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Essential Pittsburgh
5:24 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Poor Health: As the Region's Healthcare Industry Grows, Charitable Care is Hard to Find

With eleven Pittsburgh hospitals closing in the first decade of the 21st century, it's becoming even more difficult for people to get all healthcare aspects in one place.
Credit Connor Tarter / Flickr

One quarter of Pittsburgh area hospitals closed in the first decade of the 21st Century, drastically reducing the amount of charitable care available to the poor. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Sean Hamill looks at the implications in his two-part series "Poor Health."

Hamill spent a good deal of time speaking to people in clinic waiting rooms, he says while these people know where they can possibly see a doctor, they are only seen for five minutes. Hamill says hospitals were not like this years ago.

“The big advantage to the hospitals that existed before they were torn down…was, once you came in for something more severe than a cold, it might require some specialty care, some diagnostics care, you could get that all within the same hospital. They would keep you there, they would do the triage you required through an emergency room, but they would also make sure you got that next level of care.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:13 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

College Students Still Struggling with Math and Writing

Studies show freshmen are still struggling with math and writing skills upon entering college.
Credit Scott Akerman / Flickr

A great deal of concern is given to young children being ready to learn once they begin attending elementary school. But what happens when those children grow up and are ready to attend college?

A study by the U.S. Department of Education finds one in four college freshmen lack reading and math skills for entry level-college work. This results in students needing to take at least one noncredit remedial class.

California University of Pennsylvania is working to reduce the amount of remedial help needed by students. Daniel Engstrom, associate provost in the Office of Academic Success at California University of Pennsylvania explains why more and more students are coming into college unprepared.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:06 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Bad Behavior in Sports: What Can Be Done?

Ray Rice is facing a two game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
Credit Keith Allison / Flickr

Bad behavior in sports might seem to be running rampant these days. With the two-game suspension given to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic violence, many believe the sentence should have been stiffer.

Also, considering some of the bad behavior carried out by Russia, are they fit to host the 2018 World Cup? John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism at Penn State discussed recent bad behavior in sports.

In regards to backlash over only a two game suspension for Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, Affleck says it’s all about how the NFL approaches punishment.

“Roger Goodell has sort of divided things into sort of two frames of references. One is punishments for things that hurt the game, hurt competitiveness. The NFL is fairly consistent when it comes to things like that. It’s things like drug use,” Affleck explains.

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Public Safety
2:59 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Overall Crime Dropped in Pittsburgh in 2013, But Homicides and Rapes Increased

The overall crime rate in Pittsburgh for 2013 was reduced by 6.6 percent over 2012, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety. The drop is credited, primarily, to a decrease in property crimes.

Violent crime is down by 2.6 percent, but when broken down into categories, all violent crime categories, except for robbery, increased. Robbery dropped 15.8 percent over 2012.

The number of rapes is up, but a news release from the Department of Public Safety attributed the rise to the inclusion of male victims in the Uniform Crime Reporting definition of rape.  

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Car Rebate
2:48 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Alternative Fuel Car Rebates Extended

Electric cars have come a long way from having short ranges, and a wimpy top speed of 40 miles per hour. Now many electric cars can go upwards of 130mph, have a range of 250 miles, and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is trying to get more motorists to purchase one.

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Economy & Business
2:47 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

City Councilman Gilman Looking for Ways to Support Small Businesses

City Councilman Dan Gilman is considering a joint marketing campaign to promote Pittsburgh's neighborhood business districts, such as Walnut Street in Shadyside.
Credit Flickr user jmd41280

Roberta Weissburg has been designing, repairing, and selling leather goods in Pittsburgh for over 30 years.

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.

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Community
10:57 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Group Honors Third Kennywood Coaster as 'Landmark'

The group American Coaster Enthusiasts has named the Thunderbolt a "Coaster Landmark" — the third roller coaster to be so recognized at the Kennywood amusement park near Pittsburgh.

Kennywood is now the only park in the United States with three coaster landmarks.

The group founded in 1978 has honored 30 coaster landmarks nationwide since 2002.

Kennywood's Jack Rabbit and Racer roller coasters were previously honored as landmarks by the group. All three are traditional roller coasters with wooden frames and tracks.

Environment
4:30 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Illegal TV Dumping on the Rise in Pittsburgh

Along with pop bottles and cigarette butts, another big name is joining the roadside trash Pantheon, televisions.

In January 2013 the Covered Device Recycling Act became effective across Pennsylvania. The law made it illegal for municipal trash collectors to pick up devices such as TVs, computers, and even keyboards. The purpose of the law was to rid landfills of harmful materials usually found in these devices including cadmium, beryllium, and lead.

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Agriculture
3:54 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Pennsylvania's Farmland Preservation Program Leads Nation

Cows graze at Manchester-Farms in Washington County.
Credit Kee Won Song / Special to 90.5 WESA

Agriculture is the leading economic enterprise in Pennsylvania.  Between 1982 and 1997, over a million acres were developed and converted to other uses—the equivalent of 209 acres a day.  In 1988, the state instituted a program to help slow the loss of prime farmland.

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Economy & Business
3:38 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Passenger Traffic Continues To Fall At Pittsburgh International Airport

Pittsburgh International Airport added three new flights this year with hopes of increasing passenger traffic, but according to airport reports, the number of passengers rolling through Pittsburgh has dropped 21 percent since 2006.

Eight years ago, 9,949,049 passengers traveled through the airport. In 2013, that number has fallen to 7,854,181.

Ashley Henry Shook, an Allegheny County Airport Authority board member, said the numbers tend to fluctuate throughout the year.

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Government & Politics
3:36 am
Mon July 28, 2014

State Lawmaker: Pay Up Or Lose Your Driver's License

Pennsylvanians owe $1 billion in unpaid fines and court costs, and a state lawmaker wants the scofflaws to pay up or lose their driver’s license and have any wages and lottery winnings attached.

State Senator Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) has introduced two bills to pressure individuals to pay the fines, fees and delinquent costs they owe.  Under SB 918 PennDOT would “suspend your driver’s license.  If your driver’s license was about to expire, they wouldn’t renew it,” said Stack.

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Courts
3:31 am
Mon July 28, 2014

PA Court Records to Enter 21st Century

Currently most Pennsylvanians who want to see court records and documents have to look at them on microfilm or microfiche.

“We’ve always got to look at ways we can modernize government,” says State Senator Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) as he noted Governor Corbett’s signing into law his court modernizing proposal that he says will save tax dollars and give the public easier access to court records.

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Revenge Porn
3:27 am
Mon July 28, 2014

PA Revenge Porn Ban Leaves Advocates Skeptical

A national advocacy group is calling Pennsylvania’s new anti-revenge porn law inadequate.

Revenge porn refers to nude or sexual images shared without permission of the person pictured. It has been called “intimate partner harassment” by state lawmakers, but legal experts say it might be more broadly called “non-consensual porn” – something that isn’t restricted to spurned lovers posting photos of ex-girlfriends online.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:01 pm
Sun July 27, 2014

Monday Rundown: Addressing Healthcare Needs of the Poor

One of the new emergency patient rooms at UPMC East, in Monroeville.
Credit Daveynin / Flickr

These topics air Monday July 28, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Poor Health

One quarter of Pittsburgh area hospitals closed in the first decade of the 21st Century, drastically reducing the amount of charitable care available to the poor. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Sean Hamill joins us to discuss his two-part series examining this problem called "Poor Health." 

Colleges Take on Student's Remedial Needs

A great deal of concern is given to young children being ready to learn once they begin attending elementary school. But what happens when those children grow up and are ready to attend college? A study by the U.S. Department of Education finds one in four college freshmen lack reading and math skills for entry level-college work. This results in students needing to take at least one noncredit remedial class. We’ll discover how California University of Pennsylvania is working to reduce the amount of remedial help needed by students with Daniel Engstrom, associate provost in the Office of Academic Success at California University of Pennsylvania.

More Bad Behavior in Sports

John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism at Penn State joins us to discuss recent bad behavior in sports, including the two-game suspension given to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic violence. Many believe the sentence should have been stiffer. Also, considering some of the bad behavior carried out by Russia, are they fit to host the 2018 World Cup?

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From PublicSource
3:30 am
Sun July 27, 2014

Thousands of Disabled Workers in PA Paid Far Below Minimum Wage

Autumn Self, a 26-year-old blind woman, sorts papers at the Westmoreland County Blind Association in Greensburg. She's worked for below minimum wage there for six years. "I think this is the only job I could have," she said.
Credit Martha Rial / PublicSource

About 13,000 disabled Pennsylvanians are earning an average of $2.40 an hour in a legal use of subminimum wages.

The majority work almost solely with other disabled people, in a world tucked away from the mainstream labor market.

They’re given menial tasks, like folding boxes, shredding paper or packing mail inserts.

Since 1986, there has been no limit to how little they can be paid. And even the federal government, which issues the certificates that allow employers to pay subminimum wages, doesn’t track the hourly earnings of the workers.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:37 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Increasing Noise and Less Silence Could Be Causing Unconscious Stress

The Wonder Boys of "I Wonder PGH," Ellis Robinson and Daniel Tkacik.
Credit Marcus Charleston / WESA

From annoying ringtones to everyday noise pollution, it seems like our world is getting noisier. The Wonder Boys, Ellis Robinson and Daniel Tkacik of “I Wonder PGH,” went in search of an answer. Their findings are revealed in a thrilling installment of the Mysteries of Pittsburgh. They wondered, was it this hard to find silent spaces 50 or even 100 years ago?

Robinson and Tkacik spoke with author George Prochnik, who answered this question with the research he has done for his latest book, The Pursuit of Silence.

“It can be difficult to make the argument that things are noisier in the sense that everywhere there are higher volumes today than there were in the past. At the same time, there’s not necessarily more noise everywhere, there’s less silence.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:22 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Can Denying Hearing Loss Affect Your Job?

Using earplugs in loud situations reduces damage done to your hearing, which can build up over time.
Credit chrissylong / Flickr

A new research survey by EPIC Hearing Healthcare finds that 30 percent of U.S. employees suspect they have hearing loss, but have not sought treatment.

Of those, almost 95 percent say it impacts them on the job yet many go out of their way to hide their hearing loss for fear of losing their job.

Pittsburgh audiologist, Dr. Suzanne Yoder says preconceived notions about hearing loss is what hinders most people from getting the help they need.

“Hearing loss unfortunately has that bad reputation where people feel like if they admit they have a hearing problem, they’re going to be seen as being old, which is something that they don’t want. Or, they’ll be seen as less capable, that their employer will think less of them, or treat them differently, maybe not give them that promotion. The sad thing is, it’s actually the reverse. You treat your hearing loss and you deal with the issues, you’re more likely to earn a better living. There’s research to back that up, that shows there’s a loss of salary for those with untreated hearing loss. It’s extremely important to go out and start dealing with it and not bluffing your way through conversations. The reality is, when you bluff, when you pretend, you end up looking worse.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:08 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

AFL Quarterback Tommy Grady: A Real "Power" Player

Pittsburgh Power quarterback Tommy Grady is leading the team to its best season in recent years.
Credit Jeffrey Gamza / Pittsburgh Power

The Pittsburgh Power, the city’s professional arena football team, are having their best season, ever. They’re undefeated at home at Consol Energy Center and just clinched their first-ever playoff berth. While they don’t get as much recognition as the Steelers, what is life like for the men who play in the arena league?

Tommy Grady is the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Power and says the differences between the two leagues are vast.

“The game of arena football is a lot quicker, the field’s about half the size. We play on that hard turf, which is pretty hard on our bodies. The biggest thing is the speed and quickness of the game. A lot of guys have played in the NFL before, and it’s hard to adjust to the game.”

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Community
3:53 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Cheetahs Make Debut At Pittsburgh Zoo

Two of the cheetahs prepare to leave their temporary habitat.
90.5 WESA's Michael Lynch

Ajamu, Ramses, Nalah and Zola arrived in the U.S. from Africa more than six months ago, but today, the four young cheetahs made their first public appearance at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

The cats moved slowly from their temporary habitat into their new 7,500 square-foot enclosure next to the African Overlook. But within minutes, the world’s fastest land animals showed just how quick they can be, sprinting their way around the new surroundings.

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Immigrant Children in Emsworth
2:26 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Physician: Disease in Immigrant Children Not a Concern in Emsworth

Since October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been taken into custody by U.S. border agents according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Holy Family Institute’s announcement that it will take in about three dozen of these children has been met mostly with backlash from the Pittsburgh region.

According to Holy Family, the children are under the age of 12, which the institute stated makes up about 20 percent of the migrating children.

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Witness identification
10:43 am
Fri July 25, 2014

DA Wants Pittsburgh Police To Change Eyewitness ID Procedures

Prosecutors must approve felony arrest warrants issued by Pittsburgh police because of concerns expressed by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala over the bureau’s eyewitness identification procedures.

In a letter to city officials, Zappala wrote that Pittsburgh police must adopt eyewitness identification procedures outlined by the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association by August 16. If not, eyewitnesses might be used to establish a suspect, but the information provided could not be used to charge an individual.

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90.5 WESA Celebrates
3:41 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Dr. Bill Neches, Hosting Heart Camp for Kids

Dr. Bill Neches
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Read and listen to a story about Dr. Bill Neches and the Heart Camp for Kids as part of a series honoring the individuals who make a difference in people’s lives: 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference.

For one special week, Camp Kon-o-Kwee is taken over by a group of very excited campers.  

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STEAM Innovation
3:30 am
Fri July 25, 2014

From Building Solar-Powered Mini-Cars to Creating Apps in the Classroom

Teachers at the STEAM Innovation Summer Institute at South Fayette School District work with littleBits to bring engineering into their K-4 classrooms
Credit Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Summer camp — it’s not just for kids anymore. 

Teachers from around the Pittsburgh area and from as far away as Alabama this week attended the STEAM Innovation Summer Institute at South Fayette Intermediate School to learn how to embed robotics, computational thinking and game design into their curricula.  

Amidst lights flashing  and lots of beeps, elementary school teachers are playing with, or rather experimenting with, littleBits — tiny circuit boards engineered to snap together with magnets.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:51 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Friday Rundown: Has the World Gotten Louder?

Are we exposed to higher decibels than previous generations?
Credit Nick Allen / Flickr

These topics air Friday July 25, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Is the World Getting Noisier?

From annoying ring tones to everyday noise pollution, doesn’t it seem like our world is noisier? Our Wonder Boys, Ellis Robinson and Daniel Tkacik, went in search of an answer. Their findings are revealed in this thrilling installment of the Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

Hearing Loss/Job Discrimination

A new research survey by EPIC Hearing Healthcare finds that 30 percent of U.S. employees suspect they have hearing loss, but have not sought treatment. Of those, almost 95 percent say it impacts them on the job yet many go out of their way to hide their hearing loss for fear of losing their job. Pittsburgh audiologist, Dr. Suzanne Yoder is our guest.

Power Player

The Pittsburgh Power, the city’s professional arena football team, are having their best season, ever. They’re undefeated at home and just clinched their first-ever playoff berth. While they don’t get as much recognition as the Steelers, what is life like for the men who play in the arena league? We’ll pose that question to Tommy Grady, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Power, join us in Studio A. 

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Pittsburgh Zoo Summer Safari
6:14 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of July 25th

For the podcast this weekend, 90.5 WESA’s Josh and Yelp’s Rachel ask the deep questions: What's your favorite animal, and are meerkats related to cats?

Of course, the Social Club has some suggestions for how to spend your weekend beyond these animal-related inquiries. Listen in for why, “Adults and face painting don’t often go together, but I think whiskey maybe is the missing ingredient there.”

This week’s happenings:

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