National Energy Technology Laboratory

The U.S. Department Of Energy Wants To Turn Coal Waste Into High Tech Components

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory south of Pittsburgh are discovering valuable rare earth elements in coal waste.

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Politics & Government

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania union leaders are attempting to chart a new course after decades of declining membership.

As members have dwindled, unions' once-strong political sway toward the Democratic party has also shifted.

The change was especially apparent last year, when an overwhelming number of white, union or former union members voted for Donald Trump.

Science, Health & Tech

National Energy Technology Laboratory

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory south of Pittsburgh are discovering valuable rare earth elements in coal waste.

Identity & Justice

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

As U.S. Senators passed a bill that would allow them to continue debating over a replacement for the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and other top Pennsylvania officials warned that the bill would leave hundreds of thousands in the state uninsured.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

One afternoon nearly three years ago, Masedi Thata Kewamodimo walked to the radio station near her university in Botswana and said she wanted to go public about being HIV positive. Now she is visiting Duquesne University through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Back home, she focuses on HIV advocacy and helping people cope with the daily challenges of the stigmatizing status by speaking on government-owned radio stations, which reach everyone in the country. 

Education

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Asia Parker wants to be a mathematics professor.

“Math is just amazing. You can do anything,” she said.

Parker, 17 from Carrick, waited in a Duquesne University laboratory near a kiln heating materials she was using in semi-conductor experiments. Semi-conductors are often used in computers and solar panels. The high school senior wants to make new compounds for Jennifer Aitken’s research, which is looking at shifting the wavelength of lasers.

Good Question!

Pittsburgh's First Female Council Member Was No Stranger To Breaking Barriers

For most of the history of Pittsburgh, elected officials have been white men. But in 1956, then-Mayor David L. Lawrence did something unheard of: he appointed a woman to City Council. That woman was Irma D’Ascenzo, an Italian-American Hazelwood resident who was working as secretary and chief examiner for the city's Civil Service Commission. Throughout World War II, and in the years following, she’d been volunteering and was active in her community. D’Ascenzo’s great-granddaughter, Jeanne...

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Development & Transportation

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a renewable energy roundtable discussion held Friday, Mayor Bill Peduto and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) agreed that climate change is the biggest threat facing civilization, and that in the absence of federal leadership, states and cities will have to step up.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Honking car horns, screeching tires and the thunderous rumble of truck engines surround passersby on East Ohio Street. The street, while not Pittsburgh’s busiest, is among the noisiest. 

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On Thursday evening, more than 60 people gathered at the Union Project in Highland Park to learn how to safely intervene in incidents of bullying or harassment. The event was organized by the local chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and Jewish social justice group Bend the Arc.

Environment & Energy

Going For A Swim In Lake Erie? You Might See Some Jellyfish

Jul 24, 2017
Mark Duncan / AP

They've been in the Great Lakes Basin for decades, but recently entered lakes Erie and St. Clair.

Freshwater jellyfish — about the size of a penny or quarter — are translucent, slimy blobs that inhabit lakes, streams, ponds, and some rivers in Pennsylvania and much of the northeastern United States.

Like their saltwater counterparts, freshwater jellyfish will sting people, but their stingers are so small they would not penetrate human skin.

Economy & Business

Kathy Willens / AP

A major toy manufacturer plans to hire about 400 new workers to staff a new distribution center in eastern Pennsylvania.

Mattel has opened the 1 million-square-foot center in the Gateway Logistics Park area of Jonestown.

The company will package popular toys including Barbie and Hot Wheels brands at the center, which will also handle Mega Brands and, eventually, Fisher-Price. The company says the center will employ as many as 400 during peak season.

Local Headlines

Retired Priest Accused Of Forcing Boy To Perform Oral Sex

5 hours ago
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A now-retired Roman Catholic priest was charged Monday with forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him while counseling the fourth-grader about misbehaving on a school bus.

The state attorney general's office accused the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney of committing felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell during the 1991-92 school year.

Northside Food Pantry

It was the holiday season of 2012 when Central North Side resident Jana Thompson first asked her neighbor, Darlene Rushing, to join her in volunteering at the Northside Food Pantry.

Rushing agreed, and came in to help on the pantry’s last day of operation before closing for the holidays.
 

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro plans to announce criminal sexual abuse charges against a western Pennsylvania priest.

Shapiro's office says he'll be in Lower Burrell to announce the charges this afternoon.

It wasn't immediately clear if the priest serves at a parish in that area, and the priest has yet to be identified. Lower Burrell is about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg.

Food & Drink

Ron Larson / Ace Hotel

Amid Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom, a new conference this week aims to tackle tough issues within the food and service industry, including gentrification, sexism and cultural appropriation.

National & International

Contrary to what you may have seen on social media, the so-called "Goldwater Rule," a code of ethics prohibiting most psychiatrists from giving opinions about the mental state of anyone they have not evaluated, remains in effect.

The rule reemerged in headlines Tuesday in the form of an article on the health news web site, Stat News.

Stories from National Partners

Seawater in the pores? It’s what made Roman concrete great.

6 hours ago
Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

The ancient Romans mastered concrete more than 2,000 years ago and used it to build piers, breakwaters and other structures. Despite the batterings of time and seawater, some of those structures still stand today.

In fact, their concrete has grown stronger over time — the result, scientists now say, of complex interactions between seawater and volcanic ash used in the mortar.

90:90

90.5 WESA Celebrates 90 Neighborhoods: 90 Good Stories

Nominate a neighbor who's making a difference where you live for our newest "Celebrates" series

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