More Colleges Say They'll Require Students To Have COVID-19 Vaccines For Fall

Duke University in North Carolina has announced that it will require students to have a COVID-19 vaccine when they return this fall. And the list of campuses with such policies is growing. Rutgers University in New Jersey was the first , and since then more than a dozen residential colleges have followed. The University of Notre Dame; two Ivy League universities, Brown and Cornell; and Northeastern University in Massachusetts are among those requiring the vaccine for the fall. Cleveland State...

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Politics & Government

Fred Adams / Spotlight PA

A state lawmaker wants to compel the Wolf administration to make public details on wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses, information it refused to release to Spotlight PA.

Construction Firm Accused Of Stealing $20M From Workers

Apr 9, 2021
Andrew Harnik / AP

A major Pennsylvania construction contractor was charged Thursday with stealing tens of millions of dollars from its own workers by systematically violating state and federal prevailing wage laws on taxpayer-funded public infrastructure projects.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania’s largest public pension system gave a little more detail Thursday about a federal probe, saying the agency received a subpoena, although it stayed silent about subpoenas said to have been received by top management officials.

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Science, Health & Tech

Courtesy of UPMC

Preliminary data from UPMC gives insight into how the COVID-19 vaccine might perform in elderly people and certain cancer patients, two populations at heightened risk if infected with the coronavirus. Inital vaccine studies did not specialize or include various populations, so more research is needed. 

Matt Slocum / ap

When Leighann Bacher first started a Facebook group to help Pittsburghers find COVID-19 vaccine appointments, she and the other administrators were overwhelmed. Bacher was personally signing up a dozen or more strangers a night.

Radivoje Pavicic / AP

Allegheny Health Network is opening up its mass vaccination clinic in Monroeville to people in Phase 1C starting Friday. 

Education

Philly District Offers Universal Summer School To Find Academic 'Regression'

Apr 8, 2021
Matt Rourke / AP

The School District of Philadelphia plans to offer universal summer school for all public school students in grades K-12 this year.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The first public debate between candidates for the Pittsburgh Public Schools Wednesday evening was a relatively sedate affair, made only mildly contentious by the fact that three of the candidates have children who attended charter schools.

Good Question!

How The Pittsburgh Left Became Embedded In City Driving

Pittsburgh developed from a hodgepodge of former boroughs and municipalities, and its hills and river valleys prevented planners from creating a traditional street grid. These factors make the city difficult to navigate in a vehicle. On top of that, local drivers have some idiosyncratic behaviors.

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Identity & Justice

Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia / Facebook

On December 30, Christian Hall,19, was killed by Pennsylvania State Police in Monroe County during a suicidal episode. The Chinese American adoptee went through a protracted standoff, and was carrying a non-lethal weapon. Police recently ruled the killing was justified.

'How Many Of Us Will Be Left?' Greensburg Catholic Nuns Face Loss, Pain

Apr 9, 2021
Jessie Wardarski / AP

The nuns’ daily email update was overtaken by news of infections. Ambulances blared into the driveways of their convents. Prayers for the sick went unanswered, prayers for the dead grew monotonous and, their cloistered world suddenly caving in, some of the sisters’ thoughts were halting.

Development & Transportation

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: The Pittsburgh Land Bank’s new executive director explains how, with consistent leadership, she hopes to more effectively serve communities and reduce blight in the city; the Pirates' season opens today, only filling PNC Park to 25% capacity; and a local residency program is trying to make the music industry more equitable for Black musicians.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Keith Srakocic / AP

Phil Coyne, who spent more than 80 years ushering Pittsburgh Pirates fans to their seats through varying stages of success and failure by the team, has died. He was 102.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Craig Kimbrel's two-year journey through the wilderness appears to be over.

Environment & Energy

Mark Dixon

The Allegheny County Health Department issued an air pollution watch for the Mon Valley on Wednesday morning. Air quality readings at the Liberty Monitor showed increased pollution levels starting Tuesday evening. The county is working with US Steel to identify what caused the shift.

Pennsylvania To Get First Green Hydrogen Plant

Apr 5, 2021
Courtesy of Power Plug

A clean fuel company plans to build Pennsylvania’s first green hydrogen plant in southern Lancaster County.

Economy & Business

Pennsylvania Promises Quicker, Easier Jobless Claims System

Apr 8, 2021
Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

After a year of frustration over long waits for checks, jammed phone lines and confusing online filing procedures, Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry is promising a much quicker and easier unemployment compensation claims filing system in two months.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Pandemic-related job losses hobbled the local economy through the winter, with the Pittsburgh region sustaining 87,800 fewer jobs in February compared to a year before, according to a new report from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. But more recent, and more encouraging, national figures suggest the local economy could start to turn around in coming months.

Local Headlines

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

  On this week’s Explainer:

Pennsylvania Pension Board Hires Law Firm For Federal Probe

Apr 7, 2021
Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s largest public pension system disclosed Tuesday that it is dealing with a federal investigation, although officials atop the $64 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System have yet to publicly disclose the nature or scope of the inquiry.

Food & Drink

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: More people are facing food insecurity, but Dawn Plummer at the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council says some pandemic relief programs are helping and should continue; brine wastewater from fracking can flow elsewhere, even after being injected back into the ground, which is troubling to some; and the Pittsburgh Poison Center is celebrating Mr. Yuk’s 50th birthday in a year when poisonings from sanitizer and cleaning products are on the rise. 

National & International

Myanmar security forces have killed more than 700 civilians since the Feb. 1 coup, a human rights group reported over the weekend. At least 82 people were killed in the city of Bago on Friday during a crackdown against anti-coup protesters.

The actual number of those killed is likely much higher, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which has been tracking deaths since the coup began.

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