Latest Coronavirus Updates

90.5 WESA is following the latest updates and COVID-19 case numbers in Allegheny County and across Pennsylvania.

Jacqueline Martin / AP

Rep. Scott Perry Confirms Election Fraud Talks With Trump, DOJ Lawyer

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-York, Dauphin and Cumberland) said he introduced former President Donald Trump to Department of Justice lawyer Jeffrey Clark — who, the New York Times reported, was part of Trump’s plan to pressure Georgia to overturn its certified election results.

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Politics & Government

Jacqueline Martin / AP

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-York, Dauphin and Cumberland) said he introduced former President Donald Trump to Department of Justice lawyer Jeffrey Clark — who, the New York Times reported, was part of Trump’s plan to pressure Georgia to overturn its certified election results.

Marc Levy / AP

A Pennsylvania legislator shared on Facebook an image mocking the appearance of the state’s recently departed health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman who has been nominated to serve in the Biden administration, and then offered a general apology Saturday.

State Rep. Jeff Pyle, a Republican from Armstrong and Indiana counties in western Pennsylvania, said on Facebook that he “had no idea" the post mocking Levine “would be ... received as poorly as it was" but that “tens of thousands of heated emails assured me it was."

Jacqueline Martin / AP

Rep. Scott Perry (R-York) is facing calls to resign after a published report said he collaborated with former President Donald Trump in a scheme to overturn legally certified election results in Georgia.

Science, Health & Tech

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Less than an hour after the Allegheny County Health Department opened up vaccination appointments to people age 65 and older all the slots were reportedly filled.

Gov. Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday said he would elevate two officials involved in his administration's response to the coronavirus to replace the departing Dr. Rachel Levine as his health secretary and physician general.

Wolf said he intends to nominate a deputy chief of staff, Alison Beam, to take over as secretary of the Department of Health. Wolf, meanwhile, elevated Dr. Wendy Braund, the Covid-19 response director for the department, to acting interim physician general.

Education

submitted photo

English-as-a-second-language teachers Holly Niemi and Kate Musselman have tracked every call they’ve made to families during the pandemic. The call list, mostly to check in on students, fills up 19 single-spaced pages. Because of that effort they’ve reached all of their Baldwin High School students, but it hasn’t been easy.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Public Schools board will vote next week on a proposal to again delay the return to in-person learning. A coalition of local groups that advocate for children want the district to better communicate why students and staff haven’t returned to in-person learning.  

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

David Swanson / File via Spotlight PA

The state Department of Corrections has doubled down on its policy not to always inform families of inmates who are sickened or killed by the coronavirus, saying it’s the responsibility of inmates to ensure their emergency contacts are complete and accurate.

Eric Gay / AP

Advocates for four outspoken undocumented immigrants are suing the federal government over a policy under former President Donald Trump that fined certain undocumented asylum seekers.

The Free Migration Project in Philadelphia and the Austin Sanctuary Network in Texas filed the lawsuit against ICE and the Department of Homeland Security in a Washington D.C. court Monday.

The suit claims the government targeted four unauthorized immigrant women living in houses of worship with retaliatory and excessive fines for being leaders in calls for sanctuary.

Development & Transportation

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman explains why the agency should receive support from President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion relief package; and Pittsburgh is one of four cities to get a “Reforestation Hub” assessment that will help improve city resources and carbon capture.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

AP Photo/Joe Holloway, Jr.

The Major League Baseball legend Hank Aaron died at the age of 86. Aaron played for 23 seasons, breaking world records and adopting the nickname "Hammerin' Hank."

The Confluence host, Kevin Gavin, spoke with Aaron in 1990 after the publication of his autobiography, "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story."

Photo by Joshua Sweeny / Courtesy of Attack Theatre

Attack Theatre is that rare established Pittsburgh arts group that moved its headquarters during the coronavirus pandemic. Now it’s showing off its new home in a short film whose production was itself an adaptation to the era of physical distancing.

Brew House Association Gallery

Hairstyling has always been more than grooming; some consider getting a new cut therapeutic. But if Black salons and barbershops are also important social spaces, curator Tara Fay Coleman wants to emphasize they are places where art is made, as well.

Environment & Energy

Report Faults DEP For Mine Subsidence Oversight In Western PA

13 hours ago
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is failing to protect streams and property from subsidence from underground “longwall” mining, according to a report released by a Washington County-based environmental group. 

Proposal To Join Regional Cap-And-Trade Program Draws 13,000 Comments

Jan 21, 2021
Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Thousands of people weighed in on Pennsylvania’s proposal to join a regional effort to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

Economy & Business

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Days after Joe Biden’s inauguration, the nation’s top labor leader said the new president was “off to a tremendous start” with early actions aimed at enhancing worker protections. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka predicted that Biden would continue to advance key policy priorities of organized labor.

Local Headlines

Matt Rourke / AP

The son of a couple killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue attack that killed 11 worshippers is suing the National Rifle Association, arguing the group’s inflammatory rhetoric led to the violence. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that people over age 65 are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as are other adults and older teens with certain health conditions. Health and science reporter Sarah Boden looks into the local data on inoculation.

Food & Drink

Courtesy of Allegheny Eats

A meal kit service is combining regionally sourced ingredients with Pittsburgh restaurant recipes — and funds from each kit purchase provide free meals to local restaurant workers.

National & International

The Senate quickly confirmed Janet Yellen to be Treasury secretary on Monday, days after she won unanimous backing from both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee.

Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department and will spearhead the Biden administration's response to the coronavirus recession. The Senate confirmed her with an 84-15 vote.

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