WESA Daily Briefing

Latest: Art Commission unanimously votes to remove Christopher Columbus statue. More inmates accused of fraudulently seeking jobless checks. AHN unveils fourth neighborhood hospital.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Commission Votes To Remove Columbus Statue, But Its Fate Remains Uncertain

Pittsburgh’s Art Commission voted unanimously today to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus that has stood in Schenley Park for generations.

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Politics & Government

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A recent court ruling could make Pennsylvania a significant outlier in how it deals with mail-in ballots in the 2020 election — and could mean thousands of votes aren’t counted.

Commonwealth Media Services

State Republican lawmakers are trying to fight part of a recent state Supreme Court decision on voting by mail, including by appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Hours before the doors even opened for President Donald Trump's rally at a Pittsburgh International Airport hangar, hundreds of supporters were gathered to welcome their champion on yet another stop in western Pennsylvania.

Science, Health & Tech

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

 


On today's program: The long-lasting impacts of redlining are still felt in some Pittsburgh neighborhoods; the Pittsburgh Art Commission plans to debate the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in Schenley Park; and Puerto Ricans living in Pennsylvania after being displaced by Hurricane Maria look forward to voting in the U.S. presidential election. 

Pennsylvania Launches New Virus Exposure Notification App

Sep 22, 2020
Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania's new coronavirus exposure notification app became available in app stores Tuesday could soon be compatible with those of three neighboring states, including New York.

Education

PA Schools Allowing More Sports Fans After Court Ruling

4 hours ago
Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Some Pennsylvania school districts are permitting more fans in the stands in the wake of a federal judge’s ruling that tossed statewide pandemic limits on crowd size, while legislative Republicans prepared Wednesday to renew their push to enshrine local control of school sports into law.

Marc Levy / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf will go through with a veto of a bill that would give school districts the sole ability to make decisions on sports, including whether and how many spectators to allow, he said Monday.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Before Pitt, Real Panthers Once Prowled Around Pittsburgh

Four bronze panther monuments keep watch over the Panther Hollow Bridge in Oakland. Weathered over a century, the statutes appear to stalk passersby.

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Identity & Justice

More Inmates Accused Of Fradulently Seeking Jobless Checks

3 hours ago
Carolyn Kaster / AP

Eighteen inmates in Pennsylvania state prisons and two girlfriends of inmates on the outside have been charged in what authorities describe as a scheme to fraudulently obtain jobless benefits for ineligible prisoners, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Criminal defense lawyer Giuseppe Rosselli was confused when his client, George Allen, didn’t show up for a court date in late July. They had texted about the hearing moments earlier.

Development & Transportation

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

A report published Tuesday makes the case for a low-income fare program for public transit in Allegheny County. Pittsburghers for Public Transit, a grassroots organization of transit riders, advocates and operators, called on the Port Authority of Allegheny County to allow the lowest-income riders to use public transit for free. 

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Art Commission voted unanimously today to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus that has stood in Schenley Park for generations.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

One of Pittsburgh's top independent music halls is closing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo by Joshua Franzos / Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has removed the life-sized diorama known to generations of visitors as "Arab Courier Attacked By Lions."

The exhibit dramatically depicted a man mounted on a camel fending off two big cats, presumably somewhere in the North African desert. It's a fictional scene, and not terribly accurate culturally or scientifically. But the exhibit has been on almost continuous display since 1899, and the male lion's gaping jaws, and the rider's terrified expression, imprinted themselves on countless schoolchildren.

Environment & Energy

In The Ohio River Valley, With The Pandemic's Help, The Petrochemical Boom Is On Hold

10 hours ago
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

At a marina in Moundsville, West Virginia, Dan Williamson looked out across the Ohio River at a quiet stretch of land on the other side.

Trump's Energy Secretary Questions Mainstream Science On Human Impacts Of Climate Change

Sep 22, 2020
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

On a tour through Western Pennsylvania Monday, the Trump administration’s top energy official questioned the mainstream scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change.

Economy & Business

New PUA Payments Paused In PA Due To Uptick In Suspicious Claims

Sep 22, 2020
Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania is suspending payments for new claims to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, known by its acronym PUA, while the state deals with a spike in suspected fraudulent claims.

Local Headlines

Erin Keane Scott / 90.5 WESA

News on the coronavirus pandemic, protests, 2020 election and more from around Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Find all of the WESA Daily Briefing posts here

Editor's note: This post will be frequently updated with the latest news.

6:06 p.m. - Allegheny County will continue to enforce its size limits on gatherings, despite last week’s ruling in US Federal District Court

Erin Keane Scott / 90.5 WESA

News on the coronavirus pandemic, protests, 2020 election and more from around Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Find all of the WESA Daily Briefing posts here

Editor's note: This post will be frequently updated with the latest news.

 

5:50 p.m. - Pennsylvania nears launch of new health insurance website

Food & Drink

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

In a surprise move, the Trump administration has rejected Pennsylvania officials’ plan to distribute a month’s worth of food benefits to thousands of needy families.

National & International

It's a bit hard to describe Vietnam's Intergenerational Self Help Clubs.

But one thing is easy to say. If you're older — like above the age of 60 — and need help, the club will help you get it. That could mean a microloan if times are tough, a drum lesson as a chance for self-expression and social activity (and to prove that old people can play drums, too). And during the pandemic, the clubs have played a critical role informing and supporting its members.

There are around 3,000 of the clubs in Vietnam, with 160,000 participants, most of them older people.

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