WESA Local News


The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is recruiting volunteer tax preparers for its annual upcoming free tax preparation effort.

Volunteers help low-income families and individuals complete their tax returns, ensuring that everyone receives the full refunds they are entitled to.

No prior tax experience is necessary, and volunteers receive IRS training.


A portable, pod-shaped device is helping nursing homes, dentist offices and others to protect patients and residents from the coronavirus. The Nanowave Air, developed by Cheswick, Pa.-based Dynamics, is reportedly the first device of its kind.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

One of the first actions by President Donald Trump when he took office was to ban transgender people from serving in the military. Now that President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office on Jan. 20, local LGBTQ advocacy groups are cautiously optimistic about the Democrat’s proposed policies and protections for the community

Unemployment Benefits And One-Time Checks: What To Know About The New Stimulus In PA

Dec 29, 2020
Emma Lee / WHYY

Most taxpayers are set to receive a one-time payment of $600 and several unemployment programs will be restarted now that President Donald Trump has signed the second coronavirus stimulus bill.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council delayed action for months on a parks tax that was approved by voters in 2019. But it took less than five minutes to approve when council held a final vote on the issue at its last meeting of 2020.

Nursing Home Residents, Workers To Get Coronavirus Vaccines

Dec 28, 2020
Stephen Dunn / AP

The federal government is beginning to vaccinate nursing home workers and residents in Pennsylvania against the coronavirus.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Police officials told City Council on last week that the bureau is making progress on a series of reforms — but they warned the force risked becoming less diverse at a time when racial tensions around policing have come to the forefront.

Scott Sonner / AP

On today's program: We catch up with three Pittsburgh-area superintendents we spoke with in August about how their districts have managed the pandemic; The Pittsburgh Promise has given out 10,000 scholarships, and the organization is looking at becoming more equitable during the pandemic; Experts answer how the U.S.’s international image impacts economics and how a fertilized egg becomes a human

Matt Rourke / AP

Domestic violence shelters in western Pennsylvania say they’re seeing an increase in hotline calls, amid worries that a difficult and isolating winter is on the way.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Dannielle Brown spent much of 2020 on a hunger strike to protest her son’s death at Duquesne University. And while the school has taken action in response, it seems likely the dispute will continue in the new year.


It's a cold, white Christmas in Pittsburgh. 

Jacqueline Larma / AP

As health care workers and nursing home residents are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, officials are still finalizing the distribution plan for the so-called Phase 1B group. This next phase of vaccine distribution includes first responders, critical workers and those with pre-existing conditions that put them more at risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Nine hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds of sunlight will shine in Pittsburgh's sky on Christmas day. That's 37 seconds more than appeared on Monday, the winter solstice, and the shortest day of the year. 

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

This past spring, the EQT Children’s Theater Festival went virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now the pandemic has birthed a first-ever holiday-season edition of the festival.

Matt Slocum / AP

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has rejected a bid to block one of Gov. Tom Wolf's latest orders to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus, a three-week shutdown of indoor dining at restaurants through Jan. 4, as Wolf went to court to sue restaurants defying the order.

Alexander Richard

Snowy weather and hazardous roads, in addition to the pandemic, are likely to interfere with this week's holiday celebrations.

David Zalubowski / AP

State data shows that 299 Allegheny County residents have died from COVID-19 so far this month.


That means that one-third of the county’s total COVID fatalities since the start of the pandemic have occurred in December.

90.5 WESA

The angst, anger and hostility over Pennsylvania's presidential election result will flow past New Year's Day.

provided / Chatham University

For 20 years Stefani Danes has attempted to start a sustainable cohousing community in Pittsburgh.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The ongoing pandemic coupled with the arrival of winter this week is putting additional strain on people experiencing homelessness and the shelters that serve them.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

For anyone having trouble paying their mortgage due to coronavirus-related circumstances, an important deadline to ask for help has been extended.

State Gives $2.5 Million To Pitt To Study Health Impacts Of Fracking

Dec 24, 2020
Reid F. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Wolf Administration is giving $2.5 million to the University of Pittsburgh to study possible health impacts from fracking.


The Allegheny County Health Department reports that some 4,000 county residents have received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

White House Invites GOP Lawmakers In Pennsylvania To Lunch

Dec 23, 2020
Julio Cortez / AP

Republican state senators in Pennsylvania were invited to a White House lunch Wednesday as President Donald Trump persists in talk of overturning his loss in the U.S. Supreme Court and baselessly maintains that Democrats stole the battleground state from him.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Essential workers will have the option to get the coronavirus before the general public, but details on how members of this vast and diverse group will be prioritized are scant.

Groups Sue EPA Over PA Coal Plant Air Pollution In Indiana County

Dec 23, 2020
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Environmental groups are suing the EPA in federal court over what they call an inadequate plan to reduce air pollution in Western Pennsylvania. 

Wolf Seeks $145M Fund Shift To Help Businesses With Pandemic

Dec 23, 2020
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday proposed spending $145 million in a worker's compensation fund to help businesses cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Pittsburgh’s newest Christmas-themed show is a sequel of sorts.

Courtesy Bureau of Prisons

On today's program: The Pennsylvania Prison Society says while facilities have followed COVID-19 safety guidelines, quarantine protocols have made it hard for those incarcerated to stay in touch with loved ones; The Allegheny Conference on Community Development launched a campaign to encourage Pittsburghers to follow public health guidelines and slow the spread of COVID-19; and the City’s Public Works Director, Mike Gable, retires after 45 years in government.

Pennsylvania State Police Are Recruiting Horses

Dec 23, 2020
Natalie Piserchio for WHYY

Some horses working in Pennsylvania’s State Police mounted patrol unit could be retiring soon and the humans are recruiting possible replacements.

“There isn’t a set retirement age for Pennsylvania State Police horses, the animals kind of let us know when it’s their time to retire… it’s an individual decision for the horses,” said spokesman Ryan Tarkowski.

Changes in energy, temperament, or other behavior are signs that it may be time for one of the 28 horses to hang up their policing duties.