WESA Daily Briefing

Latest: Statewide, cases increase by 758. Allegheny County reports 97 new cases of COVID-19, six deaths. Pitt students with athletic scholarships can keep them even if they don't play.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

In Another Voting Lawsuit, League Of Women Voters Sues Pennsylvania Over Mail-In Ballot Procedures

With less than three months before the election, Pennsylvania elections officials were hit with another voting lawsuit Friday. This one alleges that thousands of votes could be discarded if mail-in ballot procedures aren’t changed.

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Politics & Government

How Arguments In Washington Are Holding Up Coronavirus Relief In Pennsylvania

Aug 7, 2020
Carolyn Kaster / AP

There’s roughly $1 billion in unspent federal aid sitting in Pennsylvania’s coffers. Yet key players in the Capitol say they won’t make any decisions about how to spend the cash until Washington makes up its mind on a second coronavirus relief package.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

With less than three months before the election, Pennsylvania elections officials were hit with another voting lawsuit Friday. This one alleges that thousands of votes could be discarded if mail-in ballot procedures aren’t changed.

Matt Rourke / AP

It’s a worst-case scenario for a voter: You show up to your polling place on Election Day, give your name, but are told you’re not on the rolls. You know you registered. You know you’re in the right precinct. What do you do now?

Science, Health & Tech


A UPMC cardiologist is no longer the program director for one of the medical system’s fellowship programs after he published an article in a prominent journal asserting that affirmative action policies produce less-qualified medical students and residents.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

The University of Pittsburgh will lead a consortium of institutions to study how autonomous vehicles can be made accessible to those with physical disabilities. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the school a $1 million grant last week. The department awarded grants to four new University Transportation Centers to advance research and education programs that address transportation challenges. 


Sean Simmers / PennLive for Spotlight PA

Ada Bailor’s time at Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been marked by a steady drumbeat of racism.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The group Black Women For A Better Education demand transformational change.

Lawmakers Hear Schools Face Range Of Challenges In Reopening

Aug 5, 2020
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state lawmakers heard about the slew of challenges ahead when schools reopen during a pandemic, as two days of hearings that ended Wednesday offered little reason for optimism.

Good Question!

Archives & Special Collections / University of Pittsburgh Library System

Aqueducts, Inclines And Mules: How The Pennsylvania Canal Changed The Commonwealth

Before highways and railroads crisscrossed the commonwealth, a series of linked waterways and inclined planes brought people and goods across the state. The Pennsylvania Canal was a significant engineering achievement when it was constructed in 1826.

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Identity & Justice

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

It has been just over a month since Dannielle Brown started her hunger strike on Freedom Corner to get answers from Duquesne University on her son's death. And while the University said in July that it would provide her the records she seeks, Brown is still waiting. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

“A matter of life and death.” That was the message demonstrators conveyed Friday afternoon during a march and rally through downtown for non-discrimination protections of LGBTQ people.

Development & Transportation

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The coronavirus pandemic upended commuting patterns in the Pittsburgh region. In the early months of Pennsylvania’s shutdown, traffic dropped by as much as 50 percent in Allegheny County, according to Streetlight Data. On average, PennDOT officials say vehicular traffic remains about 20 percent lower than normal.

Pittsburgh developed from a hodgepodge of former boroughs and municipalities, and its hills and river valleys prevented planners from creating a traditional street grid. These factors make the city difficult to navigate in a vehicle. On top of that, local drivers have some idiosyncratic behaviors. 

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

High school fall sports have not been canceled yet, but mandatory sports activities have been paused for two weeks. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association said Friday it was delaying sports amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19, though it said it believes schools can safely move forward with their programs under new COVID-19 precautions.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

About 100 current or former employees of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh have signed an open letter charging the 37-year-old institution with racism and poor treatment of workers.

While Steelers Remain United, Tomlin Warily Eyes 2020

Aug 7, 2020
Gail Burton / AP

The Pittsburgh Steelers are united heading into the 2020 season. Yet even with every member of his team opting to play this fall, that doesn't mean Mike Tomlin is certain his club — or the NFL at large — will be able to navigate without any complications the next five months in the middle of a pandemic.

Environment & Energy

PA Produces A Lot Of Greenhouse Gases, But Its Republican-Led Legislature Isn’t Acting

Aug 7, 2020
Rachel McDevitt / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Heavy rain pounded parts of Pennsylvania over the summer of 2018.

Some flash floods turned deadly. Many took a toll on property, roads and bridges.

How Tropical Storm Isaias Is Connected To Climate Change

Aug 6, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

When Carol Collier checked the rain gauge in her garden on Tuesday after Tropical Storm Isaias ripped through the Philadelphia region, she was shocked by what she saw. 

Economy & Business

Gene J. Puskar / AP

When Pennsylvania businesses shut down en masse on March 16 due to the coronavirus, Bloomfield resident Abbey Rideout lost both her jobs within a day. She had worked as a barista at Pittsburgh’s Tazza D’Oro and Crazy Mocha cafés, but nearly five months later, she’s still out of work – and now she's lost a crucial lifeline that helped keep her head above water.

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.


12:22 p.m. - Statewide, cases increase by 758

The Pennsylvania Department of Health said the total of cases in all 67 counties is now 117,279.

Dannielle Brown hasn’t eaten in more than a month. But she says she hasn’t breathed in nearly two years.

Food & Drink

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

“Panic mode.” “Evolve to survive.” “Downsize.” 


That's how owners and workers at local bars and restaurants have described the last few months, as they struggled to keep their businesses afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic. They say that recent changes to customer capacity and other safety protocols have made this time even more difficult to navigate.

National & International

International leaders at a virtual summit Sunday pledged $298 million in aid to help Lebanon in the aftermath of the catastrophic blast that killed at least 158 people and devastated large swaths of Beirut.

In his opening remarks, French President Emmanuel Macron — co-host of the summit along with the U.N. — said "Lebanon's future was at stake" and urged attendees "to come together in support of Lebanon and its people."

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