Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Controller Says Health Department’s Lead Testing Not Enough, Launches Audit

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said she will investigate the county health department’s methodology for determining the cause of elevated lead levels in children.

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Politics & Government

Real Estate Investor To Challenge Casey In Pennsylvania's US Senate Race

2 hours ago
Matt Slocum / AP

There's a new face in the crowd that's vying to challenge the re-election bid by Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

Real estate investor Jeffrey Bartos announced Monday that he'll seek the Republican Party nomination to challenge Casey in 2018.

The 44-year-old Bartos lives in Montgomery County and has never run for office before.

Those already announcing their candidacy or filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission include Republican state Reps. Rick Saccone and Jim Christiana, Republican Andrew Shecktor and Libertarian Dale Kerns.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

Nearly 10 years ago, the manager of the Borough of Monaca started making the municipality a little more environmentally friendly. 

90.5 WESA's Mark Nootbaar spoke to Borough Manager Mario Leone how he started by getting a grant to convert all of the traffic signals to LED lights. 

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Science, Health, & Tech

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said she will investigate the county health department’s methodology for determining the cause of elevated lead levels in children.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburghers rallied in Oakland Saturday, in a satellite to the larger March for Science taking place in Washington, D.C. The city hasn’t released official crowd estimates, but organizers said thousands attended the march.

 

The local march itself was short, just seven-tenths of a mile around the block that houses the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Speeches, however, lasted more than an hour, as around a dozen scientists, academics and activists explained their work and its importance for people and the earth.

Identity & Justice

Keith Srakocic / AP

Americans who live in high-crime neighborhoods often get portrayed as anti-police, but an Urban Institute study released in February shows something different: strong respect for the law and a willingness to help with public safety.

Education

Rogelio Solis / AP

The Senate Education Committee has advanced a bill that would give schools in Pennsylvania the option of allowing teachers and other staff to carry concealed guns.

Supporters say it’s a matter of letting schools make the safety decisions that fit them best, while opponents call it irresponsible and unnecessary.

Development & Transportation

Matt Rourke / AP

The demand for new apartments in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh has grown swiftly over the last few years. Developers have met that demand with a tremendous amount of construction, said Barbara Byrne Denham, senior economist at Reis, a real estate data and analytics company based in New York. 

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburghers have long been fascinated with the mysterious, underground “fourth river.” As much as they gush about the three visible rivers, they’re often eager to tell you about the secret waterway beneath the Golden Triangle.

Good Question!

Niven Sabherwal / 90.5 WESA

How Much Of Pittsburgh Property Is Untaxed? (And How Does The City Get Its Money?)

When attorney Joe Froetschel commutes to work on his bicycle, he thinks about how the city operations work and where the money comes from. As he rides through Oakland, he notices hospitals like UPMC and University of Pittsburgh buildings that dot the neighborhood. He's also surrounded by churches and charities and the Carnegie museums.

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Environment & Energy

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

  

Next to steel and Super Bowl championships, Pittsburgh is synonymous with three rivers. In the summer, the Three Rivers Arts Festival dominates downtown and the moniker is part of a number of companies in the region -- not to mention there used to be a stadium that bore the name.

But does the city technically have three distinct rivers?

Local Headlines

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penn State University has suspended the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity for two years for violating new, tighter alcohol rules during Parents' Weekend.

The new rules were imposed after the February death of a student at a pledge acceptance party hosted by another fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, which is permanently banned from campus.

University President Eric Barron says nine of the university's 82 fraternities and sororities violated at least one of the new rules, and Sigma Alpha Mu violated nearly all of them.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

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 to take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

National & International

Malaria transmission in the United States was eliminated in the early 1950s through the use of insecticides, drainage ditches and the incredible power of window screens.

But the mosquito-borne disease has staged a comeback in American hospitals as travelers return from parts of the world where malaria runs rampant. In the early 1970s there only a couple hundred malaria cases reported in the entire U.S. but that number has steadily increased in recent years.

Economy & Business

Keith Srakocic / AP

Alcoa Corp. is moving its global headquarters back to Pittsburgh, where the 129-year-old company had been based until moving to New York City in 2006.

Alcoa has maintained offices in Pittsburgh and 10 employees will relocate from its New York headquarters when the move is made Sept. 1. Alcoa already has 205 employees in Pittsburgh who share a building with Arconic, a spinoff company created when Alcoa split off its mining, refining and aluminum businesses in November from businesses that make aluminum parts for aerospace, automotive and other industries.

Food & Drink

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When the first Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week kicked off in 2012, there were about five craft breweries in Pittsburgh, including Penn Brewery, which planned the inaugural celebration.

Now, as the 2017 celebration prepares to kick off, there are closer to 35 breweries in the region. Eighteen of them are participating in the week-long celebration this year – the largest number so far. Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week Board President Brian Meyer said that’s fitting.

Stories from National Partners

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwcmedia/6871113503/">Tim Donovan/FWC</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">CC BY-ND 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

It's been seven years this month since a drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico (April 20, 2010), releasing millions of barrels of oil into the ocean from its damaged wellhead. It’s thought to be the worst offshore oil spill in US history; even months later, hot oil continued to gush from the well, while oil-covered birds and tar balls washed up on beaches. 

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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.

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