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Essential Pittsburgh
9:24 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Voices of the Catholic Church in Pittsburgh and NFL to LGBTQ

Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Wednesday April 16, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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Economy & Business
3:30 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

The Business of Summer Camp, from Architecture to Arts & Crafts

Summer camps give kids structure during their off time from school, and lets them learn and grow while making new friends.
Credit Adrián Merinero Sánchez / flickr

While winter is hardly a distant memory, it’s time to start making summer plans. If summer camp is in your child’s future, contributor Rebecca Harris says now is the time to sign-up. This week she focused on the business of summer camps.

More than six million children attend summer camps each year, and there are many different options. There are day camps, sleep away camps and even summer camps for adults. Rebecca has suggested just a few to check out before sessions fill up.

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Public Safety
3:10 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

As Wounds Heal, Students Return To Franklin Regional High School

Classes will resume Wednesday at Franklin Regional High School, one week after stabbing incident left more than 20 wounded.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A few of the most critically wounded in last Wednesday’s stabbing incident at Franklin Regional High School remain hospitalized. As they continue to heal, students, faculty and staff will return to a normal schedule Wednesday.

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Fracking
2:57 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Mars Parents Want Two-Mile Fracking Buffer

The fight over placing a nonconventional gas well about a half-mile from five Mars Area School District schools has moved out of the district’s boardroom and into the boardrooms of a pair of local townships.

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Health Insurance
2:48 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Allegheny County Commits to Highmark Through 2015

Allegheny County employees no longer have to wonder about their health care options for 2015.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced Tuesday that the county will exclusively retain Highmark for health care coverage through December 31st, 2015 - even if Highmark and UPMC are unable to reach an agreement.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:30 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

PSO Violinist to Bring Pittsburgh Love to Boston Marathon

Susanne Park will join her sister Irene in this year's Boston Marathon. She'll be running for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Last weekend, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violinist Susanne Park held a benefit to raise money for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.

The institution was key in helping victims of the Boston Marathon bombings last year. This year, Park has gathered donations from local businesses to help the cause. Her sister ran in the marathon last year and she said she tracked her sister’s progress in the race until everything suddenly stopped.

Park's sister was one of the many runners unable to contact family for hours amidst the chaos.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Why These Pittsburgh Marathon Runners Are Returning To Boston

Joe Myers and Karen Harr both ran the Boston Marathon last year and plan to return again this year.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

 

When Joe Myers and Karen Harr began the Boston Marathon one year ago, neither of them expected to be a part of the chaos following the bombings at the finish line.

After two explosions detonated on Boylston Street, many runners found themselves stranded in the masses. Myers, who had not yet finished the marathon, remembers the crowds of confused people in front of him.

He was unable to contact his family, but eventually returned to the hotel of a fellow runner. Despite the scare, he plans to return to Boston this year and finish what he started.

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Business
12:09 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

New Owners Offer Buyouts To Pittsburgh Heinz Staff

The new owners of H.J. Heinz Co. have offered buyouts to all 775 workers in Pittsburgh, where the ketchup-and-food giant has been based for decades, but says the move doesn't signal a plan to move the company's headquarters.

Instead, Heinz officials say the buyout is being offered because the new owners Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital — a Brazilian investment firm — recognize the company's new culture might not be "the perfect fit" for long-time Pittsburgh-based employees.

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Government & Politics
12:02 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Tavern Gaming Glitch May Have Cooled Expansion Efforts

State lawmakers may be skittish about bridging budget gaps with any more expansions of gambling, due to a so-far failed attempt to bring in big bucks from tavern gambling.

Late last year, as state coffers were looking empty, lawmakers floated ideas of expanding gambling to fill shortfalls.

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Environment & Energy
11:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

DCNR Natural Gas Advisory Committee to Discuss Development on State Forest Land

An advisory committee tasked with helping the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources manage natural gas drilling on state land will meet for the third time.

The Natural Gas Advisory Committee (NGAC) will cover two major issues in its April meeting.

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Government & Politics
9:45 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Obama, Biden To Speak In Oakdale Wednesday

The president and vice president will be in western Pennsylvania on Wednesday to talk about job training.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to speak at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale on "jobs-driven skills training in a 21st century economy."

The visit was originally scheduled to be held at Leetsdale about 15 miles away, but officials said the community college could better accommodate the event.

City Government
7:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Land Bank Legislation Passes in Pittsburgh City Council

Nearly 8,000 parcels of land are estimated to be abandoned in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Land Bank is meant to streamline the process of selling such properties and putting them back to productive use.
Credit Flickr user MichaelGoodin

After three months of community meetings, disagreements, and compromises, Pittsburgh City Council passed Councilwoman Deb Gross’s land bank legislation Monday morning.

Councilmen Ricky Burgess and Daniel Lavelle have had the greatest concerns about the land bank proposal, but both voted in favor of the legislation.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:52 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Pittsburgh Marathon Runners Return to Boston

Marathon runners from Pittsburgh talk about going back to Boston for this year's race.
Credit BorisKasimov / flickr

These topics air Tuesday April 15, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here

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Education
7:12 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Pittsburgh Promise Grows Closer To Its Goal

Since 2008, the Pittsburgh Promise made a pledge to pay for the higher education of city high school residents, and this past week it reached the 70 percent mark in raising the money it needs.

But to continue the program for the next 30 years the organization would have to raise $250 million, and so far it has collected $173 million.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:22 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Is MyPath 101 a New Path to Success?

MyPath101 was created in part because less than 32% of college students graduate within four year.
Credit Jessie Jacobson / Flickr

According to the Princeton Review fifty percent of college students change their major at least once. A Pittsburgh company has developed an app called MyPath101 to help students graduate on time.

Rachel Gogos, CEO of MyPath101, described the app in 3 parts.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:09 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Think Before You Post: Mainstream Media's Increasing Reliance on Social Media

What should people be thinking before they post photos or updates to their social media accounts?
Credit Pat Williams / Flickr

 

As national media reports about the attacks at Franklin Regional High School began to unfold last week, a story of one of the injured victims taking a selfie from the hospital quickly went viral and prompted a range of reactions. Was the student showing off or simply communicating to his circle of friends?

Gordon Mitchell and Brent Malin, University of Pittsburgh associate professors of communication talked with us about the importance of media literacy and the evolving relevance of social media in our lives and in mainstream news.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:46 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Is Video Replay in Major League Baseball Worth the Wait?

A challenge flag is thrown, the Major League Baseball officials talk to the coach who throws it, and one official goes to a screen and reviews the play. The official comes back and rules the runner out at first base.

That scene can and did happen at the Pirates' opening day Major League Baseball game, thanks to new rule changes that have increased the use of video replay in umpiring.

Are all of these replays really necessary or is it not worth the price of slowing down the game? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak has covered the Pirates for many years and shared his opinion on the hot topic.

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Act 47 Overhaul
3:26 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Sen Teplitz: Get Out and Stay Out of Act 47

Act 47 was introduced by the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1987 as a means of helping financially distressed cities recover and avoid bankruptcy. 27 years later, several municipalities that were placed under Act 47 oversight have never rebounded.

State Senator Rob Teplitz (D – Dauphin) hopes stronger legislation would help these municipalities have their distressed status removed, while at the same time preventing other municipalities from entering Act 47.

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Health
2:51 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council Says Ban On Blood Donations From Gay Men Is Discriminatory

Dan Burda (center) smiles after receiving the Will of Council resolution. Also pictured are Councilman Dan Gilman (left) and Dan Burda's mother, Lorraine Burda (right).
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgher Dan Burda’s partner of eight years, Rohn, passed away from a heart attack this year. Like many families of the recently deceased, Burda and his loved ones wanted to donate Rohn’s skin, tissue and organs to someone who needed them.

But they were not allowed to do that because of a long-standing FDA ban on such donations from any man who has had sex with a man.

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Philanthropy
2:31 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Heinz Endowments Names Grant Oliphant New President

Grant Oliphant has been named president of the Heinz Endowments. He currently heads the Pittsburgh Foundation.
Credit Heinz Endowments

The Pittsburgh-based Heinz Endowments has named Grant Oliphant as the charity's new president.

Oliphant previously spent more than 10 years with the Heinz Endowments in various senior management roles before spending the last six years as chief executive officer of another charity, the Pittsburgh Foundation.

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Fires
2:02 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Wildfire Prevention Season in Pennsylvania

April showers bring May flowers, yet April is one of the worst months for wildfires in Pennsylvania. 

Mid-March through Mid-May is designated as fire prevention season in Pennsylvania. Terry Brady of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) said there were easily more than 100 wildfires in Pennsylvania .

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Public Safety
9:43 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Teachers Return To Franklin Regional; Critically Wounded Student Improves

The doors are reopening at the Murrysville high school where 21 students and a security guard were injured in a stabbing rampage five days ago.

Teachers will return to work Monday at Franklin Regional School District. Students will be able to visit the school with their families on Tuesday and classes will resume Wednesday, a week after the attack.

Authorities say 16-year-old Alex Hribal attacked his fellow students at the school with a pair of kitchen knives. He faces four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Groups Mobilize Against Senate Proposal To Eliminate School Property Taxes

Groups opposed to a plan to eliminate school property taxes are mobilizing in an effort to neutralize a looming threat.

The spokesman for the Republican Senator Majority Leader says some kind of response to property tax concerns is planned for this spring.

One plan would replace the property tax levied by school districts with higher sales and personal income taxes.

Sharon Ward, head of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, said that would do more harm than good in the eyes of businesses, schools, and advocates for the poor.

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Clean Air Act
3:30 am
Mon April 14, 2014

DEP Urges EPA To Change Clean Air Act

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed what it believes to be a “win-win” situation for the environment and existing power plants.

The DEP has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for more state flexibility when it comes to carbon dioxide emission standards for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants in competitive energy markets and a change in how pollutants are measured.

The DEP wants to make some changes to the New Source Review (NSR) provisions under the Clean Air Act.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon April 14, 2014

State Senate Passes 'Kelsey Smith Act'

The Pennsylvania Senate Tuesday approved a measure that could change the way law enforcement officials use cell phones to locate missing people.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny/Butler) would require wireless providers to locate the cell phones of missing people at the request of police, bypassing the subpoena process.

Vulakovich said the bill would allow police to get the information they need almost immediately.

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