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Education
1:37 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

State Lawmaker Wants to Keep Track Of Financially Distressed School Districts

A state senator has said he wants information about financially ailing school districts so the state can help out before it’s too late.

Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny) met with state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis asking for information on all school districts that have been designated for financial watch status or identified for monitoring.

The problem, however, isn’t that the Department of Education (DOE) is withholding a list from the senator, but Tomalis told Brewster the problem is there currently is no complied list of schools in trouble.

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Arts & Culture
1:01 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Gallery Crawl, Night Market to Feature Arts and More in Pittsburgh Tonight

Pittsburghers venturing downtown on Friday night have at least two opportunities to experience the arts.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Spring Gallery Crawl takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m., while the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's Night Market IV runs from 6 to 11 p.m.

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Higher Education
12:17 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

IUP Inaugurates Driscoll as New President

Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Michael A. Driscoll
Credit Indiana University of Pennsylvania

With nine months already on the job, Mike Driscoll will be officially inaugurated Friday afternoon as president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Driscoll, who began his duties last July, came to IUP from the University of Alaska-Anchorage, where he was provost and executive vice chancellor.

Driscoll said he came to IUP because of what makes it a great campus.

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Pennsylvania
9:43 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Train Hits Transit Bus in Evans City; 1 Killed, 10 Hurt

Authorities say an elderly woman was killed and 10 other people injured when a freight train struck a rural transit bus carrying senior citizens and people with developmental disabilities.

Evans City police Chief Joseph McCombs says it appears the small bus entered the crossing and stopped on the tracks shortly after 8 a.m. Friday. The engineer sounded a horn and tried to stop the train, but couldn't.

The bus came to rest about 20 feet away but did not overturn. It was carrying passengers ranging in age from the mid-20s to 92.

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Interview
3:30 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Talking 'Toaster Wars' Security Competition with CMU's David Brumley

Credit Carnegie Mellon University

Thousands of high school students from across the country will compete in a first-of-its-kind computer security competition starting today. It’s being run out of Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson speaks with CMU professor David Brumley, who helped to organize the event.

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Mayoral Election
4:32 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

State, City Elected Officials Voice Support for Peduto

With less than a month before the primary election, Bill Peduto shored up support Thursday for his bid to become Pittsburgh’s next mayor.

Peduto was joined by representatives from 22 unions and organizations, as well as 15 elected officials on the steps of the Pittsburgh City-County Building.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:15 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

A Conversation with Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane
Credit The Office of the Attorney General

  Kathleen Kane is the first woman and Democrat elected to the position of Pennsylvania Attorney General. When she was sworn in earlier this year, she faced a host of challenges from the Corbett Administration and scandals within the PA Turnpike Commission.

"We're watching.  And if anybody decides that it is in their best interest to get involved in public corruption, we will teach them otherwise. "

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Community
4:04 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

$1.5 Million Grant to Expand YMCA’s Reach

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh has received a $1.5 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

The grant will enable the organization to offer increased services at its five urban branches: Hazelwood, Hill District, Hilltop, Homewood-Brushton and McKeesport.

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Schools
3:38 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

PA Lawmaker Wants More Comprehensive School Bullying Response Plans

State House lawmakers are struggling to find a way to help schools deal with bullying among school-age children.  

Republican Rep. Dan Truitt of Chester County says he’s not sure schools are taking bullying seriously, given the way they’re responding to existing state mandates.

"Our current state law requires school districts to report incidents of bullying to the state just in terms of the numbers, how many incidents they had," he said. "And a number of them, about 200 school districts, report none at all."

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Arts
3:15 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Gallery Crawl to Preview Theater and Visual Art CSAs

The "Community Supported Agriculture" or CSA model is taking on more and more iterations.

Traditionally, a CSA offers subscriptions to locally grown produce, but it was recently announced that a visual art CSA would be available April 30. Now a theater CSA is in the offing as well.

The New Hazlett Theater on the north side is selling CSA shares that include six performances every other month, from August to June.

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Pittsburgh Marathon
2:04 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Officials Discuss New Security Measures, Cost Concerns for Pittsburgh Marathon

Runners participate in the 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon.
Credit delayedneutron / Flickr

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, cities across the U.S., including Pittsburgh, are taking a hard look at security for marathons.

City officials said Thursday that the security plan for the Pittsburgh Marathon, scheduled for May 5, is ever-evolving. One certainty is that spectators and runners will see more uniformed officers patrolling.

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Prescription Drugs
12:57 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Allegheny Co. Police to Offer Prescription Drug Dropoffs

Got any medications that you don’t need any more or has expired? The Allegheny County Police want to help take them off your hands.

As part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, southwestern Pennsylvania residents can drop off their unused medications at the North Park and South Park County Police stations on Saturday.

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Liquor Privatization
9:39 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Pro-liquor Privatization Ad Homes in on Key Senator

A conservative group is turning up the heat on a key state Republican senator who’s voiced skepticism about the liquor privatization plan approved by the House.

A television ad launched by the conservative group Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, which doesn’t disclose its funders, paints Bucks County state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney as being against selling off the state stores.

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Public Safety
7:42 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Pittsburgh Police Ready to Welcome 4 New Dogs

A police dog on duty during the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit of 2009.
Credit Nigel Parry/Flickr

Although $7,000 may sound expensive for a German Shepherd puppy, it's not too bad of a price if you ask Pittsburgh Police Sergeant Chris Micknowski.

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Behavioral Health
6:26 am
Thu April 25, 2013

With New Licensing for Specialists, Concern About Impact in the Autism Community

Emma, 11 (left) and Lily, 7, play with their mother Leslie Walter at their home in Shaler. Lily has autism, and according to Leslie, her daughter would be in a completely different place without the dedicated assistance of a behavior specialist. Leslie worries about what could happen with an interruption of services.
Credit Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

Behavior specialists in Pennsylvania who work with autistic children have a soon-approaching deadline to apply for licenses to keep doing their jobs. But parents and advocates say that the requirements and the process to apply are arduous. 

When Act 62 passed, those in the autism community saw it as a victory. The 2009 legislation required private insurance companies to pay for services for those with autism — up to $36,000 a year. But it also required the Pennsylvania Department of State to license behavior specialists.

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Art From the Ground Up
3:30 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Through Collaboration, Pittsburgh's La Harrier Finds 'Creative Playground'

Ryan Neitznick (left) and John Fischer (right) at their Lawrenceville studio, known as La Harrier.
Credit Bob Studebaker / 90.5 WESA

Ryan Neitznick and John Fischer comprise the production team known as La Harrier.

Their studio in Lawrenceville is also known as La Harrier, and it’s part of  a growing aspect of Pittsburgh’s arts community — nontraditional, independent music producers.

They each grew up and began their musical careers in Pittsburgh but actually met and formed their partnership about six years ago in Philadelphia.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Limiting Reproductive Healthcare in Pennsylvania

A bill passed this week in the State capitol will add to increased inspections and restrictions on health care providers who offer abortion services
Credit 90.5 WESA

Under a  Pennsylvania House passed bill, women who want an abortion have to buy coverage separate from the affordable care act. This is one of the latest challenges for organizations like Planned Parenthood in providing access to reproductive health care. Joining us to talk about these challenges is Kim Evert, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Western PA.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Empowering Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa

 This topic is of a mature nature and may not be suitable for all listeners

It's a sad and troubling fact that women young and old are being raped in Africa by men who believe it will cure them of AIDS. Rape, along with a lack of hygiene products, is causing many women to miss school on a regular basis. We'll talk with Linda Ambroso and Kathy Surma, two Pittsburgh women who, through their volunteer work with the Girl Child Network, are helping the young women in this region live safer and healthier lives.

Tapestries of Hope is a film that documents the experiences of some of the young women they've worked with in Zimbabwe.

To make a local donation to GCN, contact Kathy Surma ksurma2008@gmail.com

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Don't Just Sit There, Do Something About Climate Change

Ever more people are concerned about global warming and climate change but perhaps no group more so than women, since air quality issues caused by C02 emissions can have such damaging consequences on our children (asthma), babies and unborn children (mercury poisoning). We'll talk with Joylette Portlock who has launched DoSomethingAboutClimate.com, a humorous and informative volley to get people to listen, and act.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

The New Girl in Town, Vacationing for a Cause

A Habitat for Humanity Global Village in the Dominican Republic
Credit Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire / Flickr

While many people use their vacation to get away, soak up the sun and forget about the cares of the world, others vacation for a cause, such as Habitat for Humanity. If a trip like this is in your future, travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers tips for foreign travel including visas, health/safety precautions and more.

For travel volunteerism opportunities with some Pittsburgh based groups check out:

Global Links Pittsburgh

Amizade Global Service Learning

General Assembly
4:10 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Legislative Audit Finds More Spent, Less Stashed, and Few Recommendations Heeded

The annual audit report on the General Assembly’s internal finances shows lawmakers spent nearly $307 million last fiscal year and have continued a number of practices that auditors discourage.

Auditors are making some familiar recommendations to the General Assembly about how it manages its money. Legislative staff say 36 checkbooks are scattered throughout General Assembly offices. Auditors found they were riddled with errors, and at least one of them was used to pay an employee’s parking ticket.

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Art All Night
3:59 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Leave the Light On: Art All Night to Hold 16th Annual Event This Weekend

It's that time of year again when artists of all skill and experience levels descend on an empty warehouse in Lawrenceville to celebrate what has become one of the largest art events in the region. 

Art All Night will hold its 16th annual event starting at 4 p.m. Saturday at 4001 Willow St. in Lawrenceville.

Anyone can submit a work from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday. The art will then be put on display in the non-juried event. Artists will be asked if they want to offer their works for sale.

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Public Safety
3:42 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Approves Gunshot Detection System for Homewood

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to three bills that would pay $1.15 million to set up and operate a system to detect any gunfire in Homewood and report it to police.

The two companies that would be hired to install the pilot program told council that the technology provides a wealth of data to police and aids in capturing and prosecuting criminals, all using a tandem of rooftop microphones and streetlight-mounted cameras.

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Marcellus Shale
3:19 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Industry Group Tries To Improve Drilling Trucks' Safety Record

In June 2010, Pennsylvania State Police placed 250 trucks hauling wastewater or supporting shale drilling operations out of service along with 45 drivers. 

Three months later, in the next “Operation FracNET,” troopers removed 208 trucks and 64 drivers from Pennsylvania roads for everything from faulty brakes and lighting to permit violations.

In the most recent crackdown on shale industry trucks, a two-day period in March 2011, troopers pulled 131 vehicles and 14 drivers off the road.

Now gas drillers and truckers are trying to further reduce those numbers. 

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Pollution
2:49 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Pittsburgh Air Is Getting Cleaner, But It's Still Dirty

Pittsburgh’s air has gotten cleaner, but the city still ranks as one of the most polluted in the country.

That's according to the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report released Wednesday. According to the report, Pittsburgh ranks eighth in year-round particle pollution, the mix of tiny solid and liquid particles in the air. These particles can increase the risk of heart and lung disease and adverse birth outcomes.

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