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Essential Pittsburgh
9:50 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Cracking Down on Cyber Crime

U.S. Attorney David Hickton talks about what it takes to fight cyber crime.
Credit US Department of Justice

These topics air Thursday August 28, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. 

Featuring guest host Andy Conte of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. 

Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Under Investigation

U. S. Attorney David Hickton’s interest in cyber crimes is getting noticed by the Justice Department. Hickton and his team have investigated the Pitt bombing threats and the PNC denial of service attacks. Their recent work has resulted in the indictment of Chinese military hackers. David Hickton joins us to explain why the Western PA Attorney’s office could be a model for cyber crime units across the country.

Under Observation

Some of the nicest views of Pittsburgh and the night sky can be found at the Allegheny Observatory. Electronic technician and administrator Lou Coban takes guest host Andy Conte on a behind the scenes tour of the building from the rooftop to the telescopes to something you might not expect to find in the basement.

European Vacation

While a Roman holiday wasn’t part of her trip, contributor Elaine Labalme did venture to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid. She’s back in Studio A this week with a recap of European cities fall travelers may want to visit. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:21 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Building a Bigger International Workforce in Pittsburgh

Credit David Brossard / Flickr

In an increasingly global job market how do you attract and maintain the best talent? What if that talent isn't local but global? 

Those were some of the questions posed at the Governor's Jobs 1st Summit held here in Pittsburgh.

Immigration attorney and former U.S. diplomat Kamana Mathur joins us to discuss the challenges employers face in attaining and keeping talent from around the world.

Essential Pittsburgh
6:03 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Making LemonAid: A Cancelled Engagement Turns into Social Engagement

A broken engagement has turned into an opportunity to help others
Credit Kalle Gustafsson / Flickr

After the breakup of his wedding engagement, Phil Laboon was faced with $15,000 to $20,000 of payments wasted on the wedding and reception plans for the Priory Hotel on the North Side.

Rather than cancel completely, Laboon saw door number two and took it. He kept his reservations, subtracted the wedding aspects, and was left with LemonAID, a charity event to benefit Surgicorps International

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:37 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Westminster College Launches STEM Program for High-Needs Schools

There are 2.4 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs available for every unemployed person in Pennsylvania with STEM skills, according to the national science education advocacy group Change the Equation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education reported that in 2013, low-income students in Pennsylvania scored about 9 percent lower on standardized math tests, and 20 percent lower on standardized science tests.

Westminster College in Lawrence County, about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, has just announced a new program that aims to address both of these issues.

IQ STEM includes an undergraduate scholarship component and a professional development component, both of which focus on four high needs school districts in the region surrounding Westminster: Sharon City School District and Farrell Area School District in Mercer County, and Union Area School District and New Castle Area School District in Lawrence County.

High needs schools are defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965 and by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 as schools with high teacher turnover rates, a high percentage of out-of-field or uncertified teachers, a high number of unfilled teaching positions and/or a large percentage of students whose families fall below the poverty line.

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Public Safety
2:02 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Despite a Slow Start, Text-To-911 Service Gaining In Popularity

The Allegheny County 911 Center has received 185 text-to-911 messages since the service was introduced in May, according to the Department of Emergency Services.

Gary Thomas, assistant chief and 911 coordinator for the department, said no one knew what to expect when the service was implemented.

“It’s working,” he said. “As far as where we should be, no one really can tell because this is fairly new technology to the 911 industry.”

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Pitt Clothes
2:01 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Students Activists Change Clothing Standards at Pitt

Sporting a pair of Toms will sometimes make you feel like you’re helping out those who are less fortunate, and the clothing sold by the University of Pittsburgh could be headed in that same wholesome clothing direction. Pitt has given its apparel licensees an ultimatum that many hope will make safety a priority in factories where the clothing is made.

Since the fall of 2012 students with the Pitt chapter of Americans for Informed Democracy have been advocating for the University to make changes to its licensee agreement through the #NoSweat Coalition.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:31 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Attaining and Keeping Workforce Talent in the Region

Credit David Brossard / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday August 27, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Kevin Gavin guest hosts for Paul Guggenheimer. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Increasing Qualified STEM Educators in Western PA

Westminster College has been awarded a grant through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the National Science Foundation to increase qualifications of secondary educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We'll speak with Dr. Amy Camardese, Professor/Chair in Education at Westminster College. We'll also talk with Science Department Chair for the North Allegheny School District Chris Omasits.

Workforce Development

In an increasingly global job market how do you attract and maintain the best talent? What if that talent isn't local but global? Those were some of the questions posed at the Governor's Jobs 1st Summit held here in Pittsburgh. Immigration attorney and former U.S. diplomat Kamana Mathur joins us to discuss the challenges employers face in attaining and keeping talent from around the world.

LemonAid

When his wedding plans fell through our guest Phil Laboon, CEO of Eyeflow Internet Marketing decided to make the best of the situation. We'll discover how his breakup is going to benefit others especially the charity Surgicorps founded by Dr. Jack Demos who also joins us in Studio A. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:30 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

The Business of School Lunches

A new community eligibility provision makes it possible for all students in Pittsburgh Public Schools to get free lunch and breakfast
Credit Lance Cheung/USDA / Flickr

Whether they brown bag it or purchase the cafeteria offering, lunch can be one of the most important parts of a student’s day. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of school lunches.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:50 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Resolving the Backlog for Black Lung Disease Care

The x-ray of a coal miner with Pneumoconiosis, commonly known as Black Lung Disease.
Credit LeRoy Woodson / National Archives and Records Administration

U.S. Senator Bob Casey is laying out a plan to reduce a claims backlog that has impacted residents throughout the region. He recently chaired a hearing to explore the challenges that former coal miners are dealing with.

Dr. Kevin Gibson of the UPMC Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine department explains that although the term “black lung disease” is the popular name for the disease, it “doesn’t really capture how we think of the disease in the medical field.” According to him, black lung is more accurately described as two different types of disease.

“Simple pneumoconiosis is a problem where you develop very, very tiny nodules in the lung, which, generally speaking, are not associated with much in the way of symptoms. The severe disease, the serious disease, is what we call complex pneumoconiosis, or another term we use to describe it is progressive massive fibrosis. Those patients usually go on to respiratory failure, and those are the folks that usually die from the disease. Fortunately, they represent a relatively small percentage of people who are exposed.”

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Science & Technology
4:41 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

CMU Launches Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Brain Research

One of the goals of BrainHub is to develop better brain imaging technologies.
Credit Flickr user CaptPiper

When Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh first arrived on campus last summer, he knew he wanted to do something big — something that would bring together departments and research centers from across campus, build on existing scholarship, generate new knowledge and have an impact on the global stage.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:38 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Keeping Italian Traditions Alive in the Garden

Fenice and Nicola Mercurio pose under a trellis of grapevines
Chris Squier WESA

When Fenice and Nicola Mercurio moved to the United States from Italy decades ago, they brought their cooking traditions as well as a knowledge of Mediterranean gardening. As members of Pittsburgh's Italian Garden Project, the Mercurios and project founder Mary Menniti hold events and demonstrations in order to pass along their Italian heritage. See videos about the many other gardeners involved in the project.

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Education
3:57 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Seeking Funding, Peduto Forms Early Childhood Education Panel

In an effort to receive federal funding that passes through Harrisburg, Mayor Bill Peduto named a Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education on Monday.

The panel will focus on making Pittsburgh “more attractive” to those judging applications for the Preschool Development Grants Competition, according to the city’s Educational Policy and Workforce Development Manager Cosette Grant-Overton.

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Government & Politics
2:40 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Lt. Gov. Cawley Lauds Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley stopped by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center in Oakland on Tuesday. Without getting into specifics, Cawley thanked employees for helping make Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania competitive in the technological arena.

"Technology and research play a significant, if not critical, role in creating opportunities and fostering that robust economy that we all want and need," he said.

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Child Predators
1:54 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

New Truck Helps Charge Child Predators Faster

Attorney General Kathleen Kane introduced the new truck that aims to arrest child predators faster.
Jessica Nath 90.5 WESA

The process of arresting a child predator could take up to eight months with investigators taking computers from the suspect's home or business and transporting them to a crime lab for further study.

But the Attorney General’s office is trying to streamline that by rolling out two new trucks that act as computer forensic laboratories on wheels. 

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Transportation
12:41 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Pittsburgh Among Worst Driving Cities in US, Allstate Report Says

Drivers in the city of Pittsburgh are 51.3 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident than the average American, according to an Allstate Insurance Company report released today.

Pittsburgh is 14th worst overall among 200 cities in the report, and is last among cities with 250,000 to 499,000 residents.

In other words, “if you live in Pittsburgh, you’re going to get in a car accident,” Allstate spokesperson Julia Reusch said.

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Environment & Energy
10:12 am
Tue August 26, 2014

State Regulators Take a Closer Listen to Gas Compressor Stations

One of eight compressor units at Seneca Resources' Hagerman station in the Loyalsock Forest. State regulators are trying to get a better handle on how the constant noise from the facilities affects people and wildlife.
Credit Joe Ulrich / WITF

Most of the noise created by natural gas development is temporary. After drilling and fracking, the workers and equipment are gone. A gas well in production is pretty quiet; it’s basically just a bunch of pipes in the ground.

But compressor stations can stay noisy for years– even decades. The facilities are necessary to process and transport gas through pipelines. When it comes to noise regulations, they’re governed by a patchwork of local, state, and federal rules.

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Education
7:58 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Study Finds 'De Facto' Segregation Among PA Charter Schools

Charter schools in Pennsylvania are defined by their flexibility and freedom from many state regulations.

A new study shows they’re also marked by their lack of diversity.  

Penn State researchers found “de facto patterns of school segregation along racial and ethnic lines” in a study of brick-and-mortar charter schools.

“They’re sorting themselves into homogenous schools,” said Erica Frankenberg, a member of the research team and an assistant professor at Penn State’s College of Education.

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Government & Politics
9:38 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Jobs Conference Focuses on Global Talent Recruitment, Innovation and Energy

The job market of the 21st Century is increasingly global and focused on innovation. That was one of the takeaways at the Governor’s Jobs 1st Summit in Pittsburgh Monday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:22 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Tuesday Rundown: Italian Heritage Passed on Through the Garden

Each year hundreds of traditional Italian plants are raised by the Mercurios on this sloped quarter acre of land in Bethel Park.
Credit Chris Squire / 90.5 WESA

These topics air Tuesday August 26, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Local Miners' Black Lung Benefits Delayed

U.S. Senator Bob Casey is laying out a plan to reduce a claims backlog that has impacted residents throughout the region. He recently chaired a hearing to explore the challenges that former coal miners are dealing with. Dr. Kevin Gibson of the UPMC Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine department talks about the illness and Senator Casey joins us to discuss his plan and what should be done to protect the health and safety of coal miners and prevent black lung disease.

The Italian Garden Project

When Fenice and Nicola Mercurio moved to the United States from Italy decades ago, they brought their cooking traditions as well as a knowledge of Mediterranean gardening. As members of Pittsburgh's Italian Garden Project, the Mercurios and project founder Mary Menniti hold events and demonstrations in order to pass along their Italian heritage. Join us for a visit to the Mercurio garden, and hear about late summer cocktail pairings from contributor Hal B. Klein.

WESA Celebrates - Carolyn Hare

Carolyn Hare has been an advocate for those with autism for more than 20 years, but she never realized how providing a creative outlet could have such an impact on their lives. Five years ago she visited the Joey Travolta Film Camp in Bakersfield, CA, a two-week camp for anyone ages 10 and older with autism. The visit resulted in her starting the Arts for Autism Foundation of Pittsburgh. Carolyn Hare and her work are profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

Business of School Lunches

Whether they brown bag it or purchase the cafeteria offering, lunch can be one of the most important parts of a student’s day. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of school lunches.

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Pittsburgh
5:56 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Bike Racks (With a Twist) To Be Installed In The Cultural District

Bike design to be placed in Cultural District-- design by Will Schlough

The Cultural District is adding to the “culture” with locally designed bike racks. The racks come in all shapes and sizes, including one that looks like the Fort Duquesne Bridge and another standing 6ft tall.  

The first of the bike racks will be installed on Tuesday, while the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust begins the search for more racks to be placed downtown.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:52 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

'Ready Freddy' Brings Kindness to Kindergarten

The University of Pittsburgh-developed Ready Freddy campaign has already seen some success, with initial partner schools seeing a rise in first day attendance from 25% to as many as 100%.
Credit University of Pittsburgh

Today is the first day of kindergarten for many Pittsburgh area students. They will be welcomed this year by the “Ready Freddy” green frog mascot as part of the program developed by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development to make the first day easier for the little ones.

Ken Smythe-Leistico is the assistant director of Pitt’s Office of Child Development. He says that many children have anxieties about transitioning into kindergarten.

“You leave that past life as you know it and all those comforts that you had...and you’re navigating all these elements at five years old,” he says.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:50 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Penn State Football Heads to Ireland for First International Game

Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland hosts Penn State and the University of Central Florida this Saturday for their season opener.
Credit Florian Christoph / Flickr

The Penn State University football team plays its season opener this Saturday against the University of Central Florida, with a unique spin. The big game is scheduled to be played at the Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Croke Park officials expect the game to bring $30 million into the Irish economy, thanks to an expected 16,000 visitors from the US.

John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism at Penn State is in Dublin with a group of student reporters. He says the success of previous American college football games held in Dublin caused Irish officials to take notice.

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Higher Education
5:18 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

PSU President Mum on Board Reforms

The new president of Penn State is staying mum on proposed reforms to the school’s Board of Trustees.

Legislation to whittle down the current board from 30 to 23 voting members cleared a state Senate committee in June, but Eric Barron, named president in February, refused to offer his own opinion of such a move.

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Marcellus Shale
4:45 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Gov. Corbett, Consol CEO Offer Praise at Airport Drilling Kickoff

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald speaks with reporters in front of a natural gas well pad near Pittsburgh International Airport Monday.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“Energy independence.”

“Shale revolution.”

These were the buzzwords used Monday morning as officials gathered for a ceremony marking the start of natural gas drilling activity near Pittsburgh International Airport.

The mood was festive — complete with music, appetizers, goodie bags and air conditioned portable restrooms — as Gov. Tom Corbett and Consol Energy President and CEO Nick DeIuliis prepared to take the podium.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:40 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

5 Steps to Post-Grad Success with Career Consultant Sasha King

After college, many former students have trouble gaining traction in a difficult job market. Career consultant Sasha King offers her tips on how to succeed.
Credit Kate Hiscock / Flickr

In this month’s installment of On the Job, career consultant Sasha King stops by to tackle the recent problem of post-graduate unemployment. According to King, students should begin their school careers with an endgoal in mind.

Here are 5 steps you can take at the beginning of college to increase your chances of employment.

1.) Look at recent labor market research data to select a major based on the current industry trends.

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Higher Education
12:26 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

'Vibrant' City Attracts More University Students

As a new academic year begins today for many universities, a lot of students are attending their first ever college classes.

Various Pittsburgh universities reported either an increase in the number of freshmen this year or the number of applications they received - a continuation of a trend that began years ago.

Marc Harding, chief enrollment officer, said the University of Pittsburgh has about 3,900 freshmen starting this fall - about the same as last year - but that’s not because the same amount of people applied.

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Pittsburgh Airport to Start Fracking with Hopes to Offset Financial Woes

Bob Mrvos jokes you could golf in the corridors of The Pittsburgh International Airport Terminal – it's just so empty.

"My wife and I were on vacation and flew into LAX and stayed there for a couple weeks and we came back through Chicago," he said. "You walk through those airports and you can barely get through the hallway there’s so many people. And when you land in Pittsburgh, it's like the airports closed."

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Health
3:30 am
Mon August 25, 2014

New Regulations Would Tighten Fire Pit Rules In Allegheny County

New open burning rules are pending before the Allegheny County Board of Health, and while most residents who have spoken out are in favor of the tighter controls, some feel the rules fall far short of being able to adequately protect public health.

“This is not about the tyranny of government overreach and the revolution has come to Bellevue,” said Bellevue resident and anti-burning activist Carol Wivell. “This is about people going before your elected officials and begging for help.”

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Pittsburgh Police
3:30 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Lawsuit to Balance Black Representation on Pittsburgh's Police Force Ongoing

A class-action lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police meant to end alleged discriminatory hiring practices against African Americans is nearing the point of resolution, either through negotiations or trial, says Witold Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

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Higher Education
3:30 am
Mon August 25, 2014

New Commission Works to Create New Public Education Funding Formula

When it comes to public education funding in Pennsylvania, one size does not fit all, especially when it’s $5.5 billion this fiscal year being divided among 500 school districts.

That’s according to state Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester), who is part of a 15-member commission that was created in June with the goal of finding a formula for distributing state funding to schools in a fair and efficient manner.

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