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Essential Pittsburgh
4:33 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

With A New Governor In The New Year, Will PA Have New Options For Healthcare?

Credit Tom Wolf / Flickr

Carnegie Mellon University Health Law professor Gary Kaplan joins us to talk about how Pennsylvania’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act could change under the Wolf administration.

Professor Kaplan represents private employers in advising them on health care plan options. So what do employers need to know about the UPMC and Highmark contract in 2015?

Kaplan explains that Wolf is interested in going with a different plan for the implementation of the Medicaid expansion than what Tom Corbett had planned. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:08 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

MoonMail Raises Questions About Commercial Space Flight and Space Freight

Credit Astrobotic / www.astrobotic.com

So, your life's dream has always been to send something to the moon? You may soon have your chance. A Pittsburgh company called Astrobotic is introducing a new service called MoonMail that will allow individuals to send their keepsakes to the surface of the moon. 

But with whose permission, and for what purpose? Astrobotic CEO John Thornton joins us to talk about the future of space freight.

Thornton describes Astrobotic as a “lunar logistics company” -- something like FedEx or UPS but with service to the moon. There’s been a great amount of interest in lunar freight, explains Thornton, including a plan to put a tiny house on the moon’s surface.

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Federal Budget
3:00 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Casey: 'Bipartisan Frustration Over Budget'

"It's hard to make predictions around here and be accurate," says U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) about the fate of the $1.1 trillion budget.

It's now up to the Senate to pass the huge  spending bill to keep the government running through the end of the current fiscal year — Sept. 30.  

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Health
2:42 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Veterans' Concerns Addressed at Quarterly Town Hall at Pittsburgh VA

A few dozen veterans gathered at the VA Pittsburgh Hospital in Oakland Friday to discuss any and all concerns they may have about the system.

“It’s a really wide variety of subjects that come up,” said VA Pittsburgh spokesman Mike Marcus, “anything from changes to benefits, healthcare – different pieces that come up around that – as well as questions that come up around some of the controversies that have plagued the VA over the last year or so.”

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Arts & Culture
6:56 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Social Club for the Weekend of Dec. 12

As the holidays approach, this week there’s a guest on tap for the Social Club: Vito Gerasole of Natrona Bottling Company and Girasole in Shadyside joins Yelp’s Rachel and 90.5 WESA’s Josh. He stops by to answer some pressing questions. For instance, is it soda or pop? Listen in for why, “Josh doesn’t give presents for his kids! He’s a Grinch.”

This weekend’s events:

Neighborhood Flea at the Pittsburgh Public Market

Superfriends Holiday Market: 12 Days Until Christmas

Giveaway
6:27 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Donate Now and Enter to Win Our Lewis Black Ticket Giveaway

Lewis Black
Credit AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file

Two lucky winners will win a pair of tickets to see Lewis Black at Heinz Hall on Jan. 10. Everyone who donates between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12 will automatically be entered for a chance to win. No pledge is necessary, but please consider a tax deductible donation to WESA.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:08 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Friday Rundown: Will Personal Items Sent to the Moon Be Viewed as Trash or Treasure?

What do you think about the future of commercial spaceflight resembling FedEx or UPS?
Credit Stephen Rahn / Flickr

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

NFL Owners OK Tougher Penalties for Domestic Violence

NFL owners have voted unanimously to adopt six game minimum suspensions for domestic or sexual violence and other crimes. The changes come after the NFL was criticized for its handling of alleged off-field violence by high profile players. But will the players go along? We'll talk with John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State.

High Policy Weeds of Health Care

We’ll talk with Carnegie Mellon University Health Law professor Gary Kaplan about how Pennsylvania’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act could change under the Wolf administration. Professor Kaplan represents private employers in advising them on health care plan options. So what do employers need to know about the UPMC and Highmark contract in 2015?

Send Your Stuff to the Moon

So, your life's dream has always been to send something to the moon? You may soon have your chance. A Pittsburgh company called Astrobotic is introducing a new service called "MoonMail" that will allow individuals to send their keepsakes to the surface of the moon. But with who's permission, and for what purpose? We'll talk with Astrobotic CEO John Thornton about the future of space freight.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:11 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Sexual Assault on College Campuses

A campus sign from a University of Oregon Rape Awareness initiative in 2013
Credit Wolfram Burner / Flickr

According to our guest Vice President of Government Relations for the American Association of University Women, Lisa Maatz, we’re seeing more outrage from student advocates, survivors and politicians regarding sexual assault on college campuses.

She and Julie Evans, Director of Prevention and Crisis Services at Pittsburgh Action Against Rape talk about how universities can better deal with this issue.

Essential Pittsburgh
6:02 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

How Media Coverage of Sexual Assault Could Be Improved

Protests outside the University of VA Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in late November after Rolling Stone published an article titled "A Rape on Campus"
Credit Bob Mical / Flickr

In November, Rolling Stone published a story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, relying on the account of the victim. 

The magazine later apologized to readers, revealing it believed her story contained inaccuracies. We'll discuss the most recent developments with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman and Jeff Ritter, Communications Department Chair at La Roche College.

Essential Pittsburgh
5:47 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Finding Winter Warmth in a Bed and Breakfast Getaway

The opulent Buhl Mansion in Sharon, PA has been ranked as one of America's top 10 romantic inns, by the National Register of Historic Places
Credit Jon-Mark Davey / Flickr

Looking for a way to de-stress from the holidays? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some bed and breakfast getaways in the Commonwealth. 

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Health
5:28 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Website Aims to Clear Confusion of Highmark/UPMC Contract Termination

The state is launching a website to help consumers through the impending termination of a contract between a Western Pennsylvania insurer and the region's dominant hospital and outpatient network.

Officials said they're posting information to stayInformed.pa.gov about changes taking effect Jan. 1 when most Highmark subscribers lose in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals. This change has raised many questions, and they have been fielded through the PA Department of Insurance.

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Station News
4:28 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

WESA General Manager DeAnne Hamilton Honored as 'Woman of Excellence'

90.5 WESA General Manager DeAnne Hamilton is one of this year's recipients of the New Pittsburgh Courier's 50 Women of Excellence Awards.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

For a seventh year, the New Pittsburgh Courier has honored “top caliber women in the Pittsburgh area” through its 50 Women of Excellence Awards. This year’s recipients include legacy winners Alma Speed Fox and Katie Everette Johnson as well as 90.5 WESA General Manager DeAnne Hamilton.

“The contributions of these women are what aids in making Pittsburgh ‘the most livable city,’ “ says Rod Doss, editor and publisher of the New Pittsburgh Courier. 

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Health
2:13 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Allegheny County Reports Rise in Whooping Cough Cases

The Allegheny County Health Department is urging testing, treatment and vaccination for pertussis as a growing number of cases are being reported.

From Jan. 1 through Nov. 30 this year there were 140 confirmed cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. That’s compared to the average of 66 reported cases in the same time period over the last ten years.

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Health
2:07 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Pennsylvania's Heath Ranking Remains Steady

Pennsylvania’s health ranking has stayed steady over the past quarter century. So says a report from The United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association.

The rankings are done with the purpose of providing a better understanding of health of people and communities across the country and states.

In 2014, Pennsylvania moved up a place to the 28th healthiest state. The state has seen some improvements over the years, such as more students graduating high school and higher immunization rates. And smoking has declined.

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Environment & Energy
12:49 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Power of 32 Kicks Off Energy Conference

More than 300 people filled a ballroom at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh Thursday to devise the framework for a regional energy development plan.

Representatives from more than 20 energy-related organizations led the event, trying to pinpoint key issues to address in the energy development plan.

Pittsburgh and the surrounding 32 county region have a long history of being energy innovators, according to Power of 32 Implementation Committee Chairman Greg Babe, but the area lacks vision and strategy.

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Government & Politics
10:02 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Audit Finds Squishy 'Jobs Created' Figures

The state’s top fiscal watchdog says job-creation programs need more accountability to ensure taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.

An audit covering 2007 through 2010, before the Corbett administration was in place, found squishy jobs figures among businesses that received nearly $213 million in grants and loans.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said that while nearly 97 percent of promised jobs were delivered by all the state-assisted businesses, the count relies on affidavits from the participating companies, not their actual payroll records.

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City Government
7:51 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Personnel Additions in Building Inspection, Solicitor’s Office Pass City Council

With three weeks left before Pittsburgh City Council must approve the 2015 operating and capital budgets, the nine-member body considered four additional budget amendments Wednesday.

One amendment would create the position of government and community affairs coordinator in the new Department of Permits, Licenses, & Inspections.

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:49 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Thursday Rundown: What Can We Do to Deal With Sexual Violence on a College Campus?

What does it take to make it clear that "no means no"?
Credit roga muffin / flickr

These topics air Thursday December 11, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Sexual Assault on College Campuses

According to our guest Vice President of Government Relations for the American Association of University Women, Lisa Maatz, we’re seeing more outrage from student advocates, survivors and politicians regarding sexual assault on college campuses. She and Julie Evans, Director of Prevention and Crisis Services at Pittsburgh Action Against Rape talk about how universities can better deal with this issue.  

Rolling Stone's Rape Story

In November, Rolling Stone published a story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, relying on the account of the victim. The magazine later apologized to readers, revealing it believed her story contained inaccuracies. We'll discuss these developments with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman and Jeff Ritter, Communications Department Chair at La Roche College.

Bed and Breakfast

Looking for a way to de-stress from the holidays? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some bed and breakfast getaways in the commonwealth.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:21 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Cathy Lewis Long Explores the Future of Pittsburgh Education

The Sprout Fund's Cathy Lewis Long in Studio A with our own Paul Guggenheimer.
Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Last week educational visionaries from the area who are rethinking education gathered for their annual summit. As part of the WESA’s Life of Learning Initiative we’ll explore what’s on the educational horizon with Cathy Lewis Long, Executive Director & President for The Sprout Fund.

Essential Pittsburgh
4:16 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

7 Cold Weather Races for Dedicated Runners

Credit János Balázs / Flickr

Like the postman, rain, snow or dark of night can't keep some runners indoors.

If you’re a dedicated runner and can’t wait until the nice weather returns we’ve got good news for you.

Fitness contributor Joe Vennare joins us with information about seven cold weather races taking place in Pittsburgh this winter.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:09 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Riverlife President & CEO Lisa Schroeder Looks Back on 15 Years of Development

Credit Joseph / Flickr

Riverlife recently announced the departure of President and CEO Lisa Schroeder. Before she leaves the Steel City we’ve invited her to Studio A for an exit interview about the recreation, economic and ecological aspects of Pittsburgh’s river fronts.

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Education
3:39 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Heinz Endowments Invests $9 Million in Nationwide Early Learning Effort

A national campaign aimed at increasing access to early childhood learning programs is getting a boost from one of Pittsburgh’s biggest charities.

The Heinz Endowments announced $9 million in funding for Invest in US, a program unveiled by President Obama at Wednesday’s White House Summit on Early Childhood Education. According to the White House website, Invest in US challenges public and private partners, business leaders, philanthropists, advocates, elected officials, and individuals to expand high-quality early childhood education.

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Education
3:26 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Pitt Med Students Stage 'Die-In' to Protest Racial Injustice

University of Pittsburgh medical students stage a 'die-in' at Scaife Hall.
Credit 90.5 WESA / Michael Lynch

Dozens of University of Pittsburgh medical students wearing white lab coats and surgical masks lay in the lobby of Scaife Hall Wednesday as part of a national “die-in” to raise awareness of racial injustices.

Students played dead for 4 minutes and 30 seconds to represent the 4 hours and 30 minutes 18-year-old Michael Brown’s body lay in the street after being shot and killed by a white police officer in August in Ferguson, Mo.

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City Government
3:13 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Property Tax Hike Receives Preliminary Approval in City Council

Pittsburgh Finance Director Paul Leger (center) made his case for a millage increase before City Council Wednesday. He was joined by treasurer Margaret Lanier (left) and assistant treasurer Ruth Pompey.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would raise property taxes by one-half mill, which works out to about $40 a year for a home worth $100,000.

City Finance Director Paul Leger says the city is currently operating at “bare bones” and that failure to pass the millage increase would put the city in violation of Act 47.

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Transportation
7:41 am
Wed December 10, 2014

The State of PA's Bridges, Part 3: Inspecting and Managing Them More Efficiently

Steve Haluska inspects the floor beams of the second level of the Fort Pitt Bridge in Pittsburgh.
Credit Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

This is the third story of a three-part series on the state's bridges.

About seven years ago, the Bridge Maintenance Engineer for the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Lee Floyd, was concerned about one of his bridge’s ability to hold up while a replacement was built. He placed sensors on the bridge to monitor how it behaved and found that actually he could keep it open without any temporary repairs.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Wolf Sets Up Self-Policing Measures For Inauguration, Transition

Governor-elect Tom Wolf plans to publicize some of the private donations that'll cover the costs of his inauguration day and transition team.

On Tuesday, the transition team scheduled two disclosure dates - January 15 and March 30 - when Wolf will share who ponied up to pay for his inauguration day festivities and his transition team's costs.

It's typical for governors to get private sponsors to underwrite inauguration day, but Wolf said he didn't want to burden taxpayers with his transition, either.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:37 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Wednesday Rundown: Riverfront Resurgence with Lisa Schroeder

Discussing changes in the Pittsburgh's riverscape with outgoing Riverlife president and CEO Lisa Schroeder.
Credit Joseph / Flickr

These topics air Wednesday December 10, 2014 at noon and 8pm on 90.5 WESA. Join the conversation LIVE between 12pm & 1 pm weekdays at 412-246-2002.

Innovative Learning in Pittsburgh

Last week educational visionaries from the area who are rethinking education gathered for their annual summit. As part of the WESA’s Life of Learning Initiative we’ll explore what’s on the educational horizon with Cathy Lewis Long, Executive Director & President for The Sprout Fund.

WESA Celebrates - Deidre Kane and Dora Walmsley

A shared frustration of living in a food desert resulted in Deirdre Kane and Dora Walmsley opening up a neighborhood market in Lawrenceville that provides fresh, healthy food. The ladies and their effort are profiled in this week’s WESA Celebrates.

Winter Running Events

Like the postman, rain, snow or dark of night can't keep some runners indoors. If you’re a dedicated runner and can’t wait until the nice weather returns we’ve got good news for you. Fitness contributor Joe Vennare joins us with information about seven cold weather races taking place in Pittsburgh this winter.

Exit Interview

Riverlife recently announced the departure of President and CEO Lisa Schroeder. Before she leaves the Steel City we’ve invited her to Studio A for an exit interview about the recreation, economic and ecological aspects of Pittsburgh’s river fronts. 

Read more
Economy & Business
5:45 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

300 Luxury Apartments, New Office Buildings Coming to Strip District

"The Yards" is the residential component of a $130 million multi-use development project in the Strip District.
Credit Courtesy Oxford Development Company

More luxury apartments are coming to Pittsburgh, this time in the Strip District.

Oxford Development Company on Tuesday held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the residential and mixed-use development dubbed Three Crossings.

Vice President of Business Development Shawn Fox said the name is a nod to the Strip District’s industrial past and its residential future.

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Government & Politics
5:23 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Controller: Hertz Owes Allegheny County $750,000

The rental car company Hertz owes Allegheny County nearly three quarters of a million dollars, according to County Controller Chelsa Wagner.

Wagner found the error while auditing three years worth of activities at Pittsburgh International Airport. Car rental companies are to collect and send to the county a $2 per vehicle per day tax. Due to a computer glitch, Hertz Corporation had not been submitting the receipts to the county.

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Public Safety
5:20 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Homewood Teacher Reaches Settlement with City in False Arrest Lawsuit

The city of Pittsburgh has reached a settlement with Dennis Henderson, a teacher who was arrested in June 2013 outside of a community meeting on police/community relations.

Henderson and the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit against the arresting police officer, Jonathan Gromek. The settlement was reached after mediation.

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