Local Stories

Siavash Naghshbandi (Tehran) / Tom Little (Pittsburgh)

A painstaking recreation of an Iranian artist's apartment in Tehran is on display at the Mattress Factory Museum through July. "The Other Apartment" is a joint project of Carnegie Mellon University art professor Jon Rubin and artist Sohrab Kashani, who have been friends for more than a decade.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: community residents have questions about big development in their neighborhoods; a jury has acquitted a man charged in connection with a 2016 mass shooting in Wilkinsburg; poverty has created a new type of swing voter; mild winters are bad news for ice fishers; and a Pittsburgh original makes a comeback to candy aisles. 

Allentown Art Museum / AP

Thanks to modern technology and some expert detective work, a nearly 400-year-old painting that had long been attributed to an unknown artist in Rembrandt’s workshop has now been judged to have been a work of the Dutch master himself.

Library of Congress

Philadelphia got a public memorial statue three years ago outside City Hall for an African American figure few people knew about: Octavius Catto. Now, his story is more widely known.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Tim Pearce knows a lot about mollusks. But, he says, he knows very little about social media.

To his surprise, his pun-filled videos shared on a fairly new social media platform, TikTok, have gone viral in the last month, making him what he calls a “shell-ebrity.”

In China, Quarantine Tests Cooks To Get Clever

18 hours ago

As cities across China remain on quarantine lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, the epidemic is testing the country's ability to get food to its citizens.

Restaurants and cafes have been closed since the end of January, leaving grocery stores as one of the few options for buying food. With families encouraged, or sometimes forced, to stay at home, supplies are often hoarded. Shipments of food from other cities across China take time, as many places have closed off roads.

New Fund Helps PA Abuse Survivors Pay For Counseling

18 hours ago
Ted S. Warren / AP

Starting this week, Pennsylvanians who have experienced sexual assault and never reported it to police can apply for a share of $5 million to pay for counseling.

Emily Previti / PA Post

Steve Ulrich stirred controversy when he took over York County’s elections office on Jan. 10 — just days before a special election — for his left-leaning social media posts and having zero experience running elections.

Matt Smith / Keystone Crossroads

Carmelo LaMantia stops by Mi Casa Su Casa, a breakfast and lunch cafe in downtown Reading, quite a bit. Exactly how often is in dispute. 

After Abuse Scandals, Seminarians Pledge To 'Get It Right'

Feb 16, 2020
Wong Maye-E / AP

The seminarians walk along a hallway lined with photos of classes of priests who came before them. Some are pious alumni who have become their teachers and mentors; others climbed the Catholic hierarchy to be revered as bishops and cardinals.

Mel Evans / AP

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee gathered for its annual endorsement meeting on the South Side Sunday – and for a handful of young, progressive, female candidates in closely-watched races, the outcome wasn’t pretty.

Emily Previti / Keystone Crossroads

Pennsylvania’s law governing legal name changes was up for debate before the state’s Commonwealth Court in Pittsburgh Thursday. Three transgender women have challenged a provision of the statute that bars people from changing their names if they have been convicted of serious felonies.


Small businesses owned by women and minorities are driving the redevelopment of Centre Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority greenlighted six proposals for the corridor on Thursday.

Catalina Jaramillo / WHYY

The commonwealth plans to step up litter prevention efforts, following a novel study.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The defendant in the trial for a 2016 mass shooting was acquitted of all counts Friday. Attorneys for Cheron Shelton argued he was not responsible for the attack that left five adults, including a pregnant woman, dead.

Patrick Semansk / AP

California billionaire Tom Steyer is the first Democratic presidential candidate to file signatures to get on Pennsylvania's primary ballot. That's according to information from the state election office Friday.

J. David Ake / AP

Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to have Pennsylvania join ten other states in a regional cap-and-trade agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions ​is moving slowly through the vetting process.

Kerie Trimble

Today is Valentine’s Day, which means your social media feeds are likely flushed with saccharine sentiments from couples who are SUPER IN LOVE. Or are they?

Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

“African American Art in the 20th Century,” a traveling exhibit of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, evokes the rich legacy left by black artists.

The show features works by 34 artists including such legends as Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, and the acclaimed artist and Pittsburgh native Renee Stout. It visits the Westmoreland Museum of American Art this Sunday through May 10.

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.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has reached a plea deal with Michigan prosecutors, resolving a nearly year-long court case stemming from an altercation with police at a Detroit hotel last year. Wagner pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor offense Thursday morning, while authorities dropped a felony offense of resisting police. But a dispute over the terms of Wagner’s sentence suggests that, despite the settlement, the dust has yet to settle.

Change Agency


On today's program: Community advocate Betty Cruz joins the World Affairs Council; lessons from an Ohio cracker could inform how environmentalists see the Beaver County cracker; PA’s educator of the year is a North Hills history teacher; a local nonprofit collects donations to fight the coronavirus; and the Holocaust Center celebrates the local Jewish immigrant experience. 

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh-area official accused of obstructing police at a Detroit hotel pleaded no contest Thursday to disturbing the peace and was placed on probation, prosecutors said.

The charge is a misdemeanor, and the case could be dismissed if Chelsa Wagner completes the six-month probation without any problems, the Wayne County prosecutor's office said.

Top Pennsylvania State Senator Joe Scarnati Won’t Run Again

Feb 13, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati will not seek re-election, he told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

Scarnati, 58, a fifth-term Republican from Jefferson County in northwestern Pennsylvania, said he wrestled with the decision to step down after 14 years in a job steering a Republican majority through turbulent elections and fights in the Capitol.

But it's the right time, he said, adding that the decision was personal and not political.

“After 20 years, I always like to say, it's good to go out and go out on top,” he said.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

It remains unclear why the U.S. Department of Justice has apparently tapped federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh to review material from President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

During a recent lesson, Joe Welch asked his eighth grade American History students to identify issues they want to change in America. The North Hills Middle School students list everything from gun control to climate change.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilors Ricky Burgess and Daniel Lavelle sent a letter to Carnegie Mellon University on Wednesday, urging the school to join their efforts to enhance racial equity in the city. The letter came after CMU came under fire for omitting communities of color from a student orientation map.


A bill introduced by an Allegheny County state representative this week would prohibit smoking in all workplaces in Pennsylvania. The legislation, from Rep. Dan Frankel, would include all bars, casinos and private clubs, which are currently allowed to apply for an exemption from the state Clean Indoor Act.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Some Pennsylvania environmental groups are dissatisfied with an agreement that the Allegheny County Health Department and U.S. Steel finalized earlier this week. The settlement addresses emissions violations at the manufacturing giant's Clairton Coke Works.

Pennsylvania Adds Muscle To Reviewing Convictions For Errors

Feb 12, 2020
Jacqueline Larma / AP

Pennsylvania’s top law enforcement office is starting a conviction integrity unit to review past convictions for mistakes that might result in them being overturned, officials said Wednesday.