Pence Seeks To Reassure Nervous European Allies, Vows U.S. Commitment To NATO

Vice President Mike Pence told European allies Saturday that the U.S. remains committed to NATO, despite President Trump's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and stated interest in pursuing better relations with Russia. In a speech during his first overseas trip since taking office, Pence told leaders at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that the U.S. "strongly supports" NATO and that "the United States is now and will always be your greatest ally." But Pence echoed President...

Read More

Politics & Government

Matt Rourke / AP

After weeks of constituents demanding more access, Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey held an over-the-phone town hall from Washington D.C. on Thursday afternoon.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb on Thursday released a draft of the performance audit of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Thursday with 53 recommended changes.

The audit was concurrent with widespread customer billing and meter problems, issues of lead in drinking water and inconsistent leadership.

Science, Health, & Tech

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

On Dec. 15, 2016, Morgan Yoney’s life changed. She received a phone call in her hospital room – a pair of lungs had become available. Morgan had spent 21 days in the ICU at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital waiting for a lung transplant.

“They said I was on death’s doorstep,” Morgan said.

The 22-year-old’s quest for lungs had spread through the region, thanks to the “Morgan’s Army” Facebook page and a campaign by several North Hills businesses.  

Beginning of the Journey

Identity & Justice

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The number of Pittsburgh police officers is on track to reach its highest number in 15 years, city officials said just one day after installing new Chief Scott Schubert.

On Friday, a class of seven new Pittsburgh police officers were sworn in – all experienced and coming from other regional departments.

Mayor Bill Peduto said the city has made intentional efforts to attract outside talent.

'Human Library' Allows Penn State Community To Check Out Diverse Life Experiences

Feb 17, 2017
Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

Brian Davis is well-known around campus, and not just because the Penn State junior is always wearing a suit. He's triple majoring and double minoring, is actively involved in organizations across campus and has the ear of the University's president.

But that's not where his story begins.

"So my story is about me growing up in West Philadelphia, and for me joining a gang, and to how that was for me every single day," said Davis. "Whether that was getting shot at, fearing for my life, or fighting just because that was the mental capacity I had at the time."

Alex Brandon / AP

Pennsylvania wasn’t among the states where large-scale immigration enforcement took place last week, but communities in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have reported raids.  

On Wednesday morning, the City of Philadelphia tweeted on its official account, “City is working to gather info on how many people have been impacted by increased ICE enforcements,” and gave the number for a hotline created by New Sanctuary Movement, an interfaith immigrant justice organization.

Education

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The city of Zumala sits on the Nile Delta. Edible mushrooms feed on plastic waste and plants filter the water for residents and businesses. Suspended tubular trains carry the city’s 300,000 people from place to place, high above the buildings.

The fictional city cost less than $100 to build and was designed by 10 middle-schoolers.

Essential Pittsburgh

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Garfield Bike Shop Owner Says He's Ready To Retire And Pass On The Tools

Jerry Kraynick bends at the waist, hands on hips, and peers over his glasses. He gestures towards a bike. “Throw it up on the stand, and I’ll look at it.”

Read More

Development & Transportation

Google Maps

The developer of the North Side's Nova Place announced Tuesday it will outfit the building with high speed internet available to the community for free.  

The five-year $8.8 million investment will turn portions of the former Allegheny Center Mall into a community technology hub.

Developer Faros Properties, which renovated the building, said it would include “innovation pods” where local groups can meet.

Comcast will provide $1.3 million in cash and services including free one-gigabit-per-second wired and wireless connection.

Environment & Energy

PA Department of Environmental Protection

Pennsylvania environmental regulators are set to release the findings of their investigation into a series of minor earthquakes that took place near fracking operations by an oil and gas company.

The quakes were recorded last April about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh and three-quarters of a mile from a natural gas well owned by Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. They were too weak to be felt by humans and no damage was reported.

Environmentalists Oppose Permits For Pennsylvania Pipeline

Feb 15, 2017
Matt Slocum / AP

Environmental advocacy groups are trying to halt construction of a $2.5 billion natural gas liquids pipeline across southern Pennsylvania while they appeal newly issued permits that they say would unleash massive and irreparable damage to the state's environment and residents.

In filings Monday night, three groups said the state Department of Environmental Protection had approved incomplete and legally flawed permit applications for Sunoco Logistics' Mariner East 2 pipeline hours earlier "in response to heavy and sustained political pressure."

Local Headlines

Alan Diaz / AP

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist, and host, Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week's topics include Ford Motor Company  investing $1 billion into Pittsburgh company Argo AI. We'll discuss a reports recommendations for helping children in the juvenile justice system. Discover which politicians in the state took in the most PAC money in 2015-16 and another medical malpractice suit, regarding fungal infections, has been filed against UPMC.

National & International

Can Changing When And What We Eat Help Outwit Disease?

1 hour ago

I was worried that I might not be able to stick to an intermittent fasting schedule during my vacation in Mexico. It turns out, it was a breeze.

Because I was sick.

It started on the plane ride to Cozumel, a tingle in my throat and then the telltale sign that illness was imminent: three sneezes in a row. A clogged nose, a slight fever and a general feeling of malaise came over me after my third dive into the electric blue waters of the Caribbean.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

David Bachman / Pittsburgh Opera

There is no fancy set, no elaborate costumes. Just a small three-level stage, a string quartet and two opera singers — who both happen to be playing the same person.

“My character is Hannah Before; Hannah before she transitions to female,” said Brian Vu, a resident artist with the Pittsburgh Opera.

Fellow resident artist Taylor Raven is Hannah After.

Economy & Business

Schell Games

The video game industry brought in $79 million in revenue in Pennsylvania in 2015, according to the Entertainment Software Association.

Employment grew at a rate of nearly 5 percent that year and the industry directly and indirectly supported 1,200 Pennsylvania jobs at game developers, publishers and retail outlets.

A new report from the ESA, titled “Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2017 Report,” details growth in the industry nationwide.

Food & Drink

A heart-shaped box of chocolate is a sign of love, a symbol — and often tool — of romance, and an intrinsic part of Valentine's Day.

From at least the time of the Aztecs, chocolate has been seen as an aphrodisiac. So it's reasonable to assume that it has been connected to love's dedicated day of celebration for many centuries. But, that isn't the case.

Stories from National Partners

Some of the oxygen on the moon used to be on planet Earth

18 hours ago
NASA/Reid Wiseman

Scientists say that every month, we here on Earth send some oxygen to the moon — and we’ve probably been doing it for billions of years.

The moon may be airless, but we know it has oxygen — Apollo mission samples confirmed its presence in the moon’s soil. The easiest explanation for its source is the solar wind, which bombards the moon’s surface with particles streaming off of the sun. But new research shows that the moon may be getting some of its oxygen from a more familiar place: Earth.

Sign up for our e-newsletter!

Where the News Comes Together

Each Friday, reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Like us on Facebook

From Our Friends at WYEP

WYEP's Local 913

This week: Judith Avers

JazzWorks

Classic and Contemporary Jazz Streaming 24/7