News

Pages

Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

ICA Approves City Budget

Pittsburgh’s Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority for Cities of the Second Class met on Friday to address the resubmission of Pittsburgh’s proposed 2015 budgets and corresponding five-year plan.

They unanimously approved the $516.6 million operating budget and $76.6 million capital plan.

Read more
Homelessness
3:39 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Honoring Pittsburgh's Homeless Who Died in 2014

138 plaques memorialize those who have died on the streets of Allegheny County since 1989
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Under the overpass at Fort Pitt Boulevard and Grant Street in Downtown Pittsburgh is a wall that holds 132 bronze plaques. Six more plaques will be added Sunday to remember the six homeless Pittsburghers known to have died while living in the streets in 2014.

The 17th annual candlelight memorial service will be held there Sunday evening at 7 o’clock..

“It’s to call attention to the tragedy of homelessness,” says Stephanie Chiappini, program manager of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System’s Operation Safety Net, which  hosts the vigil each year.

Read more
special prosecutor
3:33 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Bill Would Require Special Prosecutor in Police Deadly Force Cases

An incoming Pennsylvania state senator wants to make sure there are no incidents in the commonwealth similar to those in Ferguson, Missouri and New York where local prosecutors investigated the deaths of citizens at the hands of police officers, and no charges were filed.

State Senator-elect Arthur Haywood (D-Montgomery) said Friday he will introduce legislation January 6, the day he’s sworn in to office, that would require the state Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor whenever there’s a deadly force incident and a police officer is involved.

Read more
Northside
3:28 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Steelers, Highmark, Northwest Savings Pledge to Help Develop North Side

The Northside Leadership Conference will use $900,000 in pledged funding from Highmark, Northwest Savings Bank and the Pittsburgh Steelers to support the North Side neighborhood including small business and strategic real estate development.

Gloria Rayman, past NSLC board of directors president, said Friday because the coalition of grassroots neighborhood organizations has non-profit status, it can partner with corporate sponsors.

Read more
Holiday Travel
2:40 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Holiday Travel Breaking Records and Travelers Are Saving Money

Travel is cheaper this year, with gas prices and plane tickets being less expensive than they have been in recent years, and this has led to AAA project a record breaking travel season.

“Well this year our holiday travel volume nationally and regionally broke all records, and we’ve been keeping track of this since 2001. So for the yearend holidays, which is Christmas and New Year’s, there’s going to be more people on the road than ever,” said Spokeswoman for AAA, Chelsea Pompeani.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:31 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Your Favorite Holiday Tunes by Request

Credit Heather McClain / WESA

For over thirty years WESA director of internships Kevin Gavin has hosted his All-Request Holiday Music Special. Kevin joins us for a preview of this year's special as well as a look back at Christmases past.

Gavin explains that he first got started airing holiday music in Pittsburgh 38 years ago, when WESA (then WDUQ) general manager Ken Duffy noticed a lack of Christmas music on the airwaves in Pittsburgh. Duffy asked Gavin to play whatever holiday music he could find, and Gavin dug up some holiday record albums and became an impromptu disc jockey.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
1:53 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Credit Anthony Quintano / Flickr

With the year coming to a close and holiday celebrations abounding, travel contributor Elaine Labalme stops by with suggestions to help you answer the musical question, "What are you doing New Year's Eve?"

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
1:48 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

75 Years of the Nestle Chocolate Morsel

Credit Ana Liza / Flickr

1939 was an important year in American pop culture. Some of the greatest Hollywood movies, including "Gone With the Wind" and the "Wizard of Oz" were released. Lou Gehrig retired and the "World of Tomorrow" World’s Fair opened in New York.

In the annals of baking, the chocolate chip cookie was created at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. A key ingredient in this iconic cookie is the Nestle morsel, which turns 75 this year. Roz O’Hearn, Communications & Brand Affairs Director for Nestle, talks about the morsel’s past, present and future.

According to O’Hearn, the chocolate morsel has an “accidental” origin story. Near Boston, a restaurant owner named Ruth Wakefield ran the Toll House Inn. Wakefield smashed a Nestle semisweet chocolate baking bar into small pieces to put into her cookie recipe, creating the first chocolate chip cookies.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
12:10 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Gingerbread Display Replicates Pittsburgh

Gingerbread Heinz Field is loaded with Steeler Pride
Marcus Charleston WESA

Gingerbread houses are part of what makes Christmas delicious and special, and this year the gingerbread game has been stepped up at the Grand Concourse with a tiny Pittsburgh village.

The display features the Duquesne Incline, the Smithfield Bridge, Heinz Field, the three rivers and many more miniature replicas.

“We wanted to do something different this year, and actually started planning it way back in January, after last year’s holidays, and [we] just started planning it out and about three months ago to really work on it and build it,” said Grand Concourse General Manager Milo Boering.

Executive Chef, Loren Halperin says they must have used about 50-60lbs. of gingerbread dough. Then after baking the dough in September the chefs had to let it completely dry out, which took about a month. Then in early November they began construction.

Read more
Government & Politics
11:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Auditor General's Report Puts a Number on Forgone Property Taxes

A report by the state’s auditor general finds that some counties are losing hundreds of millions of dollars from organizations defined as charities and are therefore exempt from property taxes.

Read more
Government & Politics
10:56 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Wolf Hits the Road to Underscore PA’s Money Problems

Governor-elect Tom Wolf is on a statewide tour of sorts, though not exactly spreading a message of cheer as he lays the groundwork for his budget proposal in about three months.

Wolf’s Thursday stop in Kingston, Luzerne County marked the third news conference he’s held this month to talk to reporters about the state’s looming deficit, projected to be about $1.85 billion. Wolf has held similar Q&A sessions in Philadelphia and York.

Read more
Podcast
10:09 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of Dec. 19

Don't be a hero! Heed our sanity-saving holiday tips: intercept and re-gift your kids' presents, keep your sippy cup topped up at all times and phone it in whenever possible.

If you insist on making an effort, here's a taste of the finest last-minute holiday cheer Pittsburgh has to offer:

Market Square Holiday Market

Pittsburgh Symphony Holiday Pops

Read more
Community
8:07 am
Fri December 19, 2014

With a Community-Owned Development Plan, Larimer Works to Rebound

In Larimer, new houses are going up. Last June the neighborhood was awarded a $30 million Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhoods grant, which will go toward building 350 mixed income housing units.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

In June, the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Larimer was awarded a highly competitive $30 million Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhoods grant.

The money will go toward building 350 mixed income housing units. But the grant is just one step in a long and ongoing process of turning the neighborhood around.

Larimer is a small neighborhood, and much of it is made up of open space. Blocks are scored with empty lots and vacant houses. Many families moved away for better schools and less crime, leaving behind mainly elderly and low income residents.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
12:48 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Friday Rundown: Some Sweet Ways to Get into the Holidays

The Nestle Toll House morsel turns 75!
Credit Ana Liza / Flickr

These topics air Friday December 19, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Gingerbread Pittsburgh

The executive chefs at the Grand Concourse have taken the art of gingerbread houses to a new level. They’ve crafted a gingerbread village of iconic Pittsburgh landmarks. We’ll find out how they did this with Grand Concourse General Manager Milo Boering and Executive Chef Loren Halperin.

75 Years of the Nestle Chocolate Morsel

1939 was an important year in American pop culture. Some of the greatest Hollywood movies, including "Gone With the Wind" and the "Wizard of Oz" were released. Lou Gehrig retired and the "World of Tomorrow" World’s Fair opened in New York. In the annals of baking, the chocolate chip cookie was created at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. A key ingredient in this iconic cookie is the Nestle Morsel which turns 75 this year. Here to tell us more about its past, present and future is Roz O’Hearn, Communications & Brand Affairs Director.

By Request

For over thirty years WESA director of internships Kevin Gavin has hosted his All-Request Holiday Music Special. Kevin joins us for a preview of this year's special as well as a look back at Christmases past.

Travel Segment

With the year coming to a close and holiday celebrations abounding, Travel contributor Elaine Labalme stops by with suggestions to help you answer the musical question, "What are you doing New Year's Eve." 

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:52 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Local Voices React to Announcement of a New Relationship with Cuba

The Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago, an event which marked the symbolic ending to the Cold War. But you wouldn’t know it looking at the relationship between the United States and Cuba, who continued the mid-20th century conflict well into the 21st.

That was until President Obama announced on December 17 that the United States was taking steps to change its relationship with Cuba and ease restrictions on travel and commerce.

These steps will obviously have an enormous effect on the island nation, about 90 miles off the coast of the U.S. But it will also have an effect on many parts of the United States, including Pittsburgh.

Kenya Dworkin y Mendez, the Cuban-born associate professor of Hispanic Studies at Carnegie Mellon University and Scott Morgenstern, the associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh discussed the matter on today’s Essential Pittsburgh.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:45 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

A Former Officer's Perspective on Appropriate Use of Force

Credit macwagen / flickr

For as long as there has been law enforcement, there have been arguments over how much force police reserve the right to use.

These arguments have come to dominate the national conversation in the wake of the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. This conversation has spread to Pittsburgh, in the form of regular protest demonstrations focused on local issues.

Sheldon Williams is a former Pittsburgh Police Officer and a member of the Citizen Police Review Board who answered some of the  lingering questions about the use of deadly force by police.

Williams said that he was somewhat skeptical about Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s testimony.

Read more
Somerset Lake
3:21 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Somerset County Agrees to Match Donations to Save Lake

Commissioners of Somerset County have agreed to use drilling revenue to match any public donations to save Lake Somerset.

The lake has one of 12 “high hazard dams” in the state. The county is trying to save the dam to save the lake. The 253 acre lake’s water level has already been lowered by 6 feet to take pressure off the dam.

The county is also trying to make the land around the lake into a community park. It just has to wait for the Fish and Boat Commission to approve the plans, which Commissioner John Vatavuk thinks is very likely.

Read more
Transportation
3:00 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

PUC OKs Conditional License for Lyft

The Public Utility Commission has approved with conditions the application by Lyft to offer ridesharing services statewide for two years.

“Those conditions mainly address the concerns the commission has been expressing all along that these companies are proving that they are using safe drivers and they are doing background checks on drivers, that the vehicles they are operating are safe, and that they have the proper insurance,” said PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher.

Read more
Public Safety
2:27 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Authorities Announce Arrest in International Counterfeiting Scheme

Special Agent in Charge Eric Zahren, Secret Service Pittsburgh field office and David Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced an arrest in counterfeit scheme that saw fake bills passed through Pittsburgh area.
Credit Deanna Garcia

A counterfeit $100 bill used in Pittsburgh last year has led federal authorities to an international counterfeiting scheme and resulted in charges against a 27-year-old U.S. citizen living in Uganda.

“These Ugandan-manufactured counterfeit bills were being passed in our neighborhoods; specifically Oakland, Carnegie, McCandless Township and other places,” said David Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. “It quickly spread to other cities throughout the country.”

Read more
Environment & Energy
2:09 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Cuomo Gets Kudos, Scorn for New York Fracking Ban

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo listens to a speaker during a cabinet meeting at the Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. Cuomo’s administration will move to prohibit fracking in the state, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.
Credit AP Photo/Mike Groll

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting heaped with praise by environmentalists and scorn by business interests for a planned state ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, even as he insists the decision wasn't his.

Residents statewide remain almost evenly split on the issue, and the divisions are clear, pollsters said Thursday. The decision announced Wednesday followed Cuomo's re-election last month, which the Democrat won easily as expected.

Quinnipiac University Poll's Mickey Carroll said the political impact is likely to be limited and the decision was predictable.

Read more
Youth Summit
1:44 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Students to Discuss Violence, Bullying in Summit Friday

Niya Ingram, a tenth grader at Brashear High School, listed “killing, bullying and…gangs” among the issues she and her peers are facing.

That’s why she is helping facilitate the Coalition Against Violence’s (CAV) “Strategies for Change” Youth Summit Friday in coordination with the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP).

Read more
Health
9:19 am
Thu December 18, 2014

How the Hill District's Freedom House EMTs Helped Shape Modern Ambulance Care

Freedom House and Presbyterian Hospital staff pose for a photograph. The Freedom House Enterprise Ambulance Service served as the model for emergency ambulance medicine.
Credit Ben Spiegel courtesy of the University of Pittburgh

George McCrary knows the Hill District well. As he drives the windy streets, he points out the places he remembers from his days working as one of the nation's first emergency medical technicians in the late '60s and early '70s.

It was on these streets where a young McCrary was a member of the Freedom House Enterprise Ambulance Service, which served as the model for emergency ambulance medicine.  

Read more
Health
8:01 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Holiday Grief Is Natural But Should Be Addressed, Expert Says

We have all heard of the “holiday blues,” but until you or a loved one actually experiences them you might think it is more something of myth than of reality.

“Everyone at times can experience grief around the holidays,” said Anna Boettcher, Medical Director of Community Psychiatry at Pittsburgh Mercy Health System. “Just because of those warm thoughts and if those expectations are not met … then it can be a depressing time of year for some people.”

Read more
Art From the Ground Up
3:30 am
Thu December 18, 2014

As Slow Danger, Artists Find New Ways to Merge Music and Dance

Taylor Knight and Anna Thompson create dance and music as Slow Danger.
Credit Courtesy of Slow Danger

Anna Thompson and Taylor Knight, who create both dance and music as Slow Danger, were drawn to each other’s willingness to explore new ways to interact with their art form.

Beginning with dance, they soon began creating their own music for their performances. Knight said it was inevitable for their art to “merge and intersect in that way.”

"The movement and the music, for us, goes hand in hand,” Knight said.

Thompson and Knight said their intention is to present an ambiguous identity that isn’t Anna, isn’t Taylor, but rather “this otherness that we create through.”

Read more
City Government
3:30 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Affordable Housing Measure Approved by Planning Commission

Pittsburgh City Councilman Daniel Lavelle is one step closer to delivering on a promise to constituents that affordable housing would be a key part of the revitalization of the Hill District.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a proposed change to city code governing specially planned districts, or SP districts.

“Specially Planned Districts are those districts like Southside Works, Station Square … the Pittsburgh Technology Center, and Washington’s Landing,” said zoning administrator Corey Layman.

Read more
Health
3:30 am
Thu December 18, 2014

High-Dose Flu Vaccine May Provide Better Protection for Those in Long-Term Care Facilities

When it comes to protecting those most vulnerable to influenza, a high-dose flu vaccine may be most effective.

That’s according to the findings of a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine which found that giving a high-dose vaccine to elderly people in long-term care facilities helped build immunity. Each year in the U.S. there are 3,000 to 49,000 influenza-related deaths.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
2:02 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Thursday Rundown: Making Sure Police Use of Force is Proportional to the Crime

Credit Elvert Barnes / Flickr

These topics air Thursday December 18, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Cuba Policy Changes

As the United States takes steps to change our relationship with Cuba and ease restrictions on travel and commerce, with a place President Kennedy described as an "imprisoned island," we'll talk with Cuban born Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Kenya Dworkin y Mendez and University of Pittsburgh associate professor of political science Scott Morgenstern. What opportunities does this create for Pittsburgh?

When Police Use Deadly Force

As public outcry continues in the wake of the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York, former Pittsburgh Police Officer Sheldon Williams answers lingering questions about the use of deadly force by police. What obligation do police officers have to make sure the use of force is proportional?

Travel Segment

With the year coming to a close and holiday celebrations abounding, Travel contributor Elaine Labalme stops by with suggestions to help you answer the musical question, "What are you doing New Year's Eve." 

Read more
Government & Politics
6:14 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Corbett Calls Sting Charges 'Satisfying'

Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday that he's pleased charges have been filed against two additional public officials ensnared by a sting operation that began under his tenure as attorney general.

"It's satisfying to see when there appears to be enough evidence to charge somebody and let a jury make the decision as to whether they're innocent or guilty," said Corbett, speaking on Radio Pennsylvania's Ask the Governor program.

Read more
Government & Politics
5:06 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Senate Bill Enables Disabled to Set Up Tax-Free Savings for Education, Long-Term Care

It’s being called the biggest piece of legislation to affect disabled Americans since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was passed by the Senate Tuesday by a vote of 404-17.  It allows Americans with disabilities or their families to set up a tax-free savings account in order to prepare for long-term care.

Read more
Marcellus Shale
4:44 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Report Claims Negative Impacts of Marcellus Shale Drilling

While the population in Marcellus Shale drilling towns has not increased, crime, housing costs and other negative impacts have.

That’s according to the left-leaning Keystone Research Center and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s report "The Shale Tipping Point: The Relationship of Drilling to Crime, Truck Fatalities, STDs and Rents in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio."

Read more

Pages