Liz Reid http://wesa.fm en Peduto: Negotations Between City and UPMC Ongoing http://wesa.fm/post/peduto-negotations-between-city-and-upmc-ongoing <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The&nbsp;</span><a href="http://wesa.fm/post/upmc-workers-ramp-union-organizing-campaign-day-action" style="line-height: 1.5;">aura of tension</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;around Pennsylvania’s largest employer is&nbsp;</span><a href="http://wesa.fm/post/upmc-and-highmark-confusing-truce" style="line-height: 1.5;">slowly dissipating</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, as the city of Pittsburgh announced Friday that it is dropping its lawsuit against&nbsp;</span>UPMC<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:26:31 +0000 Liz Reid 33397 at http://wesa.fm City Councilman Gilman Looking for Ways to Support Small Businesses http://wesa.fm/post/city-councilman-gilman-looking-ways-support-small-businesses <p>Roberta Weissburg has been <a href="http://www.robertaweissburgleathers.com/">designing, repairing, and selling leather goods</a> in Pittsburgh for over 30 years.</p><p>According to Weissburg, the increasing presence of online and big box stores over the last few decades has made it difficult for small businesses like hers to maintain and expand their customer bases.</p> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:47:48 +0000 Liz Reid 33345 at http://wesa.fm City Councilman Gilman Looking for Ways to Support Small Businesses Acting Public Safety Director Says He Has To Build Trust Between Police, Community http://wesa.fm/post/acting-public-safety-director-says-he-has-build-trust-between-police-community <p>Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is one step closer to filling out his administration, as City Council Wednesday held hearings on the mayor’s recent Public Safety and Management &amp; Budget appointments.</p><p>For more than two hours, Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar took notes as he was peppered with questions, concerns and suggestions from council members.</p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:46:10 +0000 Liz Reid 33118 at http://wesa.fm City Council Preliminarily Approves Adding Gender Identity as a Protected Class http://wesa.fm/post/city-council-preliminarily-approves-adding-gender-identity-protected-class <p>Pittsburgh City Council took preliminary steps Wednesday to add gender identity and expression as an explicitly protected class with regard to housing, employment and public accommodation.</p><p>Council President Bruce Kraus sponsored the legislation and said the issue was brought to his attention by Jason Goodman, executive director of the <a href="http://pennsec.org/">Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition</a>, or PSEC.</p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:29:50 +0000 Liz Reid 33098 at http://wesa.fm City Council Preliminarily Approves Adding Gender Identity as a Protected Class Corbett Touts Tobash's Pension Reform Plan in Shaler Township http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-touts-tobashs-pension-reform-plan-shaler-township <p>Less than a week after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett ended the <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/explaining-governor-corbetts-budget-battle">budget standoff</a> with the state Legislature, he’s setting a new deadline for <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-withholds-signature-budget-pension-overhaul">pension reform</a>: election season.</p><p>Corbett was in Shaler Township Monday afternoon pushing an overhaul of the public pension system, which he said is necessary to help struggling school districts and stem the wave of rising property taxes.</p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 21:34:04 +0000 Liz Reid 32616 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Touts Tobash's Pension Reform Plan in Shaler Township Local Group Reclaims Vacant Land Through Micro-Grants and Education http://wesa.fm/post/local-group-reclaims-vacant-land-through-micro-grants-and-education <p>Six months ago, the vacant lot next door to Linda Piso’s house in Knoxville was overgrown with weeds and was a haven for drug activity.</p><p>But Piso has since transformed the lot into a community garden.</p><p>“Right now I’m picking cucumbers,” Piso said on Saturday. “My garden is completely planted. I have lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, and soon I’ll have a watermelon.”</p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Liz Reid 32536 at http://wesa.fm Heth's Run Valley Slated for Major Facelift http://wesa.fm/post/heths-run-valley-slated-major-facelift <p>Heth’s Run Valley hasn’t been much of a valley for a while. The area underneath Heth’s Run bridge—a portion of Butler Street between Morningside and Highland Park—had long been a dumping site for industrial waste. City Councilwoman Deb Gross, whose district includes the area, said many of her constituents didn’t even know a bridge was there.</p><p>But that area is slated to get a major facelift, which Gross said has been a long time coming.</p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:10:16 +0000 Liz Reid 32333 at http://wesa.fm Heth's Run Valley Slated for Major Facelift City to Audit Tax Revenue from Pro Sports, Concerts, Conferences http://wesa.fm/post/city-audit-tax-revenue-pro-sports-concerts-conferences <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams are huge drivers of the local economy, but City Councilwoman Natalia </span>Rudiak<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> said in Wednesday’s committee meeting that she’s currently unable to quantify that contribution.</span></p><p>“As we were talking about Act 47, I was talking with constituents and they would constantly ask me ‘How much money do we get out of the stadiums?’” Rudiak said. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t answer that question.”</p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 20:07:22 +0000 Liz Reid 32332 at http://wesa.fm City to Audit Tax Revenue from Pro Sports, Concerts, Conferences Policy Change Will Increase City Pool Access for Low-Income Youth http://wesa.fm/post/policy-change-will-increase-city-pool-access-low-income-youth <p>Swimming pools are the quintessential summer hangout for kids, but when Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith found out children were being turned away because they didn’t have the right kind of pool passes, she decided to take action.</p><p>City Council Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that will repeal a city policy preventing kids with pool passes received through youth groups and other organizations from using city pools during evenings and weekends.</p><p>Kail-Smith said she wasn’t even aware of the policy until some of her constituents complained.</p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 20:13:54 +0000 Liz Reid 32262 at http://wesa.fm Policy Change Will Increase City Pool Access for Low-Income Youth Tackling Pittsburgh’s Blight Problem, One Small Project at a Time http://wesa.fm/post/tackling-pittsburgh-s-blight-problem-one-small-project-time <p><a href="http://wesa.fm/post/how-neighborhoods-are-using-new-tools-fight-against-old-blight">Blight is a major problem</a> in Pittsburgh, and the city is pursuing several big-picture initiatives to deal with it.</p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:19:32 +0000 Liz Reid 32195 at http://wesa.fm Tackling Pittsburgh’s Blight Problem, One Small Project at a Time Pittsburgh Bike Share Program Launch Delayed Until Spring 2015 http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-bike-share-program-launch-delayed-until-spring-2015 <p>It’s been more than a year since former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Pittsburgh’s <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/plans-bike-share-program-advance-pittsburgh-council">bike share </a>program, with a proposed launch date of spring or summer 2014.</p><p>Spring has come and gone and summer is upon us, so where are the bikes?</p><p>Bart Yavorosky, executive director of Pittsburgh Bike Share, said it’s been a matter of bureaucracy keeping up with technology.</p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Liz Reid 31972 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh Bike Share Program Launch Delayed Until Spring 2015 City Lost More Than $70,000 In Bad Checks In 2013 http://wesa.fm/post/city-lost-more-70000-bad-checks-2013 <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Since 2008, the city of Pittsburgh has lost more than $380,000 from checks returned by banks, due to non-sufficient funds or other problems.</span></p><p>Controller Michael Lamb announced the losses at a press conference Wednesday, saying he had just issued recommendations to the Department of Finance about how to fix the problem.</p><p>Chief among his recommendations: compile a list of all the points of entry for payments by check coming into the city.</p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:12:27 +0000 Liz Reid 31955 at http://wesa.fm City Lost More Than $70,000 In Bad Checks In 2013 As Gas Prices Rise, So Do Numbers of Americans Traveling for Fourth of July http://wesa.fm/post/gas-prices-rise-so-do-numbers-americans-traveling-fourth-july <div>&nbsp;</div><div></div><p>Fourth of July weekend travel is expected to reach pre-recession levels for the first time, even though gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2008.</p><p>AAA is predicting that 41 million Americans will travel at least fifty miles this weekend, a 1.9 percent increase over last year, with 80 percent traveling by car.</p><p>In the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, the number of people traveling to celebrate the holiday is expected increase by 1.3 percent.</p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:10:53 +0000 Liz Reid 31913 at http://wesa.fm As Gas Prices Rise, So Do Numbers of Americans Traveling for Fourth of July County Considers Stricter Regulations on Wood Burning http://wesa.fm/post/county-considers-stricter-regulations-wood-burning <p>Julie Burgo was shocked when she was diagnosed with asthma in her 40s. But she had a hunch of what was causing the disorder: her neighbors’ wood burning fireplace.</p><p>When she approached her neighbors and told them that their habits were negatively affecting her health and the health of her mother, who was undergoing cancer treatment at the time, she said they retaliated with bigger and more frequent fires.</p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 16:31:00 +0000 Liz Reid 31877 at http://wesa.fm County Considers Stricter Regulations on Wood Burning Sen. Casey Looks For Policy Initiatives To Help 'Sandwich Generation' http://wesa.fm/post/sen-casey-looks-policy-initiatives-help-sandwich-generation <p>They’re known as the “sandwich generation:” people simultaneously caring for aging parents and children still living at home.</p><p>They are typically in their 40s and 50s, and according to U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), they’ve been all but ignored by policymakers.</p><p>On Monday, Casey held a hearing in Pittsburgh to learn more about the experiences of people in the “sandwich generation” and to hear from social service and healthcare professionals about potential policy changes that could ease the burden of those caring for both parents and children.</p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 01:02:42 +0000 Liz Reid 31842 at http://wesa.fm Sen. Casey Looks For Policy Initiatives To Help 'Sandwich Generation' From 'Pantry' to 'Kitchen': Transforming the Way Teens Use the Library http://wesa.fm/post/pantry-kitchen-transforming-way-teens-use-library <p>People often think of the library as a place to sit quietly while reading or studying.</p><p>But the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is challenging that stereotype by turning the library into a creative hub for teens.</p><p>It was the second week of June, and Pittsburgh Public Schools had been out of session for two days. And yet, half a dozen teenagers and pre-teens were sitting around a table, enthusiastically engaging in a lesson about ancient Egypt.</p><p>“What do we know about Egypt and why was it such a big deal?” asked Oliva Hric, museum educator with the Carnegie Library of Natural History. “Can you think of anything in the landscape that maybe would make Egypt a really great place to live?”</p><p>“Because they were on the Nile River they could have had a good water supply,” answered 12-year-old Jonathan Freeman, clearly familiar with the concept.</p><p>Freeman and the other teens weren’t at summer school; they were at The Labs at the Carnegie library’s East Liberty branch. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:45:11 +0000 Liz Reid 31504 at http://wesa.fm From 'Pantry' to 'Kitchen': Transforming the Way Teens Use the Library Debt Is Down and Spending Is Up, Says Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb http://wesa.fm/post/debt-down-and-spending-says-pittsburgh-controller-michael-lamb <p>There’s good news and bad news.</p><p>That was the message from city of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb Wednesday, as his office released its <a href="http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/controller/PAFR_2013/index.html">2013 Popular Annual Financial Report</a>. Lamb called the report the “layman’s version” of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was released early this year.</p><p>The good news, said Lamb, is that the difference between the city’s liabilities and its assets shrunk by $4.1 million in 2013, to $423.8 million. In 2007, the gap was close to $600 million.</p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 21:07:09 +0000 Liz Reid 31579 at http://wesa.fm Debt Is Down and Spending Is Up, Says Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb From Data Sharing To Street Paving, Council Proposes Amendments To Act 47 Recovery Plan http://wesa.fm/post/data-sharing-street-paving-council-proposes-amendments-act-47-recovery-plan <p>The city of Pittsburgh is one step closer to approving its third <a href="https://www.pfm.com/uploadedFiles/Content/Knowledge_Center/Whitepapers,_Articles,_Commentary/Commentary/City%20of%20Pittsburgh%20-%202014%20Amended%20Recovery%20Plan.pdf">Act 47 Recovery Plan</a>, after City Council on Wednesday presented and gave preliminary approval to 17 amendments.</p><p>“They don’t impact anything financial,” said council president Bruce Kraus. “They really are more philosophical in nature, more or less, about how we want to plan the next five years.”</p> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 19:13:22 +0000 Liz Reid 31152 at http://wesa.fm County Councilwoman Wants to Explore Privatization of County Nursing Homes http://wesa.fm/post/county-councilwoman-wants-explore-privatization-county-nursing-homes <p>Allegheny County Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh said she was bothered by a recent advertising campaign for the Kane Regional Centers, the county’s assisted care facilities.</p><p>It was that two-year, $187,000 ad campaign that got Heidelbaugh thinking about whether the Kanes could be partially or fully privatized.</p><p>Tuesday evening, Heidelbaugh introduced legislation in County Council to create a working group to study such a possibility.</p> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 02:52:57 +0000 Liz Reid 31104 at http://wesa.fm With 24 Members And 105 Days Left, Public Education Task Force Holds First Meeting http://wesa.fm/post/24-members-and-105-days-left-public-education-task-force-holds-first-meeting <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Pittsburgh’s City Task Force on Public Education is set to hold their first meeting Tuesday evening, a little more than three months before they are expected to present their recommendations to Mayor Bill </span>Peduto<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 19:57:20 +0000 Liz Reid 31087 at http://wesa.fm With 24 Members And 105 Days Left, Public Education Task Force Holds First Meeting Underfunded 9-1-1 Call Centers Will Wait Another Year For Surcharge Hike http://wesa.fm/post/underfunded-9-1-1-call-centers-will-wait-another-year-surcharge-hike <p>More than a year of negotiations has yielded little fruit when it comes to increasing the monthly phone line surcharge that funds 9-1-1 call centers in Pennsylvania.</p><p>Instead, the state Legislature will likely extend the existing surcharge for one year. Land line customers will continue to pay between $1.00-$1.50 each month, while wireless and VOIP customers will pay $1.00/month.</p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 20:49:03 +0000 Liz Reid 31014 at http://wesa.fm Rep. Murphy: Disciplinary Action at Pittsburgh VA Doesn't Go Far Enough http://wesa.fm/post/rep-murphy-disciplinary-action-pittsburgh-va-doesnt-go-far-enough <p>More than 10 months after <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/congressman-murphy-wants-veterans-affairs-rescind-pa-staff-bonuses">U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy wrote</a> to former Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Eric Shinseki asking what disciplinary action would be taken in the wake a Legionella outbreak at a Pittsburgh hospital, he has gotten an answer of sorts.</p><p>On Friday, the VA announced that Pittsburgh Healthcare System director and CEO Terry Wolf was placed on administrative leave, “pending the completion of administrative actions related to the Legionella outbreak.”</p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 16:54:44 +0000 Liz Reid 31000 at http://wesa.fm Rep. Murphy: Disciplinary Action at Pittsburgh VA Doesn't Go Far Enough Head of Pittsburgh VA Hospitals Placed on Administrative Leave http://wesa.fm/post/head-pittsburgh-va-hospitals-placed-administrative-leave <p>The head of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System has been put on administrative leave, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.</p><p>System Director Terry Gerigk Wolf oversaw the healthcare facilities during the <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/congressional-hearing-scrutinizes-preventable-deaths-va-hospitals">Legionella outbreak</a> of 2011 and 2012, which resulted in the deaths of at least six people and sickened more than twenty others.</p> Sun, 15 Jun 2014 15:22:17 +0000 Liz Reid 30955 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh VA Struggles To Compete In 'Eds And Meds' Economy http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-va-struggles-compete-eds-and-meds-economy <p></p><p></p><p>Reports of secret waitlists and preventable deaths at Veteran’s Affairs hospitals in Phoenix have spurred a nationwide audit of VA healthcare facilities.</p><p>The situation in Pittsburgh is not as dire as it is in Phoenix, but the VA facilities here are facing their own unique challenges.</p><p>Southwestern Pennsylvania is home to more than 260,000 veterans and their families, one of the largest concentrations of veterans in the United States.</p> Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:20:21 +0000 Liz Reid 30734 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh VA Struggles To Compete In 'Eds And Meds' Economy Pittsburgh Council Bends Administration's Ear on Public Schools Task Force http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-council-bends-administrations-ear-public-schools-task-force <p>A relatively small spending bill came before City Council Wednesday, but instead of focusing solely on the measure at hand, the legislators used the opportunity to bend the Peduto administration’s ear on the state of public education in Pittsburgh.</p><p>The bill would authorize the city to spend $20,000 to hire Preston C. Green as a mediator for the Mayor’s Public Schools Task Force. The legislation creating the body, which was passed in October and amended in April, requires a “trained mediator who shall serve as an ex officio member.”</p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:14:30 +0000 Liz Reid 30397 at http://wesa.fm