Matt Rourke / AP

Rallies Planned In Pittsburgh, Philadelphia To Urge AG Shapiro To Support More Commutations

Human-rights groups plan to hold rallies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Tuesday to protest state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s record on commutation. While Pennsylvania's Board of Pardons recommended more commutations last year than at any time in the past quarter-century , rally organizers say Shapiro, one of the board’s five members, stands in the way of granting the relief more widely.

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Politics & Government

Courtesy of Friends of Austin Davis

Allegheny County’s top Democratic Party official reversed herself on Monday by calling for a review of, and potential changes to, the party’s bylaws. But turmoil in party leadership continued, as party vice-chair Austin Davis resigned effectively immediately.

Eric Gay / AP

On today's program: Rep. Jake Wheatley wants legalized weed to fund social programs, including record expungement; an update on a proposed low-to-no barrier homeless shelter on the Mon’s southern shore; a nursing program outside of Philly might be the best bang for your educational buck; the NAACP is calling for the permanent removal of an Allegheny County judge; and one of Pittsburgh’s busiest libraries is temporarily closing.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As 2020 presidential candidates court voters in early states, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has introduced legislation to make polling places more accessible to voters across the country, addressing a concern among many voters with disabilities.  

Science, Health & Tech

REID FRAZIER / ALLEGHENY FRONT

An Allegheny County judge has approved a settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit that claims pollution from the country's largest coke producing facility created a nuisance and hurt nearby property values.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

An important supplemental nutrition program for young families continues to lose enrollment in Allegheny County, despite recent changes to make the Women, Infants and Children program more user-friendly.

Identity & Justice

Matt Rourke / AP

Human-rights groups plan to hold rallies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Tuesday to protest state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s record on commutation. While Pennsylvania's Board of Pardons recommended more commutations last year than at any time in the past quarter-century, rally organizers say Shapiro, one of the board’s five members, stands in the way of granting the relief more widely.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a dispute over a Philadelphia Catholic agency that won't place foster children with same-sex couples.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

The number of homeless public school students in Pennsylvania increased by more than 30 percent from 2015-2018, according to a report released last month by the National Center for Homeless Education. 

Opioid Settlement Still Elusive As Some Lawyers Criticize It

19 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP

State attorneys general are finding a national settlement over the toll of opioids to be elusive, as some lawyers for state and local governments are renewing public criticism of the proposed deal with a group of companies led by the nation's largest drug distributors.

Education

Forget Penn And Pitt: Is This Little-Known School The Best Deal In PA Higher-Ed?

15 hours ago
Bas Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

In the world of higher education you will find few buildings less remarkable than the Delaware County Technical High School in Broomall, Pennsylvania.

Good Question!

Courtesy Evolve EA

Carp Fishing And Eating Popcorn Under The Brilliant Viaduct Over Washington Boulevard

Two massive stone arches tower over Washington Boulevard in Pittsburgh’s Homewood and Larimer neighborhoods. The intersecting structures over Silver Lake Drive appear out of place along this curving, concrete road.

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Development & Transportation

Brittany Reilly / Preservation Pittsburgh

Gracing Oakland with a spectacle of high arches, ornate pillars, and intricate stonework along its polished granite façade, the old Croatian Fraternal Union building at 3441 Forbes Avenue is one of two Pittsburgh sites on Preservation Pennsylvania’s 2020 At Risk list of endangered historic places.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilor Ricky Burgess says the city must take bold action to solve its affordable housing crisis. In 2016, a task force estimated a need for 20,000 units, which led to the creation of the Housing Opportunity Fund. 

Arts, Sports, & Culture

David Bachman Photography for Pittsburgh Opera

Just like the news these days, the new opera “The Last American Hammer” is more than a little absurd, and more than a little tragic.

Courtesy of the artist

The impacts of climate change – what many environmentalists now call “the climate crisis” – are so vast they can be hard to grasp. Australia ablaze, coastlines disappearing beneath the sea, and climate refugees fleeing drought, famine and flood are just the start of a process that’s already reshaping human civilization.

Environment & Energy

DEP Fines Landfill Near Pittsburgh For Problems Tied To Fracking Waste

Feb 19, 2020
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined a Westmoreland County landfill that had been passing pollution from oil and gas drilling waste into a local sewage treatment plant. 

On a recent soggy Wednesday evening, dozens of West Virginians packed a conference room inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center to discuss the need for a “just transition” for coal-impacted communities.

As the nation grapples with climate change, the need for a fair transition for workers and communities that depend upon coal jobs and revenue has also gained traction.

Economy & Business

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Trib Total Media is partnering with Pittsburgh artificial intelligence company Crivella Technologies to launch a new web platform for community newspapers. 

Local Headlines

Keith Srokocic / AP

  

Recent controversial endorsements have led the Allegheny County Democratic Committee leadership to defend its purpose and decision-making process. A new report shows Pittsburgh's art scene is growing, but support is not always equitable and inclusive. And, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle faces a challenger for the 18th congressional district as some in the party push for a more progressive platform.

Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety / AP

One of four defendants has been sentenced to life in prison in the death of a Somali immigrant cab driver three years ago in Pittsburgh.

Daniel Russell, 23, told an Allegheny County judge during Tuesday's sentencing that he needed a new court-appointed attorney so he could file an appeal, accusing his current attorney of being ineffective.

Russell was convicted of second-degree murder in November in the death of Ramadhan Mohamed in February 2017. Three other defendants are scheduled for trial in May.

Food & Drink

Two pending rule changes meant to reduce what the Trump administration calls abuse of federal benefit programs could also mean hundreds of thousands of children lose access to free school meals.

National & International

The Nevada Democratic Party's top official said on Monday that the state's presidential caucuses this month should perhaps be the last. He says the state should begin the process of shifting to a statewide presidential primary.

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