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Former Arena Site Controversy Lands In City Council

Jan 9, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Unrest over the lack of development on the 28-acre site that once included the Civic Arena has found its way to Pittsburgh City Council.

Council members will vote this week on a bill requesting the involvement of the city solicitor. The bill was introduced by Councilman Daniel Lavelle who represents the neighborhoods closest to the site.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Like any former steel town in western Pennsylvania, Aliquippa has struggled since the industry collapsed in the 1980s. But in a town known for its football superstars, Mayor Dwan Walker, now in his second term, wants to prove that his city is ready and eager for revitalization. 

Prototype PGH

Louise Larson, 28, of Garfield has recently gotten interested in wood turning, the process of using a lathe to make something out of a block of wood. She said during a recent visit to a wood working shop to purchase some of those blocks, called blanks, she was bothered by how the cashier treated her.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

At more than three hours, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority officials said the informational meeting they held Wednesday in Lawrenceville was one of the longest yet.

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UPDATE: This story was updated at 11:40am to clarify that the fire was due to an equipment failure at the well pad.

Rebecca and Jeffrey Ruffing and their six children live less than 600 feet from the Rice Energy natural gas well pad that caught fire Sunday afternoon.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Otis, a 10-foot-long, 450-pound North American alligator rested his head against the cool exterior of his well-heated indoor pen.

It’s where he vacations each winter when it’s too cold to stay outdoors at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Otis summers in a pond inside Kids Kingdom and moving him to the reptile building just behind the elephant exhibit takes up to 12 people and some serious muscle, once they get him inside his crate.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Six-year-old Anaiah Newman and her mother Connie make time to hand out toiletries to children at the Center for Hope in Ambridge. But Anaiah said she felt it was unfair that she had fun bath time supplies at home, while those children got boring grown-up stuff.

“She talked about this for days. So, I said, ‘let’s go to the store,’ and we went to the dollar store and got some stuff,” said Connie. “Made some bags and donated them. She just got addicted to doing them.”

Pittsburgh Air Is Still Bad, But It Is Getting Better

Dec 27, 2016
Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

Air quality in western Pennsylvania improved in 2016, according to three regional monitors tracked by the Allegheny County Health Department.

“It was a good year in ozone,” said Jayme Graham, the department's air quality manager.

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

It started as a pothole.

A driver blew a tire in the Borough of Ephrata at 6 a.m. on Election Day and alerted the public works department.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Nied’s Hotel in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood is one of a handful of bars where workers who clock out while most hit the alarm clock can still meet for coffee or a beer. Taverns that cater to third-shift workers aren’t a new concept to Pittsburgh, but over the years, their clientele has evolved.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

  The Pittsburgh Tenants Union has been "a long time coming," said Ronell Guy, executive director of The Northside Coalition for Fair Housing. The resident-focused community development organization is spearheading efforts to create a city-wide tenants union.

Three New Developments To Watch Along The Ohio River

Dec 19, 2016
Allegheny Front

1. Shell's Ethane Cracker

Shell faced questions this week at local and state hearings over the new petrochemical plant it plans to build northwest of Pittsburgh. Local officials asked the company about air and water pollution from the plant—as well as how noise, light and traffic will impact the surrounding communities.

Are We Heading For A Hydropower Boom On The Three Rivers?

Dec 16, 2016
Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr

Behind a chain link fence, Paul Jacob watches water spill over a dam on Neville Island—a 1,200-acre stretch of land in the Ohio River near Pittsburgh that’s a hive of industrial lots and chemical plants. 

Mapping Drones Help Keep Construction Work On Track

Dec 13, 2016
Identified Technologies

The logo may look like a drone, and the drone might get all the attention on the job site, but the leadership of Identified Technologies Corporation in Larimer says drones are not the focus of their growing company.

“We do use them as a tool as part of this work flow, but the drone has become the least interesting and least special part of the work flow,” said Dick Zhang, the company's CEO and founder.

They use commercially available drones and cameras to create two and three-dimensional models of construction sites to help monitor progress.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

First year medical student Aneta Kowalski knocked on the door of the classroom. Upon entering, she used sanitizer to clean her hands and introduced herself to the patient, Brandi Welle. 

Kowalski and Welle sat down and began to talk. Welle said that she was in a car accident four years ago. She was suffering from hip pain and was dependent on pain killers. But she also no longer has a prescription and had been dropped by several doctors for her dependency.

“I think I have a problem,” Welle told Kowalski. “I think I need some help." 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Even Pittsburghers who don’t know exactly what The Midwife Center is have probably noticed the mural that adorns its northeastern wall while driving through the Strip District.

Ryan Loew / for Keystone Crossroads

 

Deckhands Jeremy Groves and Dustin Frazee  descend from the towboat D.L. Johnson to inspect their cargo: a single barge of coal. They circle the barge, walking along its edges — the gunnels — to make sure everything looks okay. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Could a virus offer a cure to cancer?

That’s the question researchers at Western Oncolytics, based in Harmar, are trying to answer. In fact, they’re hoping to start clinical trials in 2017.

Chief science officer Stephen Thorne said the idea that a virus could help kill cancer has been around for a century, but only since the 1990s have scientists been able to modify DNA to create a virus specifically designed to fight cancer.  

The first wave of research focused on creating a virus that could only grow inside a tumor.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Eric Luster grew up in a three-bedroom 1920s-era home on a quiet dead end street in Homewood. It was a self-described good childhood, but he thought he would have a better future in Atlanta, Ga., so he moved out of town to raise his five children.

Leslie Chatfield / flickr

Pittsburgh could become the first municipality in the state to ban conversion therapy for minors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. City Council introduced legislation Tuesday that would prevent parents and guardians from forcing youth to undergo the practice.   

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Jenni Broskey is bundled in a black hoodie at the back of a chilly warehouse on Pittsburgh’s North Side. She’s folding and bagging more than 200 newspapers, and she’s about to lose her job.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Before heading to the practice field, Westinghouse High School football players met in a classroom, where Coach Monte Robinson read questions from a notecard about alcohol and sexual violence. He told them to be honest.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The region’s first pay-what-you-can restaurant is expected to open in January in New Kensington. Knead Community Café is modeled after similar facilities around the country that offer meals in exchange for donations or volunteer time.

Mary and Kevin Bode, cofounders of the café, said they wanted to renovate the $64,000 building with the hopes that it would spur revitalization in the city’s downtown.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

    

Danny Chew loves numbers, and one of his most important numbers is 1 million. That’s how many miles he plans to ride his bicycle in his lifetime.

“I’ve kept track of my miles going all way back to 1978, in high school,” he said. “I have a book for every year. That’s almost 40 years’ worth of books now.”

A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide." The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.

Hill District Tours Aim To Change Impressions Of The Neighborhood

Nov 22, 2016
Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

A few decades ago, Terri Baltimore tagged along with a group of architecture students and their professor while they were visiting the Hill District.

“And what they said about this neighborhood broke my heart,” she said. “That it was dirty.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

In the lobby of the Federal Building on Grant Street Downtown, Nic Woods emptied his pockets into a white plastic basket. It took him a while, as he was covered with clips and locks and wearing a large messenger bag.

Kara Holsopple / 90.5 WESA

 

For six months in 2015, Google Street View mapping cars drove 320 miles through Pittsburgh neighborhoods. They weren’t mapping streets, but instead searched for methane leaks.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Beverly Thornton cuddles babies on Wednesdays.

When she walks into the neonatal intensive care unit at Magee Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, she said she can often already hear a baby crying.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak urged her colleagues to adopt gender equality legislation accepted by most United Nations countries decades ago at a post-agenda meeting and public hearing on Tuesday.

The international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW, was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly; the United State is one of six nations that has still not signed on to the treaty.

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