Local Stories

Pittsburgh’s philanthropic community is preparing to stem the effects of coronavirus on the region. So far, there are no confirmed cases in Allegheny County.

Voting In The Time Of Coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020
Carolyn Kaster / AP

What are election officials in Pennsylvania doing to prepare to run the April 28 presidential primary at the same time the state and nation are grappling with a public health emergency?

Analyst: Oil Price War Might Actually Be Good For Pennsylvania Shale Industry

Mar 13, 2020
Keith Srakocic / AP

Saudi Arabia and Russia are in the midst of a price war against one another that is also meant to hurt American oil companies, and analysts say it could hurt American shale companies that produce oil. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A Pennsylvania man has been charged with attempted homicide after, authorities say, he camouflaged himself in the woods and shot at a school van with children inside.

Police arrested Bryon Benetas, 41, after finding him Tuesday in a wooded area in Shenango Township with two guns, WPXI reported.

“Did you shoot at the van?” A WPXI reporter asked Benetas. “I did not,” he replied while being led away in handcuffs.

John Minchillo / AP

Jennifer England was waiting to board her flight back home to Pittsburgh when she started to feel sick: a sore throat, a cough, body aches, fever.

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:

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County is not following Gov. Tom Wolf’s recommendation that Pennsylvanians cancel and avoid any gatherings larger than 250 people, so as to discourage the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Port Authority of Allegheny County will now disinfect its vehicles every 72 hours, an increase from its regular monthly schedule. Agency officials say it is a preventative measure to limit the reach of the coronavirus. So far, there are no confirmed cases in Allegheny County. 

Screengrab of Fox News via Youtube

Republican candidate Sean Parnell wants to flip the 17th Congressional district from blue to red in November, and among the new supporters he's attracted in the district, one name stands out: his own. When Parnell kicked off his campaign against incumbent Democrat Conor Lamb last fall, he lived just a few miles outside the district lines, making him unable to vote in the 17th.

John Minchillo / AP

  On today's program: What we know right now about how Pittsburgh is preparing for COVID-19, and state health officials aren’t obligated to tell us much about who is infected; an author questions how long the American shale boom will last; BOOM Concepts urges young Pittsburghers to funnel their dreams into art; and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre marks a historic debut performance.

Allentown Schools Close As Temple U. Shifts To Online Class

Mar 12, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Temple University is adding itself to the growing number of colleges and universities in Pennsylvania that are sending students home because of the new coronavirus, while more positive tests cropped up in the state and Allentown city's schools shut down Thursday and Friday.


The Pennsylvania Department of Health said Thursday morning the number of positive COVID-19 cases has reached 21.

Marc Levy / AP

A task force set up three years ago issued recommendations Wednesday about how to improve the process of reentering outside society among prisoners who have finished their sentences.

The Pennsylvania Reentry Council's report addresses housing, work, health, education and other challenges that former inmates face upon release from incarceration.

Photo by Kitoko Chargois / Courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

“SKIN + Saltwater” is Staycee Pearl’s contribution to the new show by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. It’s a world premiere for the veteran choreographer, and also another significant first: Pearl is the first African-American woman to create a dance for the 51-year-old troupe.

The 18-minute work is part of PBT’s “Here + Now” program, which opens March 20, at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. That’s a bit more than a year since Pearl was offered the opportunity, in a phone call from PBT executive director Harris Ferris.

Ariel Worthy / WESA

​Mayor Bill Peduto said Pittsburgh will continue its normal operations as city workers prepare for the potential spread of the coronavirus in Allegheny County.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Amid nationwide calls for more transparency around the coronavirus pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has for the first time released some data on testing for coronavirus. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools said an employee will be under self-quarantine for the next two weeks, though the district is not concerned the woman has exposed students or staff.


Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On Wednesday, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of PittsburghDuquesne University, Chatham University, and Robert Morris University announced they are switching all classes to online instruction as the schools prepare for a possible spread of COVID-19

Maria Scapellato / 90.5 WESA

As COVID-19 continues to spread, local employers are considering how best to protect employees, customers and business operations. Eric Fair, the manager for IT and risk advisory practices at Pittsburgh-based Schneider Downs, said that many organizations are already enhancing cleaning policies at work sites and limiting business travel.

Ariel Worthy / WESA

The city of Pittsburgh has cancelled its annual St. Patrick's Day parade and an anticipated G7 Minister's Summit, out of concern for the spread of COVID-19. It has also halted all domestic and international travel for city employees unless essential. 

Ben Filio for The Sprout Fund / Knotzland

On today's program: A Homewood-born bowtie company is getting love from celebrities and yinzers alike; how risk managers assess the coronavirus; what happened when a Puerto Rican family bought a home in an exclusionary neighborhood; and local teachers share how they talk to kids about racism.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

UPMC and Allegheny County are being sued after the hospital system allegedly performed urine testing on a woman and her newborn — without the woman’s consent — and then turned over the results to county officials for investigation.

Matt Rourke / AP

Former vice president Joe Biden had a good night Tuesday. 

As of midnight, he had won Mississippi, Missouri, the key swing state of Michigan and was leading in Idaho. It was too soon to call races in Washington and North Dakota.

Biden declared that his campaign “is taking off” but celebrating those victories was a little more difficult.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Local residents voiced trepidation at a meeting in Homewood Tuesday about the use of algorithms to guide criminal justice, law enforcement, and child welfare decisions.

Updated at 11:24 a.m. ET

It was another big night for Joe Biden.

The former vice president won a set of resounding victories over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, most notably in Michigan, which Sanders won four years ago.

Barring something catastrophic for Biden, the results now put him on a path to being the Democratic nominee and the candidate to take on President Trump in the fall.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Propel McKeesport elementary teacher Timesha Cohen said she is uncomfortable talking about race in her classroom. But, she said she knows it’s vital for her students.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilors Daniel Lavelle and Ricky Burgess introduced legislation on Tuesday that asks the city to adopt 10 commitments to racial equity. 

Chad Hunt

Dr. Azra Raza has many stories to tell about cancer and its treatment.

Don Wright / AP

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys will play in the Hall of Fame Game to honor their former coaches, Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson, who will be inducted this summer.

Bastiaan Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

Yali Perez worries about her son Ian playing outside with other kids near their home in Bridesburg. On paper, the neighborhood is safe. Yali and her mother, Brenda Santiago, moved here precisely because of its safety.