Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Inside One Of The Labs Testing Pittsburghers' Water For Lead

About an hour east of Pittsburgh, in Indiana, Pa., inside a windowless building set far back from the road, the scientists at Environmental Service Laboratories test all kinds of things for safety and compliance with regulations, from drinking water to toys to hazardous waste.

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Politics & Government

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Four years ago, City Councilwoman Darlene Harris considered a run for mayor of Pittsburgh but ultimately decided not to enter the race.

“I take care of my mother and she was ill, and I was just too worried about her,” Harris said.

Four years later, without any fanfare, Harris made a different decision. Although she never held an announcement party or even a news conference to declare her candidacy, Harris is on the May Democratic primary ballot in an effort to unseat Mayor Bill Peduto.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

One of Harrisburg’s perennial headaches is heading back to the legislative spotlight as Senate Republican leaders work to push a familiar pension bill through the chamber.

Last session, GOP lawmakers made a late-in-the-game attempt to pass a pension overhaul that would have offered state employees three retirement options—two so-called “hybrid” plans, and a 401k-style plan.

At the time, Governor Tom Wolf indicated he’d sign it. But the plan didn’t get full votes because House and Senate Democrats refused to support it, saying they hadn’t gotten enough input.

Science, Health, & Tech

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

About an hour east of Pittsburgh, in Indiana, Pa., inside a windowless building set far back from the road, the scientists at Environmental Service Laboratories test all kinds of things for safety and compliance with regulations, from drinking water to toys to hazardous waste.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Nearly every piece of exposed metal in a consumer product has been electroplated in some way. It's the process of coating a metal with another metal to prevent corrosion. The most common coatings include chrome and cadmium, both of which are heavy metals that can be harmful to the environment.

Identity & Justice

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh police have charged 11 people after protesters threw rocks, broke windows and set off "large-scale" fireworks during a protest outside the county jail.

Police named the defendants Tuesday afternoon, but The Associated Press was not identifying them because it wasn't immediately clear what charges and actions were being attributed to which defendants.

Police say about 25 people from the Allegheny County Health Justice Project gathered about 8 p.m. Monday.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

When a group of people is given great power to watch over the rest of us, how do we make sure they use that power correctly?

Pittsburgh’s Citizen Police Review Board was created in 1997 to do just that. 

Education

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

On Saturdays, local teens take over the state-of-the-art recording studios on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus to lay down tracks about their lives and the people in them.

The program, Arts Greenhouse, started as a community project at the Center for the Arts in Society.

Essential Pittsburgh

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Behind The Scenes At Smallman Galley, Pittsburgh's Restaurant Incubator

First in an occasional series exploring Essential Pittsburgh. Jacqueline Wardle was working as the executive chef at Isabela on Grandview, a Mt. Washington restaurant, when she received a beguiling email: Instead of working for someone else, did she want to own her own restaurant?

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Development & Transportation

Rusty Clark / Flickr

As the first day of spring arrived Monday, so too did the yearly bloom of orange barrels. PennDOT announced 32 projects on local state-owned roads and bridges, which will cost an estimated $220 million. The largest undertaking is the rehabilitation of Interstate 279, known as the Parkway North.

“Currently we’re doing prep work in both directions that require single-lane restrictions during the daylight hours, overnight and on weekends,” said PennDOT Spokesman Steve Cowan.

Cowan said that prep work is expected to continue through March 30.

Environment & Energy

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

Twenty stories—and one controller's audit!—to get you up to speed on Pittsburgh's lead problem, from our partners and other local outlets.

 

 

“Pittsburgh to Provide Water Filters to All Residents to Reduce Lead Exposure"
90.5 WESA News
March 8, 2017

 

Local Headlines

Prosecutor: Not Reporting Jerry Sandusky Let Pure Evil 'Run Wild'

22 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP

The failure of Penn State's former president to report child molestation accusations against Jerry Sandusky allowed evil "to run wild," prosecutors said Tuesday at the start of Graham Spanier's trial. A defense attorney accused prosecutors of trying to "criminalize a judgment call."

Opening statements got underway in the long-delayed criminal trial against Spanier, who faces felony charges of child endangerment and conspiracy for how he handled a 2001 report that the former assistant football coach had abused a boy in a team shower.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

A pop-up lab on Liberty Avenue could play a key role in the street’s future. Life on Liberty is an initiative created by Envision Downtown to gather input about one of the city’s busiest streets.

National & International

School districts must provide students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress, the Supreme Court said today in an 8-0 ruling.

The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.

Economy & Business

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Giant Eagle has filed charges against a union representing some of its employees, saying it violated its contract when part-time employees, who said they were being overscheduled, asked for the creation of full-time positions. 

The grocery store chain is sparring with United Food and Commercial Workers local union 23, which represents 13,000 workers. The charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board alleges the union repudiated or modified its contract, coerced employees and refused to bargain in good faith.

Food & Drink

Above-Average Winter Temperatures Are Jumpstarting The Growing Season

Mar 7, 2017
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

While many of us have been enjoying the mild winter, it has some food producers double checking the calendar. For instance, March is usually prime season for boiling the sap from maple trees down into syrup. But at the farm Nathan Goodell’s family has worked for seven generations in northeastern Ohio, record-high winter temperatures have pushed everything way ahead of schedule.

Stories from National Partners

Existing home sales numbers for February are out today. January sales increased 3.3 percent to a 10-year high, but economists anticipate a dip for February, although that’s still up from last year. One factor: an improving job market. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

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