WESA Local News

Keith Srakocic / AP

A school district outside Pittsburgh says it's investigating a racist Facebook post that appeared to have been published on a school board member's personal page.

Courtesy of The University of Pittsburgh

On today's program: The University of Pittsburgh just got a treasure trove from the estate of horror great George Romero; a queer youth theater program is debuting a new multimedia production; City Council District 9 candidates are readying for Tuesday's primary election; CEOs take a stand against the stigma around mental illness; and the state's top court hears from both sides of the UPMC / Highmark split. 

5 States Announce New Suits Over Prescription Opioids

May 17, 2019
Jessica Hill / AP

Five more state attorneys general announced legal filings Thursday seeking to hold the company that makes OxyContin responsible for an opioid addiction crisis that's now the leading cause of accidental deaths across the country and in many states.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


It’s the year 2064. Climate change has become fully realized and survivors must adapt to their chaotic new environment. Over a synthesized melody, characters sing a dark anthem reminiscent of “America the Beautiful.”

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

A group of activists spent Thursday evening projecting images of immigrant families on a building near the state Capitol.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

A handful of candidates are hoping to replace Pittsburgh's District 9 City Councilor Ricky Burgess in next week's primary, but he says it takes years to make the connections he's made over the past three terms. 

Matt Smith / for Keystone Crossroads

Even today, nearly 20 years after Bethlehem Steel declared bankruptcy, and decades after it began its slow decline, there’s no consensus why exactly the iconic company tanked.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Kim Gordon started playing music as an indirect result of pursuing art. Now, her music has led – also indirectly – to a milestone in her art career: the Sonic Youth co-founder’s first solo North American museum exhibit.

“Kim Gordon: Lo-Fi Glamour” opens today at The Andy Warhol Museum. The exhibit commands the museum’s second floor with paintings, drawing and sculpture spanning the past decade of Gordon’s 30-year art practice.

Abby Warhola
The Andy Warhol Museum

Silver walls adorning the Andy Warhol Museum's event space are taking on new meaning this week as the organization celebrates 25 years in Pittsburgh’s North Side. Executive director Patrick Moore says they haven’t stopped growing since.

Gensler

An open-air music venue, food hall, hotel and playground are among the elements included in the master plan for the redeveloped Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District, which will be named “Centre District.” Detailed renderings of the $750 million project were unveiled to residents at a community meeting Wednesday evening.

Penn Trafford School District Webstie/PennTrafford.org

A Pennsylvania school district is defending itself after video surfaced of a safety drill that had a teacher posing as a shooter and donning what appeared to be a Middle Eastern headdress.

The video appears to show the actor wearing a kaffiyeh. The Penn-Trafford School District said Wednesday that organizers didn't intend to portray the shooter as Arab or Muslim at the January training.

U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations

International law enforcement partners announced Thursday that a large malware conspiracy network has been taken down. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, those behind the GozNym malware attacks attempted to steal an estimated $100 million from victims.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Thursday on whether to extend a consent decree that would force UPMC to continue taking Highmark insurance.

Amy Sisk / WESA

Millions of cicadas will soon crawl out of the soil in southwestern Pennsylvania. This brood -- Brood VIII -- emerges every 17 years for about six weeks.

Michael Dwyer / AP

Former Vice President Joe Biden is choosing Philadelphia to base his 2020 presidential campaign, opting for his native Pennsylvania over the state of Delaware that sent him to the Senate for 36 years.

The choice is both practical and symbolic for Biden. Philadelphia is convenient to his homes in Wilmington, Delaware, and northern Virginia.

The site of the nation's founding also highlights Biden's campaign promise to "restore the soul of this nation" as he casts President Donald Trump as a threat to U.S. values.

Julie Jacobson / AP, file

Another casino in Pennsylvania has secured a sports-betting license as casinos get closer to offering sports betting online.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday approved Mohegan Sun Pocono for a sports-betting license and Parx Casino told the gaming board that it expects to launch its online sports-betting system in June.

Counting Parx Casino, sports books are already open at six of Pennsylvania's 12 casinos and two off-track betting parlors.

Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf is raising the alarm over the impact Chinese tariffs are having on Pennsylvania’s farmers.

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on foreign aluminum and steel may have boosted the domestic steel industry, but China’s retaliatory tariffs on American crops have hurt exports from Pennsylvania farms.

DEP Orders Energy Transfer To Restore Streams It ‘Illegally Eliminated’ In Western PA

May 16, 2019
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday ordered a pipeline company to restore streams it illegally eliminated or altered while building a pipeline that opened last year.

The Revolution pipeline had only been working for a week when it exploded in Beaver County in September, destroying one home.  

The DEP says it found out about the stream damage while investigating the explosion.

Katie Meyer / WITF

Since January, Governor Tom Wolf has been traveling around the state shopping his new infrastructure plan to municipal and county officials. 

Wikimedia Commons

The Hill Community Development Corporation is hoping a $55 million project to redevelop the New Granada Theater block will be a catalyst to continued development in the area. The project will include office and retail space as well as mixed-income housing units, according to CEO Marimba Milliones.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine led discussion with the medical marijuana advisory board around adding anxiety and Tourette Syndrome to the list of conditions to be treated with medical cannabis. 

Cambria County Prison via AP

A new civil lawsuit alleges a pediatric practice in Johnstown knew one of its physicians was a threat to young patients, and took steps to protect him before he was arrested.

Five former patients of Johnstown pediatrician Johnnie Barto are seeking financial damages from his employers. In March, Barto was sentenced to at least 79 years in prison for sexually assaulting 31 children, most of them patients. 

Damian Dovarganes / AP

The Allegheny County Health Department reported two new cases of measles Wednesday.

Carla K. Johnson / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration is devoting $5 million in federal grants to a student-loan repayment program in high opioid-use areas where there's a shortage of substance-abuse treatment professionals.

Google Earth

Authorities say an experimental plane crashed during takeoff from an airport in western Pennsylvania, but no injuries were reported.

The crash at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe occurred shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday.

It's not yet known what caused the single-seat experimental jet to crash. Information about the person flying the plane was not disclosed.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

For the second year in a row, House lawmakers have voted for a bill that would punish doctors who perform abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

In recent years, Pittsburgh City Councilor Darlene Harris has frequently opposed Mayor Bill Peduto's agenda. But if she's sometimes alone around the council table, she is now in a three-way race for reelection in City Council District 1, north of the rivers.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

On paper, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police appears to be effective at investigating rape cases. In 2017, the bureau reported it closed 58 percent of its rape cases, according to the city’s response to a WESA Right To Know request. The 2017 national average was 36.5 percent, according to national crime-reporting statistics kept by the FBI.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

John Hecker pointed out the window of the truck as it passed oak, maple and birch trees in the Pennsylvania Wilds.

The Trouble With Ideals Of Appearance

May 15, 2019
Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

Sadly, fitness does not work by the property of osmosis. Sitting next to an Adonis on the bus does not turn us all into museum-worthy Greek statues. It is a tough reality that means there is plenty of work out there for personal trainers. Still, the osmosis theory dies hard: personal trainers often face “pressure to look as fit as … clients hope to be,” says Nkem Chikwendu, a trainer at the JCC in Squirrel Hill.

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