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Gun Violence
3:40 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidates Offer Opinions on Gun Laws

(From left to right) CeaseFirePA's Regional Coordinator Rob Conroy and Pittsburgh mayoral candidates Jake Wheatley and Michael Lamb discussed universal background checks for all gun purchases in the state on Thursday.
Credit Emily Farah / 90.5 WESA

On Thursday more than 100 events, organized by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, hoped to bring attention to the country's gun violence policies.

Twenty of those events were in Pennsylvania, including one in the Hill District, organized by advocacy group CeaseFirePA.

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Sequestration
3:17 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Sequestration Cuts to Reduce Unemployment Benefits for Thousands in PA

Federal sequestration cuts will reduce the unemployment compensation checks of thousands of Pennsylvanians starting in April.

The roughly 10 percent dip amounts to between $7 and $61, depending on the size of each benefit check.

Sara Goulet, with the state Department of Labor and Industry, says people who have been on unemployment for more than 26 weeks will have to absorb a reduction.

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Pittsburgh
1:45 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Firm Hired to Examine How Pittsburgh Handles Cash

Following the indictment of former Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper on theft of public funds, a public accounting firm will examine the city’s internal control structure when it comes to cash.

The Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA), a financial oversight board, approved $90,000 for an analysis by Gleason and Associates.

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University Lecture
1:34 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Yale Professor Discusses Modern Racism in University of Pittsburgh Lecture

Ethnographer Elijah Anderson speaks at the University Of Pittsburgh on Modern Racism in the United States.
Credit Jared Adkins / 90.5 WESA

Racism isn’t gone — it has just changed form. That’s according to Yale sociology professor Elijah Anderson, who spoke at the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

“It’s a civil society," he said. "People can be quite parochial, ethnocentric, even racist. But under the canopy they typically present themselves as civilly. They can be white; they can be black; they can be Native American. They can be of various ethnicities — you can be ethnic, without being ethnocentric.”

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Pennsylvania National Guard
6:33 am
Thu March 28, 2013

State Senators Urge Action in DC to Stop Military Tech Furloughs

State lawmakers are prodding members of Congress to keep the Pennsylvania National Guard from having to furlough its technicians.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness is on a letter-writing campaign to fix what she sees as an oversight in the design of automatic federal spending cuts.

Republican Lisa Baker said while the sequester won't hit military personnel, it will mean once-a-week furloughs for military technicians.

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Health
6:24 am
Thu March 28, 2013

In Pittsburgh, an Effort to Bring Down the Black Community's Infant Mortality Rate

Dorretta Lemon, a registered nurse, visits at-risk, pregnant first-time mothers every month at their homes. She maintains her relationship with the mother and her infant until the child is 2 years old.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

When Sarah Murphy found out she was pregnant, she was initially shocked.

"I didn’t think I would have kids, and then I ended up having him when I was 39," she said. 

Her advanced age led to a medically complicated pregnancy. Her income wasn’t as high as she thought it should be to cover the associated costs.

And as the child of a black woman living in Allegheny County, Murphy’s baby was three times more likely than a white woman’s child to die before reaching his first birthday.

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Biking
10:08 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Plans for Bike Share Program Advance in Pittsburgh Council

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to legislation that sets up an account for a bike-share program in the city slated for 2014, although no city funds would be used for the $3 million initiative.

The committee vote Wednesday advanced two bills regarding "Pittsburgh Bike Share" to a full Council vote on Tuesday, where final approval is expected.

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State Budget
9:58 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Panel Says PA Budget Has Strong, Largely Negative Impact on Women

Panelists Jessie Ramey (standing), Chris Sandvig, LaTasha Mayes and Lisa Frank discuss the impacts of the proposed state budget on women.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the impact the state budget has on women was examined at a Women and Girls Foundation forum.

Slightly more than 51 percent of Pennsylvania’s population is made up of women, according to U.S. Census data. The state budget affects every resident of the state, but some argue that budget cuts to certain areas disproportionately affect women, especially women of color.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The New Girl in Town on Eco-Friendly Traveling

The Hotel Felix is a Silver LEED Certified boutique hotel in downtown Chicago
Credit Charles & Hudson / Flickr

From buildings to household products we're finding more and more ways to be environmentally conscious. So why not extend our sustainable lifestyles to our vacations?  Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us how we can apply eco-friendly awareness to our travels. 

Take a look at some green travel options:

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Watergate: Promoting a Legacy With a Fair-Minded Approach

President Nixon with edited transcripts of White House tape conversations during a broadcast of his address to the Nation in 1974.
Credit Wikipedia

The word Watergate carries so many powerful connotations in American culture. It describes a place, a crime, a cover-up, legal and congressional investigations...So when dedicating a place of honor to a dignitary like Richard Nixon, how do you provide a balanced representation? Tim Naftali, former director of the Richard M. Nixon Library and Museum talks about being tasked with producing a fair-minded representation of Nixon and the Watergate scandal. And Alexander Butterfield, is the deputy assistant to President Nixon, who told investigators that the president had been taping conversations. He talks about what it was like to provide the revelation that changed the trajectory of the Watergate affair. Both gentlemen are panelists for a University of Pittsburgh lecture titled Watergate: Third-Rate Burglary or Historical Turning Point? Catch a live stream of the talk on March 28th at 7:30pm

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The Book of Mormon

Mark Evans plays Elder Price in the Book of Mormon
Credit Twitter

Everywhere it goes, the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon is sold out. Pittsburgh is no exception. We sit down with Mark Evans, one of the stars of the touring show to talk about the themes of this controversial play and getting into character.

Carnegie Mellon University
4:56 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

CMU Students Create Device to Process Payments from Fingerprints

People may soon be able to charge purchases to their personal accounts with the tips of their fingers, thanks to a new invention from four students at Carnegie Mellon University.

Brian Groudan, Kelly Lau-Kee, Umang Patel and Christian Reyes came together in their senior year to create PayTango, a new technology that identifies a person's fingerprint for use as a human debit card.

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River Health
4:03 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

EPA: Two-Thirds Of PA River Miles in Poor Health for Aquatic Life

More than half of the nation’s river and stream miles are in poor condition for aquatic life. That’s according to the first comprehensive survey of river health by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Data was collected from about 2,000 sites across the country from 2008-09, and then federal, state and university scientists analyzed the information to determine how well the waterways support aquatic life and how major stressors might be affecting them.

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State Pensions
3:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Corbett Administration Expects State Pension Proposals to Withstand Court Challenge

The Corbett administration says proposed changes to state pensions will ultimately withstand a court challenge because they can be proven to serve the public good.

One piece of the governor’s plan would reduce future unearned benefits of current state and school district employees.

Public sector unions have promised a court battle if the change is signed into law, saying it would be struck down for breaching the state’s contract with workers.

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Health
3:07 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Pennsylvanians Eligible for Health Insurance Tax Credits

A new report from Families USA, a nonprofit group that advocates on behalf of health care consumers, says that 896,000 Pennsylvanians will be eligible for new health insurance premium tax credits in 2014.

These tax credits will pay for health coverage under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. Families will no longer have to pay for more than a set percentage of their income for health coverage.

“The lower your income, the higher your tax credit subsidy,” said Ron Pollack, Director of Families USA, “so it's tailored to help the people who need it the most.”

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2014 U.S. Gymnastics
3:02 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Tumbling to Pittsburgh: 2014 U.S. Gymnastics Championships

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald was at the announcement Wednesday at the CONSOL Energy Center.
Credit Emily Farah / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh can add the 2014 U.S. Gymnastics Championships to its hosting resume, along with the 2009 G-20 Summit, 2011 Winter Classic, 2012 NHL Draft and 2012 One Young World Conference.  

The gymnastics competition is coming to Pittsburgh for the first time from Aug. 21-24, 2014, at the CONSOL Energy Center. 

Steve Penny, President and CEO of the U.S. Gymnastics organization, said it's not just the newly-constructed arena in Uptown that made Pittsburgh appealing.

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Mayoral Race
1:23 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Ferlo, Four Unions Endorse Wagner for Mayor

State Sen. Jim Ferlo (right) watches as Darrin Kelly of the firefighters union endorses Jack Wagner for mayor. Ferlo also endorsed Wagner.
Credit Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Citing his long record of public service, a local state senator and four labor unions endorsed former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner for the Pittsburgh mayoral race.

On the steps of the City-County Building on Grant Street Wednesday morning, State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) announced his support for Wagner. Ferlo had filed nominating papers for the mayoral race but withdrew less than a week later.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

The Hubris of Power

Since his 2008 political scandal, Eliot Spitzer has had a strong media career. What conditions make political corruption so common? And how easily can powerful people rebound from their mistakes?
Credit Wikipedia

  Why do we continue to see people in powerful positions behaving badly? Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? We'll post this question to  Bob Oltmanns, President of OPR Group, LLC, an independent public relations consultancy and Joseph Sabino Mistick an associate professor at Duquesne University School of Law.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

President Taft at Rodef Shalom

President Taft visiting Rodef Shalom Temple in 1909
Credit Wikimedia

  On May 29, 1909, a Shabbat, President William Howard Taft became the first American President to speak  from the Bimah of a Jewish Congregation while in office. The Rodef Shalom Congregation, in Pittsburgh played host to the touring President. Archivist Martha Berg joins us to talk about Taft's visit to Pittsburgh and the importance of his speech.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Pop City Innovation News

Pop City innovation reporter Debra Smit
Credit Pop City Media

  Each week, the e-zine Pop City publishes stories of Pittsburgh’s newest innovations, startups and more. Pop City Tech and Innovation reporter Debra Smit joins us now for a look at Pittsburgh’s innovation news. Could Pittsburgh become a hub for "big data?"

Pennsylvania
6:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Duquesne Prof: PA Supreme Court All Talk, No Action on Vacancy Pick

One legal observer says the state Supreme Court is all talk, no action when it comes to making its own pick to replace the suspended justice who plans to resign in May.

The interim judge will fill the seat of suspended Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who’s resigning in May as she awaits sentencing for campaign corruption.

The high court’s chief justice suggests his colleagues might make their own choice for a replacement, preempting an appointment by the governor to fill the vacancy.

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Energy Efficiency
5:15 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Pilot Program Seeks to Help Allegheny Co. Families Deal with Energy Costs

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle applauds new energy initiative that seeks to prevent home foreclosure in Allegheny County.
Credit Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A pilot program in Allegheny County seeks to keep families in their homes by lowering their energy bills.

The Energy Efficiency Foreclosure Prevention Initiative (EEFPI) is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), ACTION-Housing, Inc. and four area utility companies.

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Veterans Affairs
4:32 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

VA Systems Would be Required to Report Instances of Legionella under New Casey Bill

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey will introduce a bill that would require VA facilities to report incidents of Legionnaires' disease.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is introducing a bill that would require any Veterans Affairs health system to report an incident of Legionnaires ’ disease and detection of the Legionella bacteria within 24 hours.

“To be blunt about this, we shouldn’t have to legislate this,” Casey said. “This should be standard practice at the VA, but it isn’t. Therefore we have to legislate and provide a measure of accountability.”

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Chautauqua Institution Lectures
3:20 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Retired Diplomat Nicholas Burns on US Policy Toward Iran

Retired diplomat Nicholas Burns believes there are three basic choices the U.S. could make in foreign policy regarding Iran. The first two, he said, are so "absurd" that they shouldn't be taken seriously. The third, though, is the path he believes in, because it's "practical and right in the middle."

Mayoral Race
2:51 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidate Wants More Neighborhood Engagement

Under a Michael Lamb administration the Pittsburgh Office of Neighborhood Initiatives would be renamed and have its powers expanded.

Lamb, a Democratic mayoral candidate and current City Controller, announced that if elected he would rename the department the Office of Neighborhood Engagement.

The current Office of Neighbor Initiatives oversees projects like Green Up Pittsburgh, an initiative that works to create green spaces out of vacant lots, and Operation Weed and Seed, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice to improve neighborhood safety.

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