Pittsburgh Explainer

Life is busy, and it can be hard to keep up with the news. That’s why 90.5 WESA is launching a new podcast called Pittsburgh Explainer. Every Friday morning, we’ll bring you the biggest news stories of the week in 20 minutes. Hosted by WESA editor Liz Reid, you’ll hear from the reporters who cover politics, education, tech, health, arts and more, and get the real stories behind the headlines.

It’s the news you need, in the time you have. Pittsburgh Explainer launches Feb. 7.

Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. New episodes come out every Friday. Listen on the NPR One app or subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The coronavirus shutdown began just as winter turned into spring. Since then, people have been learning new skills, taking on home projects and figuring out how to navigate life in these strange times.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As warm weather arrives in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf will consider lifting a number of pandemic restrictions throughout the next few weeks. Allegheny County still operates in the yellow phase of reopening, but residents can enjoy Memorial Day weekend at the newly reopened state parks.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County and 12 other Southwestern Pennsylvania counties have entered the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan.

Daycares are allowed to reopen, as are many retail establishments and churches. Gatherings of less than 25 people are permitted, but individuals are still expected to socially distance and wear masks; restaurants are closed to dine-in customers; and gyms, movie theaters and casinos are all still shuttered.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Twenty-four northwestern and north-central Pennsylvania counties move into the "yellow" phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan Friday. Businesses will begin to flip their "closed" signs to "open," all while taking precautionary health and safety measures. 

Matt Rourke / AP

The coronavirus pandemic has made the world feel small for many people. Some haven't left their neighborhoods in weeks; others haven't even left their homes. It's also impacting the people and businesses who supply our food, with numerous farmers and growers around the state having to alter their operations to meet changing demand.


Matt Rourke / AP

  

In two weeks, Pennsylvania’s economy will see a gradual reopening. Gov. Tom Wolf set May 8 as the target date for certain regions of the commonwealth to begin easing social distancing measures.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


It’s been about a month since schools and businesses shut down in Pennsylvania, in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The goal of these restrictive social distancing measures is to flatten the curve.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County residents are eager to see if the curve of COVID-19 cases is flattening and wondering when life might return to normal. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It will be at least another month before life can be expected to go back to normal due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus. Gov. Tom Wolf has extended his stay-at-home order and expanded it to include the entire state of Pennsylvania. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

It's week two of extreme social distancing in Pittsburgh, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Allegheny County and a number of other Pennsylvania counties are under a "stay-at-home" order from Gov. Tom Wolf. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It's been a weird week in Pittsburgh and all over the country. The threat of the coronavirus has people staying home, schools and businesses are closed, events are canceled. Families are at home taking care of young children and pharmacies and grocery stores are busier than ever as people prepare for what could be a protracted period of social distancing. 


Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Coronavirus has now spread to more than 100 countries, representing two-thirds of the world’s population. In Pittsburgh, large events are being canceled; college classes are moving online; and everyone’s taking extra long to wash their hands.

Helping explain the headlines this week from the WESA newsroom:

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?

90.5 WESA

A pipeline company is under federal investigation over a 2018 natural gas pipeline explosion in Beaver County. Enrollment continues to decline in Allegheny County for a state supplemental nutrition program. And, PennDOT faces a funding cliff and dwindling resources.

Keith Srokocic / AP

  

Recent controversial endorsements have led the Allegheny County Democratic Committee leadership to defend its purpose and decision-making process. A new report shows Pittsburgh's art scene is growing, but support is not always equitable and inclusive. And, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle faces a challenger for the 18th congressional district as some in the party push for a more progressive platform.

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

The U.S. Department of Justice has tapped federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh to review material from President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. U.S. Steel faces $2.7 million in fines over air pollution violations at Clairton Coke Works and must make $200 million worth of improvements to the facility. And, in an effort to reduce energy consumption, the City of Pittsburgh prepares to retrofit the 140 buildings it owns.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

This week, musical chairs on the board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. Some city councilors unknowingly approved the mayor's move to swap out one of their colleagues for another. And, the latest on the trial for the man accused of killing five people, including a pregnant woman, at a 2016 barbecue in Wilkinsburg. Finally, city council discusses how to implement the recently approved parks tax.

 


Life is busy, and it can be hard to keep up with the news. That’s why 90.5 WESA is launching a new podcast called Pittsburgh Explainer. Every Friday morning, we’ll bring you the biggest news stories of the week in 20 minutes. Hosted by WESA editor Liz Reid, you’ll hear from the reporters who cover politics, education, tech, health, arts and more, and get the real stories behind the headlines.

It’s the news you need, in the time you have. Pittsburgh Explainer launches Feb. 7.