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90.5 WESA Celebrates
3:30 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Paul Abernathy, Serving The Hill District With FOCUS

Paul Abernathy
Credit Debbi Casini Klein / 90.5 WESA

Read and listen to a story about Paul Abernathy as part of a series honoring the individuals who make a difference in people’s lives: 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference.

What looks like an ordinary thrift shop on Centre Avenue in the Hill District is so much more. It’s called FOCUS, the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:05 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Friday Rundown: Mayor Ed Pawlowski on Building a Better Allentown

Downtown Allentown, PA at night.
Credit Lehigh Valley PA / Flickr

These topics air Friday October 24, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski

Pittsburgh is often hailed as a success story of Rust Belt recovery. Despite the lyrics of a certain Billy Joel song, Allentown, PA is also gaining ground as a more broadly based, post-industrial economy. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is in Pittsburgh talking with local officials and sharing his experiences as Mayor of the 3rd largest city in the Commonwealth. He joins us to discuss the moves that Rust Belt cities can make to rebuild their economies in the twenty-first century.

44th Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert

The 44th annual Jazz Seminar and Concert will take place next week. WESA Jazz host Bob Studebaker previews the event with Geri Allen, director of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh. 

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Arts & Culture
5:10 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Social Club For The Weekend Of Oct. 24

Carved pumpkin? Check. Trick-or-treat candy? Check. Costume … well, if you’re anything like Yelp’s Rachel, you might not be quite ready for Halloween just yet. If you’re looking for a diversion, Rachel and 90.5 WESA’s Josh have this week’s happenings to keep you occupied. Listen in for why, “They don't have the quiet dignity of the feline species."

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Business
3:29 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

New Film Studio Aims To Bolster Pittsburgh Film Industry And Struggling Borough

Island Studios President Mike Dolan (far left), Governor Tom Corbett and others break ground on a new film complex that will include a sound proof stage and office space.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has gotten a lot of attention from Hollywood in recent years, with several high-profile films and television shows being shot here. With the help of a new film complex in McKees Rocks, the hope is that the industry will continue to expand.

“We announce the groundbreaking for the region’s first built, newly constructed, multi-stage complex for production of TV shows, commercials and feature films,” said Mike Dolan, president of Island Studios.

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Transportation
3:18 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Major Construction On Route 28 Close To Completion

Route 28 outbound, heading away from the city, will be closed overnight through Saturday as workers begin the final push in a four-year project to streamline the artery that runs along the Allegheny River from the northeast.

The major construction, which eliminated traffic lights and created separate exit and entry lanes for the 31st and 40th street intersections, has meant ever-changing traffic patterns and lots of congestion. This last phase includes adjusting lanes, paving and removing and adding barriers.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:07 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

What's Hot in the Box Office This Fall

Credit Janne Moren / Flickr

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Film Editor Barbara Vancheri discusses the movies "Ouija," "Gone Girl," "The Judge," "Fury," "St. Vincent," and "Birdman." We also talk about Pittsburgh Native, Michael Keaton and how "Birdman" could be a life changing film for his career.

The horror movie “Ouija,” Vancheri says the film might make you even more afraid to use the classic board game referenced in the title. “Gone Girl,” which has been a major success at the cineplex, is full of twists and surprises and has a strong cast. “Fury” is an intense, historical film that takes place at the end of WWII. Also, lookout for "St.Vincent" that is coming out tomorrow the film “Birdman” that Vancheri would describe as brilliant, coming out next week.

Thoughts from Vancheri:

“If you're an adult and you’ve seen something like 'The Exorcist' I don’t think it will make you quake or shake but it seemed to entertain the teens and tweens who were in the audience.” - Vancheri on the movie “Ouija”

"We watched a screening a couple weeks ago and I think two of us used the same word, and that was 'brilliant'."- Vancheri on the movie 'Birdman.'"

Watch the official "Birdman" trailer 

Essential Pittsburgh
2:56 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

State Supreme Court Suspends McCaffery

Credit PA National Guard / Flickr

The state Supreme Court has suspended one of its own, Justice Seamus McCaffery, with pay. The suspension is a response to McCaffery's admitted exchange of sexually explicit emails with people in the state attorney general's office, among other things. 90.5 WESA's capitol correspondent Mary Wilson provides an update from Harrisburg.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:04 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Fall Getaways

Credit Willscrlt / Flickr

Are you feeling an overwhelming need to get away? Would a quick autumnal excursion sate your wanderlust? This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests five quick fall getaways.

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Employment
1:19 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Job Market in Pittsburgh Slowly Improves While State Falters

While the rate of job growth in Pennsylvania sits dead last among states in the U.S., the numbers in Pittsburgh are a bit more optimistic, according to recent studies by the Keystone Research Center and PittsburghTODAY.

The Greater Pittsburgh area added 7,500 jobs from September 2013 to September 2014, a 0.6 percent increase. Pennsylvania, ranked 50th for job growth since January 2011, lost 9,600 jobs in September alone.

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Domestic Violence Bill
1:04 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Bill Protecting 9-1-1 Domestic Abuse Calls on Governor's Desk

The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously agreed-- victims of a crime should never be punished for seeking help.

House Bill 1796 intends to rectify what some see as problematic housing ordinances in at least 23 Pennsylvania municipalities that discourage multiply calls to emergency personnel. Currently these municipalities allow land lords to evict renters who call 9-1-1 seeking help more than three times in four months.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:14 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Fall Films and Filming in the Steel City

Credit Work the Angles / Flickr

These topics air Thursday October 23, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

State Supreme Court Suspends McCaffery

The state Supreme Court has suspended one of its own, Justice Seamus McCaffery, with pay. The suspension is a response to McCaffery's admitted exchange of sexually explicit emails with people in the state attorney general's office, among other things. 90.5 WESA's capitol correspondent Mary Wilson will have the latest from Harrisburg.

Fall Movie Reviews

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Film Editor Barbara Vancheri discusses the movies "Ouija," "Gone Girl," "The Judge," "Fury," "St, Vincent," and "Birdman," as well as movies being filmed, or about to be filmed, in Pittsburgh. She says it's been a remarkable year for movies being shot in and around Pittsburgh.

Five Quick Fall Getaways

Are you feeling an overwhelming need to get away? Would a quick autumnal excursion sate your wanderlust? This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests five quick fall getaways. 

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Government & Politics
5:02 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Cities Reconsider Gun Laws, Anticipating Court Battles

Pennsylvania cities will have about two months to scrap local gun restrictions that could leave them open to lawsuits under a state proposal headed for the governor's signature.

The measure gives gun owners and groups like the National Rifle Association standing to sue municipalities (and collect attorney fees) over gun ordinances that go beyond state law.

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Education
4:42 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

800 Pittsburgh Promise Graduates Working In The City

With 5,200 students benefiting from the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship fund in the last six years and more than $140 million dollars raised toward a $250 million goal, Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril is pleased with the progress.

The numbers were announced as part of the program’s annual report to the community release Wednesday. 

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Health
2:43 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Children’s Hospital to Expand, With Taxpayer Help

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC will soon begin a 5 year, $19 million expansion project.
Credit Flickr user Michael Goodin

According to Diane Hupp, chief nursing officer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the neonatal unit at the hospital is running out of space.

“Five years ago, we had 31 neonatal beds. Today, we have over 60 neonates in the hospital and we are busting at the seams,” Hupp said.

That’s one of the challenges caused by the hospital’s rapid growth since its relocation to Lawrenceville in 2009, a challenge that administrators hope can be overcome with a $19 million expansion project announced Wednesday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:11 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Social Media and the Gubernatorial Election

Screen shots of the twitter profiles for Candidates Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf
Credit Tom Corbett/Tom Wolf Campaigns / Twitter

Do Governor Corbett and his challenger Tom Wolf have as many followers on Twitter and Facebook as their campaigns would lead you to believe? We’ll look at the role social media is playing in this year’s gubernatorial election with Pittsburgh Tribune Review reporter Andrew Conte.

Essential Pittsburgh
2:00 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

The Buhl Planetarium's 75th Anniversary Celebration

This is a 1939 photo of an audience watching a planetarium show with the Zeiss II Star Projector in Berlin, Germany. Zeiss II is the type of projector originally installed at the Buhl Planetarium.
Credit German Federal Archive

Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium opened to great fanfare in October of 1939. The Buhl's Zeiss II Planetarium Projector was the first such projector to be placed on an elevator, and the Theatre of the Stars was the first planetarium theatre to include a permanent theatrical stage and a special sound system for the hearing-impaired.

We talk with Glenn Walsh, Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss, and Former Astronomical Observatory Coordinator and Planetarium Lecturer for the Original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in Pittsburgh.

Government & Politics
1:30 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Commission Gathers Feedback For Basic Education Funding Formula

A commission charged with examining the state’s basic education funding formula heard from a number of education officials at an Allegheny County hearing this week.

“The message is clear that we need to come up, as a commission, with a fair, equitable and transparent way to distribute education investment throughout the commonwealth,” said Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington), one of 15 commission members.

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Autism
10:58 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Autism Linked to Air Pollution Exposure

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh think they have found a link between prenatal and early life exposure to air pollution and autism.  The study focused on 217 families with children on the autism spectrum. 

Autism now affects one in 68 children in America.  That is up nearly 800 percent in the last 20 years. Principal investigator Evelyn Talbott said her research found exposure to increased levels of chromium and styrene increased the risk of autism by 1.4 to two times. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:49 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Celebrating the Birthday of the Original Buhl Projector

Zeiss Model II Star Projector
Credit Photojunkie / wikipedia

These topics air Wednesday October 22, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between noon & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Social Media and the Gubernatorial Election

Do Governor Corbett and his challenger Tom Wolf have as many followers on Twitter and Facebook as their campaigns would lead you to believe? We’ll look at the role social media is playing in this year’s gubernatorial election with reporter Andrew Conte.

Buhl Planetarium 75th Anniversary

Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium opened to great fanfare in October of 1939. The Buhl's Zeiss II Planetarium Projector was the first such projector to be placed on an elevator, and the Theatre of the Stars was the first planetarium theatre to include a permanent theatrical stage and a special sound system for the hearing-impaired. We'll talk with Glenn Walsh, Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss, and Former Astronomical Observatory Coordinator and Planetarium Lecturer for the Original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in Pittsburgh. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:24 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Coping and Investing in a Volatile Market

Credit Perpetual Tourist / Flickr

The American economy has experienced gradual improvements in the 6 years since the 2008 market collapse. But for many investors, memories of those economic losses are still raw.

Throughout the last month, the volatility of global politics has affected the stock market with disconcerting spikes and dips.

Financial planners such as Paul Brahim, Chairman and CEO of BPU investment firm and a member of the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Financial Planning Association, are faced with concerned investors who want to know what they’re in for. He joins us to talk about the causes of the latest market volatility and how best to react.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:19 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

An in depth Discussion of Flight 93 with Author Tom McMillian

Credit Mike Renlund / Flickr

The book "Flight 93: the Story, the Aftermath and the Legacy of American Courage on 9/11" is an in-depth look at the events and people involved in the United Airlines plane that crashed in Shanksville, PA. Joining us to discuss this detailed account is journalist Tom McMillan. Regarding the recent news of a fire at the Flight 93 memorial, McMillan explains that fortunately the damage was minimal, and no one was injured. 

He later talks about his research process for his book and what makes this story interesting. 

"... This wasn't New York City, it wasn't Washington D.C. I was fascinated about how this story was different because it was in small town America." - Tom McMillan 

Essential Pittsburgh
5:16 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

The Business of Fair Trade with Rebecca Harris

A Ten Thousand Villages employee arranges handcrafted scarves at the annual Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale.
Credit 12 5 12 Ten Thousand Villages POTD - Penn State / Flickr

Fair trade is a win-win proposition for nations and their citizens. According to contributor Rebecca Harris there’s a great deal of it available here in the city. This week Ms. Harris looks at the business of fair trade. Harris explains that fair trade means there’s an ethical partnership between consumers and producers around the world intended to create equity.

Principles include a minimum price for farmers’ goods, pre harvest credit, fair labor conditions, direct trade, democratic and transparent organizations, avoiding chemicals and GMOs, and so on. The latest trends in fair trade, Harris explains, include stores like Ten Thousand Villages, more fairtrade products in mainstream apparel stores, and so on. But in order for the fair trade movement to grow, consumer demand needs to expand. 

Government & Politics
4:35 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

New Commissary And Post Exchange Open In Moon Township

It’s been nine years since the Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Oakdale was slated for closure, a move that could have left 168,000 veterans and active duty military personnel in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio without a commissary or post exchange nearby.

Pennsylvania delegates in Congress, including Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and Representatives Tim Murphy, Mike Doyle and others have been pushing for a replacement facility ever since.

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Government & Politics
4:21 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Animal Rights Bill Dies In State Legislature

Pigeon shoots can live on in Pennsylvania, and cats and dogs can still be eaten in the privacy of your own home.

That’s the state of affairs now that state lawmakers have left town without passing a state proposal banning both activities.

A House bill banning only the slaughter of dogs and cats for private human consumption began its legislative life with unanimous support last year.

Things got complicated.

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Life of Learning
2:32 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

More Allegheny County Kids In After-School Programs, But Service Gaps Still Exist

Students at the after-school program at Assemble in Garfield learn how to build video game controllers.
Credit Courtesy of Assemble

There’s good news and there’s bad news when it comes to after-school programs in Allegheny County.

The good news is that more children than ever are participating in after-school and out-of-school-time programs: 10.2 million nationwide and 52,646 in Allegheny County, according to a new report from the Afterschool Alliance. That puts the national participation rate at 18 percent, while Allegheny County’s participation rate is much higher at 28 percent.

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Economy & Business
2:04 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Partnership Seeks to Fill Jobs Gap in Oil and Gas Industry

A recent survey of 37 energy companies in southwestern Pennsylvania found some 7,000 jobs will need to be filled between now and 2020, jobs that are critical to ongoing operations.

That’s according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which conducted the survey. CEO Dennis Yablonsky said with more than 1,000 energy companies in the greater region, the job needs are likely much higher. The problem is finding enough skilled workers to fill those jobs.

Enter the Appalachia Partnership Initiative.

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Election 2014
1:05 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Bill Clinton To Campaign In Pennsylvania For Wolf

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Pittsburgh to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf.

The Wolf campaign said Clinton will lead a mid-day rally Monday at an electrical workers' union hall on Pittsburgh's South Side. Wolf is challenging Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election bid.

Clinton is the third political celebrity to campaign for Wolf in as many weeks, following separate appearances in Philadelphia by his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and first lady Michelle Obama.

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Prisons
12:21 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Life Means Death For Thousands Of PA Prisoners

Credit Illustration by Anita Dufalla / PublicSource

Death in prison is not rare.

In Pennsylvania, one in 10 inmates is sentenced to life in prison. Because state law gives them no possibility of parole, nearly all of more than 5,300 inmates serving life terms will eventually die inside prison walls.

“They have no choice but to age and die in place,” said Julia Hall, a criminal justice professor and gerontologist at Drexel University.

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Public Safety
8:10 am
Tue October 21, 2014

This Wednesday, Don't Forget To Thank Your Neighborhood Crossing Guard

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” goes the old Postal Service creed, but that phrase could just as easily be applied to Pittsburgh’s crossing guards.

Bike Pittsburgh wants you to show some gratitude to those neon-clad guardians of city crosswalks this Wednesday on Crossing Guard Appreciation Day.

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Public Safety
8:00 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Scenic Pittsburgh Director Asks PA Legislators To Regulate Billboards For Highway Safety

In 2008, billboards adjacent to a suburban highway in Israel were covered up, and accidents were analyzed compared to data from 2006 and 2007, when the billboards were visible. 

There was a significant decrease in the number of total accidents and in accidents with injuries. Damage-only accidents were not significantly affected.

Mike Dawida, executive director of Scenic Pittsburgh, has sent a letter asking Pennsylvania state legislators to make Pennsylvania highways safer by regulating billboards. 

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