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Commonwealth Court rules in favor of Pittsburgh journalist, county autopsy reports are public record

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Commonwealth Court ruled Tuesday that Allegheny County must release full autopsy reports to reporters and the public. Brittany Hailer, director of the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, filed the Right-to-Know request three years ago that led to this court ruling, and joins us to explain the impact of the ruling. Hailer is partnering with PennLive to build a database of every death occurring in Pennsylvania jails, and she is soliciting autopsy records from family members of those people who may have such records. (0:00 -7:36)

Earlier this week, Lt. Gov. Austin Davis announced $1.34 million were awarded to organizations in the commonwealth to benefit at-risk students in communities with significant high school dropout and incarceration rates. Here in Allegheny County, Amachi Pittsburgh was awarded $300,000 of this “First Chance Trust Fund” to work with students in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Anna Hollis, executive director of Amachi Pittsburgh, explains what the organization plans to do with the funds. (7:40 - 14:37)

The Guam kingfisher, a small bird native to that U.S. territory, is only found in captivity, with none living in the wild. The last sighting of this bird in the wild was in 1988. The National Aviary is part of this survival plan for this species, and it has two chicks and several eggs expected to hatch next week. Kurt Hundgen, senior director of animal care and conservation programs at the Aviary, tells us how the Aviary is part of an effort to reintroduce the bird into the wild. (14:49 - 22:30)

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Friday at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here for wherever you get your podcasts.

Addison is a Junior at Point Park University, majoring in Broadcast Reporting. She is the News Director for Point Park's campus station, U-View Television and reports on the show Daybreak. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her cat, Soup.
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