Local Stories

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A program that assists Pennsylvanians facing mortgage foreclosures is bracing for a wave of pandemic-related need, at the same time that it’s worrying about its own finances.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is on a quest to build a transit system that is equitable, sustainable and improves people’s lives. A new round of public meetings on its long-range plan, NEXTransit, comes at a time of uncertainty and fiscal constraint.

Anthony Orozco / WITF

Seven families — 25 people in all — who had been held by immigration authorities at the Berks County Residential Center have been released to live with sponsors across the nation.

Susan Walsh / AP

The coronavirus pandemic has coincided with a dramatic increase in the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a study released Monday by the consumer advocacy group U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

The U.S. House passed the $1.9 pandemic relief package largely along party lines early Saturday morning, but not all Western Pennsylvania members showed up for the vote. U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, who represents Erie and other counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania, opted to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, instead.

PA Court Officials Discuss Reform For People With Autism

14 hours ago

Courts across Pennsylvania are considering how to adapt the justice system for people with autism. Court officials in the Lehigh Valley on Feb. 23 discussed different ways people on the spectrum experience judicial proceedings. 

Matt Rourke / AP

The chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Monday he will relinquish that title to a colleague in a few months but stay on the court until his full retirement at year's end.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania is easing restrictions on large gatherings and eliminating a quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers, reflecting a sustained slide in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the Wolf administration announced Monday.

Michael Dwyer / AP

On today's program: PublicSource reporter Rich Lord explains why some tenant advocacy groups are looking for ways to grow renters’ political influence in his latest story about “Tenant Cities”; and the Pittsburgh Union of Regional Renters has been recruiting volunteers to help those experiencing evictions with everything from remembering their hearing date to filling out paperwork. 

Coyote Hunts In Pennsylvania Debated

22 hours ago
Brennan Linsley / AP

A dead Eastern coyote hung upside down above a bucket of dried blood in a rural Pennsylvania fire hall, its lips locked in a perpetual snarl.

Some men crouched beside it, while other adults twirled spaghetti with a fork, looking on from aluminum chairs. Children held canned sodas and stared.

“Thirty-eight pounds even,” the men said when the needle on the scale settled.

Tenant Cities: Renter Power Movement Gains Strength Amid COVID Stress

Mar 1, 2021
Jay Manning / PublicSource

The evicted tenant didn’t know where her three-person family would stay the night, how she’d move her belongings and pets, or even whether the dozen chicks huddled in a plastic tub would survive the chilly drizzle. She knew, though, that she wasn’t alone.

Paul Sancya / AP

As shutdowns and closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic approach the one-year point, many respondents in a recent WESA/Campos survey said their finances are worsening.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

The decision to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for staff of Wexford-based IntegraCare's long-term care facilities was a matter of life or death for CEO Larry Rouvelas.

Pitt Fossil Free Coalition

The University of Pittsburgh Ad Hoc Committee on Fossil Fuels released a report on February 19 outlining its plans to fully divest from private fossil fuel investments by 2035. The move follows the university’s establishment of the committee in June pledging to take more steps toward sustainability in the future, including a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2037.  

Another Pennsylvania Health Network Vaccinates Employee Family Members

Feb 26, 2021
David Goldman / AP

A second Pennsylvania health system has acknowledged that it gave the COVID-19 vaccine to employees' family members, but said it halted the program after discussions with the state Department of Health.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania on Thursday used a hearing to ask Gov. Tom Wolf's top health official whether it was a mistake to order COVID-19 patients to be readmitted to nursing homes, although it is far from clear that the policy led to an outbreak or death.

90.5 WESA

More public art is coming to City of Pittsburgh parks and other public spaces, courtesy of funding the scale of which the city has not seen in decades.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

Two different locals of the second-largest union in the U.S. are putting their weight behind two different Pittsburgh mayoral candidates. Government and accountability editor Chris Potter looks into why the Service Employees International Union 32BJ backed Mayor Bill Peduto, while SEIU Healthcare PA is supporting his primary challenger, state Rep. Ed Gainey.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Transforming a tow pound lot into a public park, overlooks along the West End Bridge and a park in Pittsburgh’s Chateau neighborhood are some of the ways Riverlife hopes to revitalize more areas along the city’s riverfronts.

Heather Khalifa / Philadelphia Inquirer

Applications open next month for $145 million in state grants for small hospitality businesses, with a significant change by lawmakers intended to ensure the money is more accessible to low-income and minority owners shut out from some relief last year.

Julie Grant / The Allegheny Front

Each well drilled using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas production creates tens of millions of gallons of wastewater, called produced water or brine. In Ohio, much of that wastewater is disposed of in underground injection wells, including waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As the number of injection wells grows in Ohio, local communities want some control over where these wells are located.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Dr. Rachel Levine said she would continue to promote science and fact-based COVID-19 guidance if confirmed to be Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health during a hearing before a U.S. Senate committee Thursday. Pennsylvania’s former top health official would be the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate, and while the majority of questions were about the pandemic, Levine also fielded a series of questions that some groups decried as transphobic.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

A volunteer-run website is intended to make it easier for people to schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Julie Bennett / AP

A federal grand jury has indicted the former administrator of a local nursing home, alleging that the administrator directed employees to over-report their work hours in order to satisfy federal staffing requirements.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Nearly 200 people met virtually Thursday night to hear how the city of Pittsburgh plans to roll out its Bike(+) Master Plan, which aims to add 150 miles of bike infrastructure over the next 10 years.

Alex Brandon / AP

A state Republican Party meeting in Pennsylvania to discuss whether to censure U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey recessed late Wednesday night without resolution after roughly five hours because of technical difficulties in counting votes, committee members on the call said.

Party officials are taking Toomey to task for his vote to convict Donald Trump during the former president’s second impeachment trial.

Scott Sonner / AP

On today's program: The Pennsylvania State Education Association says it’s disappointed the U.S. Department of Education is not waiving annual assessments but appreciates flexibility from the state; PA Youth Congress, a youth LGBTQ advocacy organization, says there is an epidemic of violence against transgender people; and a researcher explains how HIV and COVID-19 have disproportionately affected people of color.  

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

When public health historian Aishah Scott wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on the effects of the AIDS epidemic on Black Americans two years ago, she warned that even if a cure for HIV were found tomorrow, “A new disease would emerge wreaking the same havoc on the African American community.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Mark Williams has not returned to his fourth grade classroom. The Environmental Charter School teacher says he wants to return and is willing to do so if the administrators who suspended him without pay last week begin restorative justice.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state Senators unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would require the Department of Health to work with the state’s National Guard to plan regional COVID-19 vaccination sites across the Commonwealth.