State Government
6:27 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Lower Interest Rate Extended for State Loan Programs

The Corbett administration is sweetening the pot for a bit longer for businesses applying to participate in certain state loan initiatives.

A three-month pilot program offering a lower interest rate is being extended for applications submitted through June. The lower rate was inspired by a recommendation from a governor-appointed commission tasked with finding ways to spur investment in the manufacturing sector and support efforts to retain and create jobs.

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Downtown Pittsburgh
3:30 am
Fri April 5, 2013

1 in 4 Downtown Pittsburgh Residents Under 30

While Allegheny County is still the second oldest county in the U.S. in terms of residents' age, downtown Pittsburgh is bucking that trend.

According to the Census Bureau, about 17 percent (or 1 in 6) of the county's population is 65 years or older, but 27 percent of downtown Pittsburgh residents are under age 30. That's according to a new study by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), which also found that 45 percent are under age 40.

A similar study in 2012 indicated 47 percent and 26 percent of downtown residents were under 40 and 30 respectively.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Restoration & Renewal: A Tale of Two Theatres

The interior of the Palace Theatre in Greensburg after renovation
Westmoreland Cultural Trust

  Officials in McKees Rocks hope restoration of the Roxian Theatre will have the economic impact the Palace Theatre has had on Greensburg. We’ll discuss the importance of these theaters to their communities with Taris Vrcek, executive director of the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation and Michael Langer, president of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Fame High: The Discipline Behind the Glamour

Fame High shows the real life dramas of being a talented teenager at a performing arts school in LA
Credit CMU International Film Festival

  Oscar-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy joins us to talk about his latest feature length documentary Fame High which screens Saturday at the CMU International Film Festival. The film looks at the in-class and at-home drama involving students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. We'll talk about the pressures of being a talented young performer in a school full of talented young performers. Dennis Childers, a digital media instructor at CAPA High School in Pittsburgh joins us to talk about the benefits and pressures of attending an arts school.

See a trailer for the documentary Fame High

Economy & Business
9:00 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Remembering Billy Mays Jr. with Billy Mays Sr.

Famous Pitchman, Billy Mays Jr. used his boisterous persona to popularized brands such as OxyClean
Credit Sharese Ann Frederick / Wikipedia

  Considered America's greatest pitchman, Billy Mays Jr. could be found, day and night, selling products on TV commercials. Billy Mays Sr., author of the book My Son, Billy: A Father Remembers the Greatest Pitchman Ever talks about raising his son  in McKees Rocks.

Economic Growth Initiative
5:29 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Corbett Administration Hewing to New Rules for Grant Program

The Corbett administration says it’s trying to make an executive branch grant program leaner without having to wait for legislation.

Scroll through a list of projects that have gotten money since 1986 from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which is controlled by the governor’s office, and you see some big numbers: $35 million. $85 million. $185 million dollars.

Sometimes the grants went to train stations and business parks. Sometimes they went to convention centers and stadiums.

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Election 2013
4:59 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Black Pittsburghers Challenge Mayoral Candidates on a 'Black Agenda'

The newly formed Pittsburgh Black Political Convention will send to the four remaining Democratic mayoral candidates its “Black Agenda” later this week.
Credit Mark Nootbar / 90.5 WESA

A newly formed group hoping to improve the political clout of Pittsburgh’s black community is calling out the four remaining Democratic mayoral candidates to respond to what it is calling a “Black Agenda.”

The Pittsburgh Black Political Convention was formed this year and will send to each candidate its “Black Agenda” later this week. The candidates will then be asked not only for a written response, but also to appear for what will amount to an oral test before a community gathering in the Hill District on April 19.

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History Of Pittsburgh
4:25 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Rare Photos Recall Pittsburgh's Reaction to Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death

Marchers gather outside St. Benedict the Moor Church in the Hill District.
Credit Charles Martin / University Of Pittsburgh

Forty-five years ago this month, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. sparked protests and riots across the country.

On Friday, the University of Pittsburgh Library system will recount a protest held in Pittsburgh on Sunday April 7, 1968, with a program that includes a series of photos taken by freelance photographer Charles Martin.

Larry Glasco, a University of Pittsburgh history professor, said the photographs bring a new view to the event that was much more peaceful than many other marches and rallies seen around the U.S.

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CMU Energy Research
3:56 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

$30 Million CMU Grant to Allow for Expanded Energy Research

Carnegie Mellon University has received its largest private foundation grant in the school’s history.

A $30 million grant provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation will go toward a new institute to coordinate the university’s energy activities.

CMU President Jared Cohon said all seven colleges of the university are working on the topic of energy in some form. He said the grant will allow more collaboration between those colleges and their work.

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Marcellus Shale
3:28 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

CMU Symposium Examines Implications of Shale Gas on Regional, US Economy

Panelists Gerald Holder (left), Anthony Cugini, director of NETL, Peter Molinaro, and Russel Crockett, senior vice president commercial for Texas Petrochemical, participate in a symposium at Carnegie Mellon University Thursday that examined the role of shale gas in manufacturing, transportation and the environment.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Department of Energy estimates that gas from shale is expected to account for roughly half of the country’s natural gas supply by 2040. Pennsylvania is playing a major role, thanks to development of Marcellus Shale.

A symposium at Carnegie Mellon University Thursday examined the role of shale gas in manufacturing, transportation and the environment.

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10:15 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Millionaire Tom Knox Won't Run for Pa. Governor

Millionaire business executive Tom Knox says he won't run for Pennsylvania governor and is instead considering another bid for Philadelphia mayor.

Knox said in a statement Thursday he has decided not to run for governor. In recent weeks, other Democrats have been announcing plans to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in his expected 2014 re-election bid.

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Liquor Privatization
6:58 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Corbett Warns Senate: Finish Liquor by July

The liquor privatization bill that passed the state House is complex.

It has been years in the making. Its bouquet contains elements of many differing retail interests.

But unlike a fine wine, Gov. Tom Corbett isn’t asking the state Senate to let it breathe or drink it in slowly.

The governor’s message here is: Get it down quickly.

At a press conference near Reading on Wednesday, he turned to the lone state senator in the room with a warning:

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Veterans Affairs
6:45 am
Thu April 4, 2013

At a House Inside the VA, Injured Vets Prepare to Return Home

Ron Dambrosia, 68, of East McKeesport, was in the Army for 11 years. Dambrosia developed a subdural hematoma, or a brain lesion, a few months ago and underwent surgery twice. While at MyHome, he worked with therapists to practice daily living tasks like making coffee.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

There is a house inside a building at the Pittsburgh Veterans Affair’s Aspinwall campus.

The house has everything one would expect – a doorbell, cable, flatware, a bedroom. There’s even a garage (but with half of a car).

The 1,100 square foot house, called MyHome, is a part of the VA’s Community Living Center, and it's designed to help patients recovering from physical or mental injuries transition safely back to their homes.

But that transition takes practice, according to VA Pittsburgh Rehab Site Supervisor Jason Fay.

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Pittsburgh City Council
3:30 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Approves $7.2M for New Vehicles, Police Cars

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approved a $7.2 million bill to purchase new police vehicles and other additions to the city fleet, setting up the legislation for a final vote next week.

For the Bureau of Police, the list includes 31 new patrol cars, 12 new police motorcycles, nine unmarked cars and four K-9 vehicles.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

George Mitchell on Brokering Peace in Northern Ireland

U.S. Special Envoy and former Senator George Mitchell in Tel Aviv, Israel
Credit Matty Stern / Wikipedia--U.S. State Department

Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell has spent his career facilitating peace in conflict-ridden areas of the world, especially Northern Ireland. Mitchell's work with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 brought new stability between Ireland, the UK and Northern Ireland's political parties. Mitchell will be honored this week by La Roche College for his dedication to peace and justice.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Bringing Belfast Northern Ireland to Pittsburgh

Dan Rooney meeting with teens from Pittsburgh and Northern Ireland in the Press Room of Heinz Field
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Earlier this week a group of Amizade and Youth Work exchange students from the Belfast, Northern Ireland Parish of Holy Cross gathered with Pittsburgh area students for a special talk with Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney. Mr. Rooney is back running the Steelers after spending the past four years serving as the United States Ambassador to Ireland. He sat down and talked with us about how his experiences as a team owner informed his approach to diplomacy, and why it’s important to bring together differing groups. We also spoke with the students from Ireland and Pittsburgh about how they were inspired by their day-long interaction with a different culture.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

The New Girl in Town Discovers Columbus, OH

The night skyline of Columbus, Ohio
Credit John Mueller / Wikipedia

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme paraphrases the title of a Philip Roth novella and says, "Hello, Columbus." Just a short drive away, she'll tell us what the intrepid traveler can discover in Columbus, Ohio, the capital city of the Buckeye State.

Find out more about the places Elaine has visited in Columbus:

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Juvenile Justice
5:36 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Ruling Offers Juvenile Killers Possibility for Parole

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last June that juveniles cannot be sentenced to mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole is now having repercussions in Pennsylvania.  

The high court ruling meant the commonwealth had to determine what to do with the approximately 400 juveniles tried in adult proceedings who fell into that category.

Last week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed out the sentence for Qu'eed Batts, of Northampton County, who was 14 when he fatally shot a man. The state's top court ordered that Batts be re-sentenced.

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Medical Technology
5:20 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

UPMC Officer Discusses Disparities Created by New Medical Tech

Some patients prefer a certain type of doctor. Others don’t understand how to find their medical information via the internet.

Advances in medical technology, specifically in how medical information is given to patients, create a new medical disparity, especially for the elderly, according to Candi Castleberry-Singleton, the chief inclusion and diversity officer at UPMC.

Castleberry-Singleton, who spoke at the University of Pittsburgh today, doesn’t see new technology as a problem, but as an opportunity to be proactive. 

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Police Slush Fund Scandal
4:59 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Pittsburgh Council on Track to Reform Police Detail Fee that Led to Slush Fund

Pittsburgh Finance Director Scott Kunka (left) and Deputy Police Chief Paul Donaldson (right) answer City Council's questions on reforms to an administrative fee for off-duty police details.
Credit Noah Brode/90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to legislation that would divert an administrative fee for off-duty police details into a special trust fund, cleaning up a process that led to the February slush fund scandal and the ouster of Police Chief Nathan Harper.

Under a bill from Council President Darlene Harris, the city would finally codify a fee to companies that hire Pittsburgh police officers for special event duties.

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4:52 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Student-Designed Exhibit Explores Journey of Immigrants in US

Participants pick a "dream card" then go through a simulation of experiences an undocumented immigrant may have.
Credit La Roche College

Graphic design students at La Roche College have taken the immigrant experience and turned it into a hands-on exhibition.

“Their intent was that their colleagues, students, peers would experience this simulation and have an experience similar to what someone would have who was coming from the southern border country,” said Sister Michele Bisbey, professor of religious studies at La Roche.

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3:39 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Boy Choir Reborn in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh will soon have a new choral group.

The Pittsburgh Boy Choir will be the first multi-genre boy choir for the city since at least 1998. Artistic director Todd Alexander said the group will perform many types of music.

“Most of the choral music that has been composed is in the tradition of the church," he said. "But there are many secular pieces and many popular pieces that have been written more recently, and we will be touching on all of those genres."

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12:40 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Bureau of Labor Statistics Seeks More Specific Job Descriptions

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wants to make sure employees are performing duties they're capable of doing.

In an effort to help the Social Security Administration's clients with disability claims, the bureau is testing an hour-long telephone survey that questions employers about the employee job descriptions.

The new Occupational Requirements Survey will include questions about physical demands and environmental conditions of jobs.

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12:03 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Corbett Meets With Sebelius: No Decision Made on Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Tom Corbett met with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday night to discuss, among other things, potential Medicaid expansion in the state. 

Expanding Medicaid, the federal-state medical assistance program, would cover thousands more people in Pennsylvania. Part of the Affordable Care Act, governors have the option to decide if they will expand coverage in their states.

Corbett has said he won't because he doesn't think the state can sustain the costs of the program over time. 

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10:32 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Pittsburgh Mayoral Underdog A.J. Richardson Arrested for DUI

A.J. Richardson
Credit 90.5 WESA

A self-described community activist running an underdog campaign for Pittsburgh mayor may be an even longer shot now that he's been charged with drunken driving.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first reported the arrest early Wednesday of 36-year-old Abdula Jamal Richardson. A woman hung up the phone when The Associated Press called a number listed for Richardson on a campaign-related website. An email message came back as undeliverable.

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