Matt Rourke / AP File Photo

Pennsylvania's Schools Are Short $1.4B, Per White House Infrastructure Report

The Biden White House is amplifying the push for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure package with the release of state-by-state breakdowns that show the dire shape of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability.

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Politics & Government

Matt Rourke / AP

Yes, there’s another election day just around the corner. It’s May 18. And, in fact, thanks to no-excuse mail ballots, widespread voting is already open.

Matt Rourke / AP File Photo

The Biden White House is amplifying the push for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure package with the release of state-by-state breakdowns that show the dire shape of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability.

Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: State lawmakers are considering candidates for the commission in charge of drawing new political district lines, a process that has previously been secretive; a lawyer representing 33 plaintiffs in a suit against the U.S. Department of Education explains why higher education institutions that accept federal funds shouldn’t be allowed religious exemptions, and one of the plaintiffs who attended college in Pennsylvania recounts his experience at Clarks Summit University.

Start your morning with today's news.

Science, Health & Tech

Pennsylvania: All Adults Eligible For Vaccine On Tuesday

18 hours ago
Abdeljalil Bounhar / AP

Pennsylvania will expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults beginning Tuesday, nearly a week ahead of schedule, as supply begins to catch up with demand and state officials try to keep pace with a mutating virus.

Vaccine providers told the Health Department they were having trouble filling appointments, signaling that it was time for the state to abandon its phased rollout and make the vaccine available to everyone aged 16 and older, the acting health secretary, Alison Beam, said Monday.

Francisco Seco / AP

As Pennsylvania moves into phase 1C of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout Monday, hundreds of thousands of new people have begun searching for appointments. On Tuesday, every adult Pennsylvanian will be eligible to get a vaccine. As manufacturers continue to ramp up production, millions of doses of vaccine will flow into the commonwealth over the coming weeks. 

Courtesy of UPMC

Preliminary data from UPMC gives insight into how the COVID-19 vaccine might perform in elderly people and certain cancer patients, two populations at heightened risk if infected with the coronavirus. Inital vaccine studies did not specialize or include various populations, so more research is needed. 

Education

Philly District Offers Universal Summer School To Find Academic 'Regression'

Apr 8, 2021
Matt Rourke / AP

The School District of Philadelphia plans to offer universal summer school for all public school students in grades K-12 this year.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The first public debate between candidates for the Pittsburgh Public Schools Wednesday evening was a relatively sedate affair, made only mildly contentious by the fact that three of the candidates have children who attended charter schools.

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

Crowds of mourners and protesters gathered in a Minnesota city where the family of a 20-year-old man say he was shot by police before getting back into his car and driving away, then crashing several blocks away. The family of Daunte Wright said he was later pronounced dead.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

A former SEPTA employee is accusing the transit authority of racial discrimination in the workplace.

Development & Transportation

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny Valley Railroad has agreed to sell a 3.6 mile long stretch of railroad to Aspinwall Riverfront Park. The Brilliant Line links Aspinwall to Pittsburgh’s East End across the Allegheny River. The nonprofit group that oversees the park plans to turn it into a trail for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

One of Pittsburgh’s most endangered historical landmarks received a big boost toward preservation on Monday.

Michael Virtanen / AP

West Virginia is joining the growing list of places recruiting remote workers — with a thrill-seeking twist.

Environment & Energy

Neighbors And Anglers Cry Foul Over Sunoco's Pollution Of Chester County Trout Stream

18 hours ago
Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

It was Easter Sunday when, retired schoolteacher Libby Madarasz said, a neighbor noticed muddy water flowing from beneath a barrier to Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline construction site.

Mark Dixon

The Allegheny County Health Department issued an air pollution watch for the Mon Valley on Wednesday morning. Air quality readings at the Liberty Monitor showed increased pollution levels starting Tuesday evening. The county is working with US Steel to identify what caused the shift.

Economy & Business

Pennsylvania Promises Quicker, Easier Jobless Claims System

Apr 8, 2021
Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

After a year of frustration over long waits for checks, jammed phone lines and confusing online filing procedures, Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry is promising a much quicker and easier unemployment compensation claims filing system in two months.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Pandemic-related job losses hobbled the local economy through the winter, with the Pittsburgh region sustaining 87,800 fewer jobs in February compared to a year before, according to a new report from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. But more recent, and more encouraging, national figures suggest the local economy could start to turn around in coming months.

Local Headlines

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

  On this week’s Explainer:

Pennsylvania Pension Board Hires Law Firm For Federal Probe

Apr 7, 2021
Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s largest public pension system disclosed Tuesday that it is dealing with a federal investigation, although officials atop the $64 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System have yet to publicly disclose the nature or scope of the inquiry.

Food & Drink

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians rely on the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in order to keep food on the table. 

National & International

BIJIE, China — Zipping along Beijing's streets on an electric scooter with sometimes death-defying speed, Chen Guojiang delivered hundreds of take-out food orders a day.

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