 14 state-owned universities are facing fiscal challenges and ever-declining enrollment.

Daniel Greenstein, the new chancellor of PASSHE, says those concerns track with schools across the country. As student needs and interests evolve, state-run universities will have to adapt, he says, potentially downsizing, eliminating majors or refocusing efforts in specific programs better able to cater to Pennsylvania's future workforce.

Photo by Alyson Derrick / Simon & Schuster

Siobhan Vivian and Rachael Lippincott started as teacher and student, one shepherding two courses of "Writing Youth Literature," and the other still on track to one day practice medicine. When they met, Lippincott says her world began to change. 

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

How do you create a sustainability plan for a building that wasn't designed with the environment in mind? This challenge isn't unique to the University of Pittsburgh campus, but it's one they hope to tackle with a sustainability plan guided by the former director of the Green Building Alliance, Aurora Sharrard.

Courtesy of Pressley Ridge

Proper classroom accommodations for students on the autism spectrum can be hard to come by. One local group hopes to provide better access to environments where students have the best chance at a good education. 

Sarah Bader / Courtesy of Kamara Townes

Kamara Townes, who goes professionally by Wavy Wednesday, is an emerging artist who uses satire in her work to explore pop culture and racism. She uses bright colors and draws on cultural symbols like Barbie to confront social justice through her work. 

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