WESA Local News

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is banking on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's "Restore Pennsylvania" infrastructure plan to fix its aging parks. The governor's plan would be funded by a severance tax to the natural gas industry, something Republicans in the legislature have repeatedly rejected.

As Suburbs Roar, PA Democrats Pick Top 2020 Target

16 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP

To understand Pennsylvania's fast-changing political geography, look no further than Tom Killion.

Matt Slocum / AP

The Philadelphia Flyers are covering a statue of singer Kate Smith outside their arena, following the New York Yankees in cutting ties and looking into allegations of racism against the 1930s star with a popular recording of "God Bless America."

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Few legislators are more supportive of Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry than state Sen. Gene Yaw (Bradford), who serves as the Republican chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is ending a seven-year lawsuit over a lack of funding for public defense in Luzerne County.

Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that doesn’t provide any funding or central oversight for criminal defense of its poorest people.

It leaves the job totally up to counties and some, like Luzerne, have been found lacking.  

Courtesy of University of Pittsburgh Press

Among poets, explicitly writing about one’s own life is rarer than some readers might think. That makes the title of Toi Derricotte’s new book, “‘i’: New and Selected Poems,” a bit unusual. 

Emma Lee / WHYY

A renewed legislative effort to curb the use of disposable plastic shopping bags in Pennsylvania is milder than measures enacted or proposed in some other states and may not achieve its goals of reducing waste and cutting the use of fossil fuels even if it becomes law, advocates said.

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

At a Duquesne Light facility in Pittsburgh, 10 high school students hunched over sheets of paper, pens in hand, as they sketched their dream homes.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh's second annual report on equity found the city was no more equitable in 2018 than in 2017. However, some indicators did see change.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday reiterated their desire to change Pennsylvania’s police use-of-force law. 

Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election / U.S. Department of Justice

Pittsburgh shows up in the report on Russian interference in the 2016 election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.


The McKeesport Area School District punched back Wednesday against a federal lawsuit that accuses the district and its superintendent of blocking the creation of a black student union. 

Meet The 'Crazy' Moms Saying One Of PA's Top-Rated School Districts Can't Teach Reading

Apr 18, 2019
Emma Lee / WHYY

The small parent rebellion forming in one of Pennsylvania’s wealthiest school districts began at a Starbucks in suburban Chester County.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police announced Thursday that the majority of its policies are now published online. Those policies include the bureau's code of ethics, use of force policy and its rules on critical incidents, such as police-involved shootings that result in death or serious injury. 

Police Chief Scott Schubert said that the move was part of the bureau's efforts to promote transparency. 

Pennsylvania Agency Defends Closure Of Beloved Hiking Trail

Apr 18, 2019
Michael Rubinkam / AP

The Pennsylvania Game Commission said Wednesday that it would cost $1.7 million to make a beloved, well-known hiking trail safe for the public — which is why the agency plans to close it altogether.

The Glen Onoko Falls Trail has proven to be too dangerous, and the game commission has no money to fund safety improvements, said the agency's spokesman, Travis Lau, who confirmed the trail will close indefinitely on May 1.

Mark Scolforo / AP

Pennsylvania’s prison system is updating its mail policy—the latest in a long string of security changes.

But while many of those changes prompted concern among inmates’ rights groups, they’re welcoming this one.

Starting this week, people incarcerated in state prisons can receive photo books—the kind that can be designed and ordered online. They have to be soft-bound and hold 25 pages or fewer, and must be sent to prisons directly from a third-party manufacturer.

Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY

Gov. Tom Wolf’s PFAS Action Team met with residents in Abington, Pa. on Monday to update them on plans to test water sources across the state for contamination by a toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS.

Pennsylvania Government Watchdog To Probe Teen's Murder

Apr 18, 2019
Bucks County District Attorney, via AP

A Pennsylvania state government watchdog agency has launched an investigation into the horrific case of a 14-year-old girl who had extensive contact with the child welfare system before her 2016 rape, torture and murder, a lawmaker who requested the review announced Wednesday.

The Office of State Inspector General has agreed to look into whether the Department of Human Services acted properly in its handling of the Grace Packer case.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburghers can now get free stickers, buttons and window decals that say, “We have Narcan in case of emergency.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Sixteen-year-old Isabelle Walker sits at a black lab table wearing a lab coat. She stares down at a petri dish.

“We’re trying to see how different bacterial colonies grow in different conditions,” she said. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA


Jim Brunton pulled his boxy delivery truck into the loading dock of his family’s milk plant after wrapping up his weekly door-to-door route, which starts around 4 a.m.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Visitors to the Historical Society of Carnegie typically come for two reasons: they love former Pittsburgh Pirates great Honus Wagner or they have a connection to the small, southwestern Pennsylvania borough. 

Courtesy of UPMC

Clinics promising stem cell treatment for a growing list of difficult conditions are doing so despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about the dangers of unproven therapies. These practitioners are preaching hope where there might not be any yet, according to Dr. J. Peter Rubin, chair of the department of plastic surgery at UPMC. 

Katie Meyer / WITF

The state House’s Legislative Black Caucus is looking to change some of the laws governing Pennsylvania’s police officers. 

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Andrea Slozna is a guidance counselor at the Environmental Charter School in Regent Square, as well as a mom to two tiny people. Both her 3-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son required intensive medical attention after their births, but she was able to nurse both of them. It can be a bumpy road, feeding a new person with one’s body, especially when there’s so much pressure in the first few months of a baby’s life to ensure he or she gains weight, Slozna says.

Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

​​​The complaint came in on an answering service for the Allegheny County Health Department’s air quality hotline on Dec. 26 at 8:17 p.m.: “SMELL IS VERY BAD CANNOT EVEN LET DOGS OUT” 

Courtesy of Pennsylvania Resources Council

When people envision a sustainable future, they might think of such industrial-scale, tech-heavy approaches as solar arrays and electric vehicles. But creating a greener civilization also includes strategies as simple as finding new homes for stuff you don’t want any more.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Eleven McKeesport Area High School students allege their school district has blocked the creation of a black student union. Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, they sued the district and its superintendent in federal court last week.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

People walking along Forbes and Fifth avenues, and Ross and Grant streets will start to have a clearer path with less scaffolding as restoration of the Allegheny County Courthouse roof passes the halfway point. 

Sabrina Bodon / 90.5 WESA

Jake Williams’ favorite position to play in baseball is shortstop. He can also step in as a right-handed pitcher or play third. His infield throw is 94 miles per hour. He also has a 4.4 GPA and a 1440 on his SAT. All of this information can be found on his sports resume.