Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #7: frac-out freakout

For people who might not read the news every day, but would still like to know what’s going on. Now with events!


Frack ban showdown set. County Exec. Rich Fitzgerald, ever the wily statesman, waited until moments after county council adjourned Tuesday to present his backdated veto on a fracking ban in county parks, which passed 11-4 last week. If the “yes” votes hold with 10 or more, council can overturn Fitz’s veto during special session Tuesday.

The frack did he say? There’s more! Ryan Deto reports that Fitzgerald defended his veto at a press conference Wednesday, before defending the honor of fracking companies:  “These companies all get painted with broad brush. If we did that around things like gender or ethnicity or sexual orientation or race, that’s not the way we do things.”

Greene County frac-out: Meanwhile, Reid Frazier reports on a June “frac-out” at an abandoned well near New Freeport. The article reports EQT confirmed that “fluid from the active fracking site was ‘communicating’ with the abandoned well.” Said one local resident about the possibly contaminated water: “It’s terrible… they tested the water, but we haven’t got results back.”

What killed equity in Pine-Richland?  For PINJ, The Incline’s Colin Williams dives into a years-long saga at the well-to-do school district, involving a “newly-elected conservative school board majority and the nixing of a policy meant to improve diversity and inclusion efforts in the district.”

Walnut vouches for Walnut: Walnut Capital tells NEXTpittsburgh how Walnut Capital’s new Oakland development will fix a “dead zone” in the neighborhood. “It’s for working people,” says Walnut Capital CEO Todd Reidbord about their 90% market-rate apartment building and grocery store.

Lucky’s survives. The longtime Strip District gay bar that defied the odds was also profiled by the City Paper during Pride Month.

Doug Shields returns. The former city council president announced Tuesday his intent to run for his old District 5 council seat, vacated by Corey O’Conner, who was appointed Allegheny County Controller last week. Barb Warwick, a Four Mile Run resident and community activist, announced her candidacy for the vacant seat at a kickoff event last month. The race is on November’s ballot, and more might yet declare.

Right-to-Know law changes?  The PG reports on two bills in the state legislature that would significantly impact the state’s open records law. One would allow the Office of Open Records to deem a person a “vexatious requester,” while another, introduced by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, “would bring the PIAA, state-related universities and economic development organizations under the scope of the RTK law,” as well as 911 call and police blotter information. 

PA has a new child care tax credit. Kate Huangpu also reports a one-time boost in the state’s property tax / rent rebate program, and who is eligible for either.

“stuff you can do this weekend”


  • Lawrenceville: Strangeways dance party + Record-Rama pop-up at Belvedere’s. ($5, 5-9pm)
  • Millvale: Her Ladyship, Andre Costello, more at Whisper Nest. ($5, 7pm doors)
  • Lawrenceville: Kenny Stockard’s Album Release Show, w/ LIVEFROMTHECITY. ($15, 7pm doors)
  • McKees Rocks: Heavy Metal Karaoke at Black Forge Coffee. (free, 7pm)


  • Homestead: Brawl Under the Bridge 7. ($8, 7pm)
  • Downtown: Picklesburgh hits its peak. (free, all weekend)
  • Millvale: STRFKR, more at Mr. Smalls. ($22, 7pm doors)


  • Uptown: Kevin Hart at PPG Paints Arena. ($133+, 7pm)
  • Schenley Park: “Historics” races wrap-up at PGH Grand Prix. ($20, 9-5pm)
  • Downtown: The Ohio Players at PGH Black Music Festival. (free, 8pm)
  • East Liberty: Cafe Agnes taco and pupusa pop-up at Duo’s Taqueria. (11:30-2:30pm)
  • Oakland: Artist Talk Pittsburgh returns to CMOA. ($20, 6pm)
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He is a 2x 2023 Western PA Press Club Golden Quill award winner, in feature and business reporting. And a 3x finalist in the investigative reporting category.

He is a 2018 first prize winner in environmental reporting from the Keystone Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for reporting on lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water.

In 2022 and 2021, he was awarded a grant from The Gumshoe Group to support his investigative reporting.