Latest Coronavirus Updates

90.5 WESA is following the latest updates and COVID-19 case numbers in Allegheny County and across Pennsylvania.

Jacqueline Martin / AP

Report Says Rep. Scott Perry, Trump Collaborated On Plan To Overturn Election Results

Rep. Scott Perry (R-York) is facing calls to resign after a published report said he collaborated with former President Donald Trump in a scheme to overturn legally certified election results in Georgia.

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Politics & Government

Jacqueline Martin / AP

Rep. Scott Perry (R-York) is facing calls to resign after a published report said he collaborated with former President Donald Trump in a scheme to overturn legally certified election results in Georgia.

Q&A: Meet Pennsylvania's New Public Records Czar

Jan 21, 2021
Sara Simon / Spotlight PA

After six years, the Office of Open Records has a new executive director — Liz Wagenseller, former chief of staff to ex-Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Pittsburgh may get billed as the nation’s most livable city, but state Rep. Ed Gainey says too many are left out of the picture as economic and racial inequity persists – and he says the city is ready for a change of leadership.

Science, Health & Tech

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Less than an hour after the Allegheny County Health Department opened up vaccination appointments to people age 65 and older all the slots were reportedly filled.

Gov. Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday said he would elevate two officials involved in his administration's response to the coronavirus to replace the departing Dr. Rachel Levine as his health secretary and physician general.

Wolf said he intends to nominate a deputy chief of staff, Alison Beam, to take over as secretary of the Department of Health. Wolf, meanwhile, elevated Dr. Wendy Braund, the Covid-19 response director for the department, to acting interim physician general.

Education

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Public Schools board will vote next week on a proposal to again delay the return to in-person learning. A coalition of local groups that advocate for children want the district to better communicate why students and staff haven’t returned to in-person learning.  

Advocates Call For Postponement Of Test For English Learners

Jan 18, 2021
Jeffrey Stockbridge / Keystone Crossroads

Pennsylvania students who are learning English typically spend the beginning of the calendar year preparing for a standardized test to determine their proficiency.

Good Question!

How The Pittsburgh Left Became Embedded In City Driving

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.

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Identity & Justice

David Swanson / File via Spotlight PA

The state Department of Corrections has doubled down on its policy not to always inform families of inmates who are sickened or killed by the coronavirus, saying it’s the responsibility of inmates to ensure their emergency contacts are complete and accurate.

Eric Gay / AP

Advocates for four outspoken undocumented immigrants are suing the federal government over a policy under former President Donald Trump that fined certain undocumented asylum seekers.

The Free Migration Project in Philadelphia and the Austin Sanctuary Network in Texas filed the lawsuit against ICE and the Department of Homeland Security in a Washington D.C. court Monday.

The suit claims the government targeted four unauthorized immigrant women living in houses of worship with retaliatory and excessive fines for being leaders in calls for sanctuary.

Development & Transportation

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

In 2014, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority spent $13 million dollars on its infrastructure, the pumps and pipes that make up its water and sewer systems. This year, PWSA’s board approved a capital budget of $233 million.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

AP Photo/Joe Holloway, Jr.

The Major League Baseball legend Hank Aaron died at the age of 86. Aaron played for 23 seasons, breaking world records and adopting the nickname "Hammerin' Hank."

The Confluence host, Kevin Gavin, spoke with Aaron in 1990 after the publication of his autobiography, "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story."

Photo by Joshua Sweeny / Courtesy of Attack Theatre

Attack Theatre is that rare established Pittsburgh arts group that moved its headquarters during the coronavirus pandemic. Now it’s showing off its new home in a short film whose production was itself an adaptation to the era of physical distancing.

Brew House Association Gallery

Hairstyling has always been more than grooming; some consider getting a new cut therapeutic. But if Black salons and barbershops are also important social spaces, curator Tara Fay Coleman wants to emphasize they are places where art is made, as well.

Environment & Energy

Proposal To Join Regional Cap-And-Trade Program Draws 13,000 Comments

Jan 21, 2021
Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Thousands of people weighed in on Pennsylvania’s proposal to join a regional effort to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

Rachel McDevitt / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Solar sounds scary to people in Adams County who don’t want to see a proposed project built in their neighborhood.

Economy & Business

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remained stable and on par with the national rate in December, although the labor force and payrolls shrank, according to state figures released Friday.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 6.7%, down one-tenth of a percentage point from November's adjusted rate of 6.8%, the state Department of Labor and Industry said.

The rate shot up from 4.7% just before the pandemic hit to 16.1% in April, Pennsylvania's highest rate in more than four decades of record-keeping.

The national rate was 6.7% in December.

Local Headlines

Matt Rourke / AP

The son of a couple killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue attack that killed 11 worshippers is suing the National Rifle Association, arguing the group’s inflammatory rhetoric led to the violence. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that people over age 65 are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as are other adults and older teens with certain health conditions. Health and science reporter Sarah Boden looks into the local data on inoculation.

Food & Drink

Courtesy of Allegheny Eats

A meal kit service is combining regionally sourced ingredients with Pittsburgh restaurant recipes — and funds from each kit purchase provide free meals to local restaurant workers.

National & International

Eleven miners have been rescued in China after a harrowing two weeks trapped some 2,000 feet below ground.

The rescue marked a moment of celebration and relief in what has been an arduous and complex effort to bring the men to safety. One miner has already died and another 10 remain missing.

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