Essential Pittsburgh
10:05 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Speaking Volumes: Eric Shiner

Warhol Museum Director Eric Shiner loves memoirs, manga, and the books of John Waters.
Credit Andy Warhol Museum

Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner’s reading interests are eclectic in a way that Andy would surely appreciate. Catch his discussion with 90.5 WESA Morning Edition host, Josh Raulerson.

Economy & Business
5:06 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Allegheny River Towns Enterprise Zone Expanding Role – Housing, Recreation Projects on Tap

Sharpsburg main street, like several others, has suffered from years of decline
Credit Josepeh/Flickr

Allegheny River Towns Enterprise Zone (ARTEZ) completed the Enterprise Zone program in June 2012, but thanks to new funding it will continue its work in Millvale, Etna, Sharpsburg, Aspinwall, Blawnox, O’Hara, and Shaler. Previously those who worked for ARTEZ focused solely on business development opportunities.

Read more
Carnegie Library
3:47 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Carnegie Library Gets More Revenue than Expected

Hours at several Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh branches could soon have longer hours.
Credit Joseph A. / Flickr

The Carnegie Library will be adding services and increasing hours at some of its 19 locations in the City of Pittsburgh because the property tax reassessment in Allegheny County has increased this year’s expected proceeds by $900,000.  Unlike local governments and school districts, libraries are not subject to the anti-windfall provisions of state law that require a millage reduction to limit tax increases.

Read more
Jerry Sandusky
3:38 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Special Prosecutor to Probe Penn St. Grand Jury

A Pennsylvania judge has named a special prosecutor to examine whether secrecy rules were violated in relation to the grand jury that investigated Jerry Sandusky and three former Penn State administrators who are currently facing criminal charges.

Lawyer James M. Reeder was given six months to look into the matter, according to a Feb. 8 order from Judge Barry Feudale.

Read more
The Pennsylvanian
3:00 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Policy Group Tells State to Evaluate Subsidizing AMTRAK


A local public policy group is asking the commonwealth to ask some hard questions before subsidizing AMTRAK's ride from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg on a train called The Pennsylvanian

The passenger rail train service has lost some federal funds, and is now looking to Pennsylvania for $5.7 million.

Read more
Vioxx Settlement
1:17 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

State Drug Program Gets $6.9 Million Boost After Vioxx Lawsuit

Pennsylvania has settled an $8.25 million lawsuit against drug manufacturer Merck for failure to disclose risks involved with the prescription painkiller, Vioxx.  

James A. Donahue III, Acting Executive Deputy Attorney General for Public Protection said if Vioxx's risks were known, the drug would not have been distributed as widely.

Read more
11:28 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Adjustments Coming To Port Authority Bus Routes

While no major overhauls are in the works, the Port Authority of Allegheny County is planning to alter some bus routes.

Beginning March 17, approximately 35 routes will be tweaked. Heather Pharo, spokesperson for the Port Authority, said the changes are for a variety of reasons including overcrowding along some routes.

Read more
Public Art
9:21 am
Wed February 27, 2013

ART/DESIGNPGH Updates Council

(R-L) Barbara Goldstein, Maggie Connor and Noor Ismail update Councilman Daniel Lavelle on the ARTPGH and DESIGHPGH efforts at a recent city council post agenda meeting.
Credit Tim Camerato / 90.5 WESA

Officials working with ARTPGH and DESIGNPGH presented City Council Tuesday with an update on their progress in creating guidelines to how city officials and artists can best plan urban art projects.

Maggie Connor, a Principal at Urban Design Associates and DESIGNPGH consultant, said to create their “urban design manual” they’ve made two management committees, had 13 public meetings, and put together a survey for the public. She said they’ve received a total of 2,500 comments.

Read more
3:28 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Senator Casey Still Hoping to Head Off Sequester

Despite a rapidly approaching deadline, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is still hopeful Congress can reach an agreement before Friday to prevent the implementation of the automatic federal budget cuts, known as the sequester.

“I think you have to work up to the last minute,” said Senator Casey, “And we’ve seen a lot can happen sometimes in the last day or couple of hours.” The Senator’s proposed plan combines new revenue sources as well as spending cuts to save $110 billion.

Read more
3:12 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Thermostat Challenge Marks International Polar Bear Day

One of two polar bears at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Credit Deanna Garcia/90.5 WESA News

Wednesday February 27th is International Polar Bear Day, a day aimed at raising awareness to the continuing threat to polar bear habitat and encourage action to reduce individual carbon footprints.

Read more
Police Slush Fund Scandal
2:41 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Lamb: Poor Bookkeeping Allowed Pittsburgh Police Slush Fund

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb said poor accounting practices in the city treasurer's office opened the door for possible misappropriation of city revenue to a special fund used improperly by Pittsburgh police.
Credit Noah Brode/90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb said the city’s Finance Department has misrepresented off-duty police pay by lumping in a city administrative fee along with the officers' hourly rate.

Lamb said this is the type of poor bookkeeping that could have allowed the department to skim off funds to a private slush fund while still paying officers the full amount owed to them.

Read more
2:34 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Chambers, Business Groups Call on Harrisburg to Enable Municipal Pension Reform

The Coalition for Sustainable Communities (CSC) is calling on state lawmakers to include municipal pension reforms in upcoming deliberations.

“We have literally dozens and dozens of municipalities with very severe pension problems across Pennsylvania. These are pension problems that, without changes to pension laws, municipalities will never be able to pay off,” said Brian Jensen, executive director of the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh, and member of the CSC.

Read more
Government & Politics
11:24 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Federal Spending Cuts Would Have Broad Impact in Region

A White House-issued report on how automatic spending cuts between March and September will affect individual states shows Pennsylvania losing about $240 million.  The biggest losses would come in education and defense.  

About 26,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing their gross pay by more than $150 million.  Funding for primary and secondary education would decrease by more than $26 million; and help for children with disabilities would be affected, as would Head Start and Early Head Start.

Read more
Government & Politics
11:21 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Sequestration's Impact On Military Personnel in PA Could Be Huge

Barring Congressional action, the automatic federal budget cuts known as “the sequester” are coming Friday.

If the sequester is an ax, it might be coming down hardest in Pennsylvania on the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which oversees the state’s National Guard.  

So Adjutant General Wesley Craig is trying to get creative in order to avoid sending 17-hundred technicians of the Pennsylvania National Guard on a forced, unpaid, once-a-week furlough starting in April.

Read more
Government & Politics
11:19 am
Tue February 26, 2013

With Liquor Stores in Hot Seat, PA Lawmakers Linger on Modernization Ideas

The fight over who gets to sell liquor in Pennsylvania is brewing in Harrisburg.
Credit Siri Schwartzman/Flickr

Legislation is coming soon to tee-up a liquor privatization plan unveiled by Governor Corbett, even as lawmakers appear to be toying with the idea of incremental changes more than major overhaul.

At a routine budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, the emphasis on modernization versus privatization didn’t bode well for the effort to sell off the state’s roughly 600 liquor stores.

Read more
11:13 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Altoona and UPMC Move Forward on Deal

The Altoona Regional Health System could soon be UPMC Altoona.
Credit tom16602 / Flickr

  The Altoona Regional Health System says it is moving forward with a proposed affiliation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Officials said Monday that the Altoona health system's board of directors and parent company Central Pennsylvania Health Services Corp. have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to negotiate the deal.

If approved, the two would sign a definitive agreement to affiliate.

Read more
Penn State scandal
11:09 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Corbett Defends Antitrust Suit vs. NCAA

Gov. Tom Corbett argued in a court document filed late Monday that the NCAA has been trying to use his pending antitrust lawsuit against it over the Penn State penalties in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal to combat what he describes as a groundswell of public criticism.

Corbett said the judge should not grant the NCAA's request to dismiss the case, saying college sports' governing body made a factual error when it said the penalties were voted on by the university's trustees.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Cyber Crime on the Rise

How vulnerable are you to ID theft?
Credit IntelFree Press / Flickr

According to a survey released last week 12.6 million Americans were victimized by identity theft in 2012. We'll learn how this happens, why this crime is on the rise and what you can do to protect yourself with Mike Prusisnki, Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist of the cyber intelligence company Tiversa.

Selected Key Findings from the survey

Identity fraud incidents and amount stolen increased—The number of identity fraud incidents increased by one million more consumers over the past year, and the dollar amount stolen increased to $21 billion, a three-year high but still significantly lower than the all-time high of $47 billion in 2004. This equates to 1 incident of identity fraud every 3 seconds.

1 in 4 data breach notification recipients became a victim of identity fraud—This year, almost 1 in 4 consumers that received a data breach letter became a victim of identity fraud, which is the highest rate since 2010. This underscores the need for consumers to take all notifications seriously. Not all breaches are created equal. The study found consumers who had their Social Security number compromised in a data breach were 5 times more likely to be a fraud victim than an average consumer.

Fraudsters misuse information fewer days than before—Consumer information was misused for an average of 48 days in 2012, down from 55 days in 2011 and 95 days in 2010. Misuse time was down for all types of fraud including fraud on cards, loans, bank accounts, mobile phone bills and other types of fraud due to consumer and industry action.  More than 50 percent of victims were actively detecting fraud using financial alerts, credit monitoring or identity protection services and by monitoring their accounts.

Small retailers are losing out—Fraud victims are more selective where they shop after an incident, and small businesses were the most dramatically impacted. The study found that 15 percent of all fraud victims decided to change behaviors and avoid smaller online merchants. This is a much greater percentage than those that avoid gaming sites or larger retailers.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

The Business of Event Planning with Rebecca Harris

Essential Pittsburgh business contributor Rebecca Harris lets you know what it takes to start an event planning business.
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Are you the one who always organizes get togethers for family and friends? Are you a social butterfly? From marathons to corporate gatherings, event planning is a highly profitable business, with a surprisingly low startup cost. And the industry has grown tremendously in the past decade. This week our business contributor Rebecca Harris looks at the business of event planning.

Liquid Allergy Medication
4:53 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Afraid of Needles? Liquid Meds Could Make Allergy Shots Unnecessary

Allergy desensitization shots like these could become a thing of the past for sufferers of certain types of allergies
Credit Neeta Lind / Flickr

Medicine taken “under the tongue” might replace traditional allergy injections, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunotherapy.

In a Phase III clinical trial researchers gave patients either a placebo or liquid immunotherapy.

Patients who took the medicine through ragweed season—about eight to 16 weeks— experienced a 43 percent decrease in symptoms compared to those on the placebo. 

Read more
Government & Politics
3:54 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Melvin Conviction Could Lead to Judicial Election Changes

Judges of the Pennsylvania Superior Court could someday be chosen through a merit system rather than partisan elections.
Credit Unified Judicial System of PA

The conviction of suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin on campaign corruption charges is being used as a springboard by an activist group looking to end partisan elections for judges.  Melvin was found guilty of misusing state-paid staff to help run her campaign for the state’s highest court.

“You realize there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we are choosing judges, “said Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts Executive Director Lynn Marks.  “After all this could only happen in a system where we elect judges.”

Read more
Carnegie Museum of Art
3:45 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Artist-Designed Play Sculpture Ready In Late April Outside Carnegie Museum

The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh breaks ground for a new piece of art that is also a playground.
Credit Carnegie Museum Art / Twitter

A "Lozziwurm" play sculpture among the trees will be ready near the Carnegie Museum of Art's main entrance in Oakland.  The "Lozziwurm" is a colorful, twisting, tubular play structure designed by Swiss artist Yvan Pestalozzi in 1972. This is the first US installation of a "Lozziwurm" and it will be open to the public.

The "Lozziwurm" is one of several projects leading up to the 2013 Carnegie International, which opens October 5. It reflects the International’s explicit engagement with the city of Pittsburgh, the museum’s patrons, and conceptions of play.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:40 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Selecting a New Chief of Police

With Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper out, what should be considered when selecting a new chief?
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When the police chief of a major U.S. city steps down, what challenges are involved in the selection of a new leader? We'll discuss this issue with Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a law enforcement service that provides education and technical assistance to police departments throughout the country.

Essential Pittsburgh
3:13 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

City Council News with Noah Brode

90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode covers Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Council.
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode gives us a look at how Pittsburgh city council is reacting to the resignation of police chief Nate Harper and attempting to push for police department transparency.

Last week, members of Pittsburgh city council proposed a bill that would allow the city to hire a consultant to advise on "examination and selection" policies for police officers.  Another bill would provide money to the Community College of Allegheny County for applicants to prepare for the examinations. Councilman Ricky Burgess has also introduced a measure that would require the bureau of police to publicize its operating procedures annually, to increase transparency.

Doyle on Sequestration
2:17 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Doyle Predicts Sequester "Will Happen on Friday"

Pittsburgh area Congressman says sequester can harm Western PA in the long-term.
Credit US House of Representatives

By the end of the week, the nation's spending plan could take a $85 billion dip.  The cuts, which have been dubbed "the sequester," could harm sectors including education and small business, according to U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14)  He said that's one reason why he voted against the measure last year.

Read more