WESA Local News

Chuck Balcik/ Allegheny Health Network / AP

A Pittsburgh's hospital's obstetrics department became Ozstetrics as the staff dressed up four newborns as characters from "The Wizard of Oz."

Wolf Tells Pipeline Activists He Won't Shut Down Mariner East

18 minutes ago
Jon Hurdle / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf told anti-pipeline activists on Thursday that he is not going to stop construction or operation of Sunoco's Mariner East pipelines.

At a rare face-to-face meeting with opponents at a pipeline construction site in East Goshen Township, Chester County, Wolf was repeatedly urged to shut down the pipeline until public safety can be assured.

But he disappointed activists by stating clearly that he would not do so.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania is marshaling more money to help pay for better water treatment in suburban Philadelphia communities where testing has shown tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers.

John Raoux / AP

Pennsylvania’s attorney general is touting an agreement he and other attorneys general have made with a number of the country’s biggest phone companies.

It’s aimed at cracking down on unwanted robocalls.

Not all robocalls are illegal.

But many are—particularly ones from unknown numbers trying to sell people things without their consent.

Brett Sholtis / WITF

After hearing reports on television of dangerous E. coli levels in the Susquehanna River, John Mower decided to head over to City Island. 

The 59-year-old from Wormleysburg said he's been sick for the last two days after taking his pontoon boat on the river and wading in it with his granddaughter and fiancee.

"Cold chills, fevers, diarrhea, throwing up, and I just ain't been feeling good, and me and my fiancee just couldn't figure out why," he said. 

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

Dozens of women attended a Women for Trump event in Allison Park Thursday evening, to show their support for the president, and one another, ahead of next year’s election.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala will not charge a Penn Hills police officer in the July 14 shooting death of 20-year-old Onaje Dickinson.

Nati Harnik / AP

Dick's Sporting Goods announced on Thursday that sales are up at some stores that are no longer selling guns. But the Corapolis-based company said it hasn't made a decision about whether to pull firearms from all its stores.

Last fall, as a test, it pulled 10 stores out of the "hunt business." Those stores would not sell any hunting- related gear, including guns, and instead would increase inventory of more profitable items, like sports jerseys and outerwear. 

Tony Gutierrez / AP

The Pittsburgh Pirates are parting ways with veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has been hampered by multiple concussions this season.

The jet dropped like a silvery stone out of the sky overtop West Virginia’s capital city. It evened out just over the Kanawha River and roared down its length, water flashing in the jet’s wake. 

Crazily, the pilot charged toward a bridge over the river. Was he going to pull up?

Joseph Ellis Turner, age 11, watched in awe as the jet dashed under the bridge, not over it.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

A state commission is holding hearings this week in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh to get feedback on its latest effort to make Pennsylvania’s criminal sentencing process more objective.

Marc Levy / AP

A string of homicides allegedly committed by five Pennsylvania men following their release from prison prompted an investigation by the state’s corrections department last month. The five parolees were charged with committing a total of six homicides over a two-month period, the Associated Press reported.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

An Allegheny County Council committee held a hearing Wednesday on a proposed civilian police review board. Councilors will vote on whether to create the board at their meeting next Tuesday.

The board would lead independent investigations into allegations of police misconduct, though municipalities would not be required to participate.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

On a hot, sunny day in South Park Township, a team of roboticists from Philadelphia anxiously wait outside of the Safety Research Coal Mine at the Bruceton Research Center. Team Pluto has a four-legged robot inside, and it's looking for objects in the simulated mine disaster scenario. No team members are allowed inside, so it's counting on the robot to deliver the news. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Republicans easily won a special election to retain a seat in the state House of Representatives in a GOP-leaning district in central Pennsylvania.

Republican David Rowe won Tuesday's special election in parts of Union and Snyder counties by a nearly two-to-one margin over Democrat Jennifer Rager-Kay.

The former incumbent, Republican Rep. Fred Keller, was elected to Congress. With Rowe's victory, Republicans will have a 110-93 majority over Democrats in the state House.

Matt Rourke / AP

One state House lawmaker is trying to pitch a new solution to a very old Pennsylvania problem: the reliance on school property taxes.

Lebanon County Republican Representative Frank Ryan acknowledged Tuesday, his still-unintroduced property tax elimination plan would be a big, difficult pill for the commonwealth to swallow. That’s mainly because the plan contains nearly five-percent tax on all retirement income except Social Security.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh needs more housing, but housing that reflects what neighborhoods want and need. That was the driving sentiment behind a meeting in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood Tuesday night, where attendees discussed ways to influence the development process.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb was challenged on the issue of impeachment and gun control at a town hall in Allison Park on Tuesday evening. 


Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania will lose nearly $400,000 of annual funding it received through Title X, a federal program that provides reproductive health care services to low-income Americans.

Greg Sousa / AP

A committee of Pennsylvania Game Commission staff has recommended a statewide ban on feeding white-tailed deer. 

The agency biologists say that banning artificial feeding stations would help slow the spread of wildlife diseases. They're asking residents to voluntarily stop feeding deer.

Man's Death While Held In PA County Prison Raises Questions

Aug 20, 2019
Michael Rubinkam / AP

Carmen Riley bent over her unconscious son, looked into his eyes and knew. It didn't take a mother's intuition or a doctor's prognosis to figure out that Ty'rique was gone.

Several days earlier, 21-year-old Ty'rique Riley had been jailed after an altercation with his father. Now he lay in a hospital bed, his body covered in lacerations and deep, dark bruises. He was missing teeth. His kidneys were failing.

How did this happen? And who was responsible?

Seven weeks after his death, Riley's family and supporters are pushing for answers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A former Uber driver convicted of kidnapping and assaulting a woman he picked up while off-duty in Pittsburgh has been sentenced to nearly a year in jail.

Soumana Dao received a 364-day term on Monday and will get credit the roughly four months he has already served. The 32-year-old city man will also serve five years of probation and 15 years as a registered sex offender.


The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office reportedly pursues more insurance fraud cases than any other agency in the state. An investigation by BuzzFeed News found that the office gets evidence and money from insurance companies to handle claims filed by customers.

Thrival Festival

Technology, education and music will come together next month for the seventh annual Thrival Festival,  Sept. 18-20 in Oakland. This year's event has a local theme: "By Pittsburgh, For Pittsburgh, For the World."

Pennsylvania Wants To Know What You’re Throwing Away

Aug 20, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania is going dumpster diving as part of two multi-year, statewide studies of the commonwealth's trash and recycling systems.

Matt Rourke / AP

Voters are about to fill the lone vacancy in the state House of Representatives with a special election in a Republican-leaning central Pennsylvania district.

The election Tuesday is for a seat vacated in May, when the former incumbent, Republican Rep. Fred Keller, was elected to Congress.

The race pits Republican David Rowe, a fitness business owner and former township commissioner, against Jennifer Rager-Kay, a Democrat and doctor who lost to Keller last year by a 2-to-1 margin.

Republican Clair Moyer is pursuing a write-in campaign.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh officials have announced efforts aimed at shaping the city’s transportation future, from a pilot program aimed at linking modes of transit to long-range plans. City leadership has been intentionally slow to adopt personal modes of transport such as electric scooters, but it welcomed companies interested in testing autonomous vehicles; a self-driving shuttle to connect Oakland and Hazelwood remains a possibility.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Sports and Exhibition Authority announced Monday that it terminated controller Sharon Mink, after discovering that she allegedly made an unauthorized wire transfer of $21,350 in April 2018. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Central Lawrenceville buzzed with the sounds of chainsaws Monday, after strong winds and rain from a weekend downburst uprooted several trees in the Allegheny Cemetery. Crews spent Monday afternoon cutting off branches from a particularly large tree hovering over a grassy patch near the cemetery’s gates off Butler Street. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

After nearly three years of work, Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure will present a draft of a new bike plan this fall. The work is part of a wider effort to rethink city streets.