Local Headlines

Important stories from the Pittsburgh region.

Courtesy Jason Rivers / AR3 Foundation



It's been more than a decade since a Stanton Heights man—along with his family—created the AR3 Celebration of Life Foundation to honor the brother he lost to gun violence. AR3 organizes basketball tournaments and other youth activities to honor the memory of Anthony Rivers, who was murdered in 2008.


Julio Cortez / AP

A Pennsylvania Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys and making one of them say confession after the assaults, has been sentenced to two and a half to 14 years in prison.

Mike / Flickr

Authorities say DNA and fingerprints helped lead to an arrest in the kidnapping of a Pennsylvania girl nearly 20 years ago.

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Pittsburgh police are seeking a suspect in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old described as a "high-achieving student."


A swath of wild weather brought high winds, thunderstorms, hail and a rare winter tornado warning to western Pennsylvania, causing downed trees and damage to buildings but no injuries.

Lee Hendrickson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, tells the Meadville Tribune weather spotters reported a funnel cloud during Tuesday's storm, but there were no reports of a touchdown.

At least five homes were damaged in Trumbull and Mercer counties. The Sharon Herald reports school children had to take shelter during the tornado warning.

Courtesy of Seven Springs Resort

Warm temperatures and little snow this winter is forcing Seven Springs Resort to make sure artificial snow is covering enough of its slopes.

Katie Buchan, a spokesperson for Seven Springs southeast of Pittsburgh, says artificial snow is a big part of the resort's operations. She said Seven Springs is taking every chance it can to make the fake stuff, which requires a sustained temperature of 28 degrees or lower.

Brian Cook / 90.5 WESA



Nosakhere Griffin-EL, founder of the Young Dreamers Book Club, is an advocate of literacy, especially among urban youth. His organization challenges young people to strive for greatness while learning, and brings families together for fellowship over books.


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Officials say service has mostly been restored to hundreds of Pennsylvania utility customers who had their natural gas service temporarily shut off.

Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania shut off service Saturday to about 1,700 customers in Washington County. That came after a contractor working on a gas line in Donora detected an influx of air in the line.

The utility says the decision to suspend service was made "out of an abundance of caution." It says there's no threat to customers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A pro-Second Amendment rights rally is planned for Monday, in front of the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh. The city's public safety spokesperson Chris Togneri said planning for this rally is no different than any other.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The valley that is home to the State College area, where the Penn State University Park Campus is located, is sometimes called "Happy Valley." Now Penn State wants to ensure it holds the trademark on the Happy Valley name.


December tests of Pittsburgh’s expanded ShotSpotter system were successful, according to Daniel Shak, manager of public safety technology for the city. The acoustic gunshot detection system is now live in all police zones in the city.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA


Nearly a decade ago, Keysha Gomez and her husband opened the doors of their home to a few local kids in their neighborhood. What started as a somewhat informal after-school program for area youth has since expanded in both size and scope, from a solely youth-oriented focus to one that offers intergenerational enrichment.

Immigrant Miner Massacre Holds Lessons, Archaeologist Says

Dec 24, 2018
Boston Public Library, Print Department / Flickr

By digging into facts about a massacre of immigrant coal miners more than a century ago in Lattimer, archaeologist Paul Shackel uncovered a perspective on immigration in the Hazleton area today.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania is the fourth- biggest producer of Christmas trees in the country. The commonwealth cuts and sells around a million a year, according to the state growers’ association.

But before those trees can be sold, they have to be painstakingly grown and maintained for almost a decade.

That’s where people like Rod Wirt come in.

He and his wife Jodi own Blue Ridge Christmas Tree Farm in Annville, about 20 miles from Harrisburg.

Brian Cook / 90.5 WESA



Since its creation two years ago, CAPTURED::PITTSBURGH has become a driving force behind an emerging community of aspiring photographers.

PA Organzation Joins 3 Other State Groups In Suing Miss America Leaders

Dec 20, 2018
Noah K. Murray / AP

A former board member and four states that have had their licenses terminated by the Miss America Organization are suing the group and its top leaders, claiming "an illegal and bad-faith takeover" of the pageant.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Two police chiefs have been ousted in Allegheny County as one heads to prison and another is investigated by a prosecutor on unknown allegations.

Nikkia Ingram
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA


Nikkia Ingram’s responsibilities at Pittsburgh Brashear High School have outgrown her job title of school security officer. That's because what began as informal mentoring sessions during lunch breaks and weekends has grown to include the creation of a local nonprofit called Cultivating Resilient Youth.

Micahel Rubinkam / AP

A Pennsylvania state police trooper who was shot in a 2014 ambush has had his right leg amputated below the knee.

Trooper Alex Douglass underwent the surgery this week at a New York City hospital.

His friend Earl Granville says Douglass had some medical complications with his leg and decided to amputate it to improve his quality of life.

Granvillle, a veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan, says he and Douglass completed the New York City Marathon handcycle event last month. He says Douglass should be able to run marathons now with a prosthetic.

Fort Carson Public Affairs Office / AP

The body of a second Pennsylvania serviceman killed in Afghanistan has returned home.

Three people missing since last weekend were found alive Wednesday in an underground coal mine in West Virginia, authorities said.

The three were located Wednesday inside Elk Run Coal’s Rock House Powellton mine near Clear Creek, the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training said in a statement. The mine was described as nonoperational.


Police say a teenager was wounded by a bullet while riding on a school bus in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh police said in a Twitter post that a school bus driver said she was driving students home from New Academy Charter school shortly after 6:30 p.m. Monday when she heard two or three gunshots.

She said a 17-year-old youth on the bus "yelled that he had been shot in the shoulder." Two other students were uninjured.

Katie Meyer

As retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Bill Davey played taps at the state Capitol’s annual Pearl Harbor commemoration, Richard Schimmel, Isaac George, William Bonelli, and Hank Heim rose slowly to their feet and saluted.

University Faculty Background Checks To Be Reviewed By Court

Dec 7, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether the 14 state-owned universities can compel all faculty members to undergo criminal background checks and inform the schools if they are arrested for serious crimes.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

A Pennsylvania man has his wallet back nearly four years after it apparently fell out of his pocket while riding a roller coaster.

It was a running family joke to tell the kids to look for dad's wallet every time they visited Hersheypark. Jon Anson tells WHTM-TV he got a call from the park that maintenance crews had found his wallet.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

The state Supreme Court has decided to permanently redact the names of nearly a dozen current and former Roman Catholic clergy who were implicated in a sweeping grand jury report on sexual abuse of children.

U.S. Soldier From Western PA Dies From Wounds In Afghanistan Blast Last Week

Dec 3, 2018
Fort Carson Public Affairs Office / via AP

The Pentagon says that a fourth soldier has died from wounds suffered last week in a roadside bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan.

Sgt. Jason Mitchell McClary died Sunday at the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. He was 24 years old and from Export, Pennsylvania.

Three other service members were killed in the explosion last Tuesday near Ghazni, and two others were wounded.

It was the deadliest attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan this year. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

Police: Gunman Kills 1 At Municipal Building, Is Arrested

Nov 28, 2018

A man who may have been having trouble getting permits for work on his property shot and killed a township employee in a government building Tuesday, then paced the hallway with his head in his hands until police arrived to take him into custody, authorities said.

The gunman walked inside the Paradise Township municipal building about 8:20 a.m., asked for the victim by name, then shot him in the mouth in his office, according to court documents. A co-worker administered CPR until paramedics showed up, but Michael Tripus, 65, of Stroudsburg, was declared dead at the scene.

Marien Lien
Brian Cook / 90.5 WESA

Marian Lien says Squirrel Hill’s strength is its people.

Carlos Osorio / AP

As others in the state Capitol prepared to bring in the building’s annual Christmas tree, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held his own version of a holiday celebration.

He hosted several representatives from the Pennsylvania chapter of the Public Interest Research Group, who recently released its 33rd  annual holiday toy advisory, available here.

This one includes warnings about 15 different toys, out of 40 tested.