Would you eat at a restaurant with a ‘C’ on the door?

The Allegheny County Council rejected an A-B-C food grading scale for restaurants twice, siding with local restaurant owners. The health department had already created a proposed grading system as a part of this proposal, so I requested the grading system and three years of restaurant inspection records. I then applied the proposed grading system to nearly a year of inspections that had already taken place. The story showed that an A-B-C grading scale would provide more gradation for consumers than a green sticker on the door, which was not an indicator of cleanliness.

Back-to-school preparations often exclude vaccines in PA

Pennsylvania had the second-worst vaccination rate in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I digitized eight years of vaccination records to find out why the state was failing. I found that Pennsylvania’s low vaccination rate was not caused by the state’s medical, religious or philosophical exemptions, but because the state allowed students to attend school for up to eight months without having all of their required vaccines. In response to my reporting, the Secretary of Health wrote an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Department of Health changed the provisional period to five days.

Tax Calculator: Comparing the House Republicans’ tax plan with Wolf’s

I compared an ambitious tax proposal from Gov. Tom Wolf with a competing plan from members of the Republican Legislature with an interactive tax calculator. The story also showed how the Republican plan disproportionately benefited school districts with higher median property values while Wolf’s plan provided more property tax relief to poorer school districts. This story was PublicSource’s most republished story in 2015. It was picked up by 15 of our print partners with a combined audience of six million readers.

Tax calculator: How Gov. Wolf’s budget would affect you in Allegheny County

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed ambitious changes to the state’s tax structure in his first budget address. Wolf proposed increases to the state’s income and sales tax while cutting property taxes. We wanted to show Allegheny County residents whether they would pay more under Wolf’s proposal with our tax calculator, which allowed a user to input their school district, marital status, income and property value.