WESA Daily Briefing

Latest: Allegheny County reports 68 new COVID-19 cases. Pa. sees big drop in jobless rate in August. Pennsylvanians generally support joining cap-and-trade program, survey finds.

Tyger Williams / Philadelphia Inquirer

Voting Victories For Democrats In PA Might Have Closed The Door On More Election Reform

With less than seven weeks to go, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has significantly altered how the state’s election will run on Nov. 3, allowing ballots that arrive after Election Day to be counted and giving voters the option to use satellite drop boxes.

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Politics & Government

Tyger Williams / Philadelphia Inquirer

With less than seven weeks to go, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has significantly altered how the state’s election will run on Nov. 3, allowing ballots that arrive after Election Day to be counted and giving voters the option to use satellite drop boxes.

Carrie Antlfinger / AP

To accommodate an enormous influx of mail ballots in a highly contested presidential election year, the Allegheny County Board of Elections voted unanimously Thursday to expand voting options, and officials updated the public on other plans to expand the county's ability to count ballots in November.

Philadelphia Puts Ban On Police Chokeholds Into Law

Sep 17, 2020
Matt Slocum / AP

The Philadelphia City Council formally banned police from using certain modes of restraint on crime suspects Thursday, including kneeling on a suspect's neck, and voted to open contract negotiations with the police union to the public.

Science, Health & Tech


University of Pittsburgh and UPMC researchers plan to start human trials early next year for an antibody therapy that might both prevent and treat COVID-19.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Most epidemiologists and other health officials agree it is best not to travel right now. But for those planning to pack up and head out, there are some universal precautions to consider and advice about where to go. 


Half Of PA Schools Still Don't Have A Single Teacher Of Color, Black Educators Explain Why

Sep 11, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

For Aliya Cantanch-Bradley, the fight for diversity and inclusion has been her life’s work.

Craig Mitchelldyer / AP

Some Pittsburgh Public Schools students experienced slow connections or none at all on the first day of online classes Tuesday. All classes are being held online through at least the first nine weeks of school.

Mark Stuckey, the district’s interim chief technology officer, said there was a configuration issue with the district’s Internet bandwidth provider, causing students to bottleneck through a smaller backup server when trying to access the district’s web resources. 

Good Question!

Archives & Special Collections / University of Pittsburgh Library System

Aqueducts, Inclines And Mules: How The Pennsylvania Canal Changed The Commonwealth

Before highways and railroads crisscrossed the commonwealth, a series of linked waterways and inclined planes brought people and goods across the state. The Pennsylvania Canal was a significant engineering achievement when it was constructed in 1826.

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Identity & Justice

Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvania's highest court has put a stop to a local policy that allowed streaming of Philadelphia criminal trials over the internet.

$1M Bail Set For Lancaster Police Shooting Demonstrators

Sep 15, 2020
Google Maps

Thirteen people who are accused of committing crimes while participating in a civil disturbance in Lancaster on Sunday night sat behind bars Tuesday, with bail for seven of them set at $1 million.

Development & Transportation

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto and his administration on Tuesday launched ForgingPGH, a new, year-long effort to explore how people want to see their neighborhoods and the city change. Ultimately, ForgingPGH will create a comprehensive guide to land use for the next 20 years.

Margaret J. Krauss

The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life in the region; overall, residents of Allegheny County are still traveling less compared to 2019. However, bike miles have gone up.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Courtesy of hannibalburess.com

One night in 2017, comedian Hannibal Buress was out with some friends in Miami. He had a few drinks. Later, he says, by now on his own and with a dead cellphone, he offered a police officer $20 to call Uber for him. Buress says the officer refused, then followed him into a bar and ordered him to leave.

Steelers Try To Move On From Flap Over Justice Advocacy

Sep 17, 2020
Seth Wenig / AP

The Pittsburgh Steelers thought they had a plan for how to properly and respectfully make a public statement regarding social justice during their season opener against the New York Giants.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

In a public letter published last week, four former PublicSource journalists described alleged mistreatment while they worked at the Pittsburgh news organization. 

Environment & Energy

Study Finds Link Between Air Pollution And Risk Of Stroke For People With AFib

Sep 17, 2020
Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

People with the heart disorder, atrial fibrillation (AFib), who are exposed to greater levels of air pollution have a 1.2-fold higher risk of stroke than their peers who live with less pollution.

That’s according to a study published this week by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System and Drexel University.

Pennsylvania is one step closer to joining a regional program meant to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Economy & Business

Pennsylvania Sees Big Drop In Jobless Rate In August

21 hours ago

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate took a steep drop in August as the labor force shrank and payrolls shot up again in a continuing rebound from shutdowns and the worst economic effects of the pandemic, according to state figures released Friday.

Local Headlines

Erin Keane Scott / 90.5 WESA

News on the coronavirus pandemic, protests, 2020 election and more from around Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Find all of the WESA Daily Briefing posts here

Editor's note: This post will be frequently updated with the latest news.


2:48 p.m. — PIAA wants Wolf to allow more fans at sporting events

High school football kicks off tonight in many communities.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

An extra $500 per month will soon arrive for 200 Pittsburgh households. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said the city will start to make the payments later this year as part of a universal income pilot program. The initiative is funded by philanthropic donors and will go to very low-income families with an emphasis on homes run by Black women.

Food & Drink

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

In a surprise move, the Trump administration has rejected Pennsylvania officials’ plan to distribute a month’s worth of food benefits to thousands of needy families.

National & International

In 1971, newly assigned to cover the Supreme Court, I was reading a brief in what would ultimately be the landmark case of Reed v. Reed. It argued that the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause applied to women. I didn't understand some of the brief, so I flipped to the front to see who the author was, and I placed a call to Rutgers law professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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