WESA Local News

Mary Altaffer / AP

Pennsylvanians who want to get jobs as nurses, funeral directors or hairdressers must first be licensed. For some, that requirement makes it impossible to enter certain professions. Under current law, licensing boards can deny certification automatically to those who have been convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor relevant to the occupation.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump will make his fourth visit to Pennsylvania this year, this time to Hershey as he makes his case in the presidential battleground state.

Shell Tells Community Meeting That Ethane Cracker In Beaver County Is At Peak Employment

7 hours ago
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Shell officials told a group of residents Thursday night that they are nearing completion on a pipeline that will feed the Beaver County ethane cracker. They also said the plant is in peak construction mode, with 6,000 craft workers working on the site.

Myles Garrett's Suspension For Helmet Attack Upheld After Appeal

7 hours ago
David Richard / AP

Myles Garrett’s goal was to be NFL’s top defensive player this season. He won’t finish it.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Labor leaders are blasting the e-commerce giant Amazon, accusing it of not hiring local workers to build a $30 million “fulfillment center” in Findlay Township – allegations the company denies.

Pennsylvania To Fund Research Into Fracking Health Impacts

9 hours ago
Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday his administration will spend $3 million on a pair of studies to explore the potential health impacts of the natural gas industry, taking action after months of impassioned pleas by the families of pediatric cancer patients who live in the most heavily drilled region of the state.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

An Erie County Democrat officially launched her run for Congress against Republican Mike Kelly Thursday night. Kristy Gnibus is a high school teacher and single mother who says that Kelly, a five-term incumbent, has lost touch with the district.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

At first glance, the finances of the Pittsburgh Public Schools look healthy. It has nearly $112 million in the bank, and the district hasn’t closed a school since 2012 or raised taxes in five years. But early budget discussions, and a dispute with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto may be a sign of trouble to come.

Photo by Lacey Terrell / TriStar Pictures

Fred Rogers died in 2003, at 74. He was already beloved, but his death seemed to accelerate a kind of secular canonization. In Pittsburgh, his hometown, he even got his own bronze statue. Erected in 2009, it stands 11 feet tall, overlooking the rivers near another civic shrine, Heinz Field.

Matt Rourke / AP

A bill that would have prohibited abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome was vetoed Thursday by Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Mickey the macaroni penguin from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium celebrated her 35th birthday Wednesday. The zoo is home to seven macaroni penguins. She's one of the oldest of her species in the United States and to celebrate Mickey’s birthday, zookeepers made her an ice block cake filled with smelt and capelin fish.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Several Western Pennsylvania veterans, including two military lawyers, are running for Congress next year. Two of them have publically backed President Trump’s controversial decision to pardon three members of the military who have been convicted or accused of war crimes — despite concerns that this may weaken military discipline and morale. 

Catholic Church Boards Reviewing Sex Abuse Fail Victims

Nov 21, 2019
Gregory Bull / AP

Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards.

Across Mister Rogers’ Actual Neighborhoods, His Faith Echoes

Nov 21, 2019
Gene J. Puskar / AP

His TV neighborhood, was, of course, a realm of make believe — a child’s-eye view of community summoned into being by an oddly understanding adult, cobbled together from a patchwork of stage sets, model houses and pure, unsullied love.

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Down Syndrome Abortion Ban Bill

Nov 21, 2019
Carolyn Kaster / AP

Pennsylvania's state Senate passed a bill Wednesday to outlaw abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, although it faces a veto on Gov. Tom Wolf's desk.

After Murray Energy Bankruptcy, What's The Future Of Coal?

Nov 21, 2019
Jae C. Hong / AP

President Trump came into office promising to save coal. And coal jobs.

Instead, America’s coal industry has continued to slide. The question now is — how far will it go? An industry that once employed hundreds of thousands now has about 50,000 workers. Eight coal companies have declared bankruptcy in the last year.

Marc Levy / AP

Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) has been trying to overhaul Pennsylvania’s statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse ever since he joined the state House seven years ago.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Senate has passed compromise legislation to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage for the first time since 2009 in a deal with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.


As baby boomers age, more Americans may find themselves caring for family members with disabilities.

A new research institute in Pittsburgh, called the National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Family Support, will focus on the unique challenges of caregiving. The center is a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Two former altar boys have filed suit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh over allegations that a priest sexually abused them in the 1980s.

The Tribune-Review reports the suit was filed Tuesday in Allegheny County Court. It also names Bishop David A. Zubik and St. Alphonsus Church in McDonald as defendants.

The plaintiffs say they endured almost daily abuse by the Rev. Francis Pucci, starting in 1981 when they were 11 and 13.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A jury has acquitted a Pittsburgh-area elected official of disturbing the peace but couldn’t reach a verdict on a felony charge of obstructing police at a Detroit hotel.

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner was accused of interfering with police as officers tried to remove her husband, Khari Mosley, from the Westin Book Cadillac hotel last March. They were in Detroit to attend a concert.

The jury delivered the verdict Wednesday. It’s not known if Wagner will face a second trial.

Pennsylvania Farmers Must Adapt To Survive, Advocates Say

Nov 20, 2019
Rachel McDevitt / WITF

A major advocacy group for Pennsylvania farmers says many have had to change the way they do business to stay afloat financially.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Some state lawmakers are telling Gov. Tom Wolf he went too far with an executive order for the commonwealth to join a regional effort to cut power plant emissions.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The state House is moving a raft of bills aimed at making prison guards safer by, among other things, establishing longer sentences for inmates who assault staff.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

One of Pennsylvania’s most moderate Democratic senators announced Tuesday that he is leaving the party.

Photo by Brittany Spinelli

Clare Barron’s acclaimed play “Dance Nation” is a comedy with dancing, but it’s no musical. It’s not really even, at its core, about dance.

On Tuesday, 16 universities across the United States and United Kingdom held #NoTechforICE events, urging the company Palantir to drop a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Sarah Kovash / WESA

Four city councilors introduced legislation on Tuesday that would scrutinize the city's relationship to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, calling for a review of all working agreements with the organization. 

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Two students in Pennsylvania are in police custody after a gun was found in a parked car on campus.

Pennsylvania Lawmaker Switches From Democrat To Independent

Nov 19, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

A moderate Democrat in Pennsylvania’s state Senate from an area that shifted decisively to support Donald Trump in 2016’s presidential election is switching his registration to become an independent and said Tuesday that he will caucus with the Republican majority.

In a news conference in his Capitol office, Sen. John Yudichak of Luzerne County said that he had found a growing disconnect with an increasingly liberal Democratic caucus, and that some issues that are important to him will find a better home in the Republican caucus.