WESA Local News

Courtest of Touchstone Center for Crafts

On today's program: Touchstone keeps traditional crafting alive in the Laurel Highlands; The Bellefield Tower is the last remnant of a community; Pittsburgh's three major sports teams are having a rough year; and the ACLU of Pennsylvania wants to throw out a state constitutional amendment referendum. 

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Investigators are blaming an electrical extension cord for a fire that killed five small children two months ago in Pennsylvania.

The investigative team said Thursday that the deadly Aug. 11 fire at the Erie, Pennsylvania, home that included the Harris Family Daycare was an accident, caused by an electrical failure associated with the routinely used cord.

Brett Sholtis / WITF

A lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Ronald Gainer and the diocese’s former bishop, Kevin Rhoades, alleges the church turned a blind eye while a teacher drugged and raped a student.  

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday moved to delay its vote on a revised development agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose real estate affiliate holds exclusive development rights to the 28-acre former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

Trump administration officials came to western Pennsylvania to hail the revitalization of the steel industry on Thursday. But they declined to cite local examples of where exactly that reinvestment has created new jobs.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A weathered stone structure sits quietly on the corner of Fifth and Bellefield avenues in Oakland as students, cars and buses hurry past. Six sandstone steps guide visitors to a big red door framed by black wrought iron fasteners.

As PA Compensation Programs End, Church Victims Wrestle With The Price Put On Abuse

Oct 11, 2019
Natalie Piserchio / WHYY

Last year’s grand jury report detailing sexual assault allegations against 301 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania raised the question: how would the church respond?

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Two members of Allegheny County Council say they will file an ethics complaint against independent District Attorney candidate Lisa Middleman for holding a political event in the Allegheny County Courthouse Monday – although such events are not unprecedented, and county officials said Middleman’s event presented no security concerns.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A group of southwestern Pennsylvania business owners say tariff-related price increases have directly affected their ability to do business. At a panel in the Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood on Thursday members of the nonprofit, chemicals, manufacturing, and agricultural industries addressed how the Trump administration’s trade tariffs directly are impacting them.

Keith Srakocic / AP

On today's program: Pennsylvania could be the roadmap to handling gerrymandering in other states; new meat inspection rules could have implications for the safety of food and workers; a local school takes a new approach to teaching social studies; Pittsburghers consider a tax to pay for city parks improvements; and state police aren't collecting data about the race of those they pull over. 

Gerald Herbert / AP

Trump administration officials say the U.S. Navy will name a ship that has yet to be built after the city of Harrisburg.

Bret Hartman / AP via Marsy'sLawForAll.org

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed an eleventh-hour challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment set to be on the ballot next month.

Chris Potter, 90.5 WESA-FM

Considering it’s wedged between the Parkway North and downtown Pittsburgh, Spring Hill Playground looks almost bucolic – at least at first. 

USFWS Midwest Region / Flickr

Forty percent of Pennsylvania's birds are directly threatened by climate change, a new report from the Audubon Society finds. The sweeping paper estimates two-thirds of North American birds are at risk of extinction due to a warming planet.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Social studies teachers in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District say they’re concerned that they aren’t preparing students to be contributing citizens.

Matt Smith for Keystone Crossroads

A former chairman of Pennsylvania’s Board of Education, Larry Wittig, has been permanently banned from US Olympic sports for sexual misconduct involving a minor.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

A bill that aims to let more people with disabilities access a program that gives them medical services appears primed to move quickly through the state Senate.

It may be a rare area where Democrats and Republicans can agree on health care.

Carolyn Kaster / 90.5 WESA

The Rankin Police Department will hand over night patrols to the Pennsylvania State Police next month. Rankin will still have its own police force, but Mayor M. Nicholas Glova said Tuesday that the borough has struggled to keep enough officers to provide round-the-clock coverage.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: More veterans are dying from suicide than on the battlefield; Crawford Grill could soon be a nationally recognized historic landmark; Pitt has appealed a renewed chance for its grad students to unionize; and there's a new database of addiction treatment and recovery resources across Pennsylvania.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Fall enrollment in the state’s 14 state-owned universities fell again for the ninth straight year, and enrollment has declined by about 20 percent from when it peaked in 2010. However, state system leaders are hesitant to attribute the decline to any one reason.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Appalachian Regional Commission has announced $44.4 million for 54 projects affecting coal-impacted communities in Appalachian states.

Courtesy of United Steelworkers

The University of Pittsburgh is moving to block a new election seeking to unionize graduate student workers that was proposed in September by a state labor board official.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Environmental advocates gathered on Tuesday to discuss how to convince the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority or ALCOSAN that green infrastructure is the best way to significantly reduce sewage overflows in the region.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The firm overseeing the Diocese of Pittsburgh's fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse says it’s received 367 claims. The deadline to apply was September 30.

Whitethorn Digital

In an industry flooded with shooter games and adventure titles, one Erie company is branding itself as an oasis for stressed out gamers. Video game publisher Whitethorn Digital aims to give a platform to independent, chilled-out games.

Joel Tsui / Courtesy of Satellite Space and Kevin Clancy

Kevin Clancy grew up in the time before everyone had cell phones – back when a dial-up connection at his mom’s office was his lone internet access.

Haven Daley / AP

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is suing Lebanon County’s court system and probation department over a decision to bar people on parole from using medical marijuana.

Courtesy of John Van Hamersveld

On today's program: The man behind dozens of iconic 1960's album covers brings his art to Greensburg; Pennsylvania's first vaping-illness death is reported; a local doctor is testing out fixed prices for medical services instead of insurance; and the new SCOTUS term could result in dozens of landmark decisions on issues like abortion and gun control. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A new judge is in place to handle the child sexual abuse resentencing hearing for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday issued an order appointing Judge Maureen Skerda to take over the case.

The previous jurist, Judge John Foradora of Jefferson County, recused himself last month.

Washington County Family Members Tell State To ‘Fix’ Their Cancer Study

Oct 8, 2019
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The families of several people diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in one Washington County School District told state health officials to update their data at a public hearing Monday night. 

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