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Flickr user John Marino

On Thursday evening, a required, routine emergency drill will be occurring at Pittsburgh International Airport. Officials want people to know so they are not alarmed, adding that the drill will not interfere with air traffic and will zero effect on travelers.

About 150 people including law enforcement from nearby municipalities and airport officials will participate in the four hour mock incident. The drill will start at 5 p.m.

looseends / Flickr

It’s part Chopped, part Guy Fieri’s Grocery Games, but with a local and educational twist.

Four students from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s culinary program will compete the in the first-ever Farmer’s Market Dash Culinary Challenge at the Green Tree farmer’s market Thursday afternoon.

Theme Parks And Rides To Make You Feel Like A Kid Again

Aug 19, 2015
Dave Herholz / flickr

While the amusement park celebrated in the 60’s pop song Palisades Park no longer exists, travel contributor Elaine Labalme says theme parks are alive and well. This week she takes us on a tour of some of the nation’s most exciting.

Why Doesn't Pennsylvania Have A State Fair?

Aug 19, 2015
Eve Hermann / flickr

Across the nation from New York to Alaska it seems like every state is showcasing the best it has to offer at a state fair. Well, that is every state but Pennsylvania. Why doesn’t the Keystone State have a state fair? Post-Gazette associate editor and columnist Jennifer Graham has been looking into the issue and shares her findings.

Lots Of Red Tape For Building Waterfront Projects In PA, But It Could Be Worse

Aug 19, 2015
Diana Robinson / WITF

Antonia Hinnencamp and a few friends are about to start a bike ride on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. The 6.5-mile paved stretch opened last spring, and Hinnencamp says she’s done it twice since then. She says it’s well worth the 20-minute trip from her hometown in Lancaster for such an ideal setting: flat, shaded, closed to pedestrians.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

If pornographic office e-mails are at the root of the criminal charges filed against Attorney General Kathleen Kane, new court orders unsealed Tuesday show that she could have released them, in full, as early as last December.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court unsealed two orders Tuesday in response to Kane's comments last week that a grand jury judge is blocking her efforts to expose a chain of raunchy e-mails exchanged by prosecutors and judges.

Adam Lederer / Flickr

Many Pittsburgh area students will return to school this month, bringing long-dormant, flashing “school zone” signs back to life.

Studies show that obeying school zone speed limits can save lives. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour is about two-thirds less likely to die than a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour.

AAA East Central is asking drivers to be patient as kids and parents get used to new schedules and school buses return the roads.

Mike Richards

What do 3-D printers, laser cutters and sewing/embroidery machines have in common? As of Tuesday, they are all available for use inside the Carnegie Science Center’s Sportsworks building in the digital fabrication lab, or “fab lab.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

Next month at Heinz Hall, former Steeler and decorated Vietnam veteran Rocky Bleier will perform a one man show about his life. It is described as an intimate portrait featuring highlights of Rocky's multi-faceted life as a four-time Super Bowl Champion, wounded warrior, family man and community activist. Rocky Bleier joins us in studio along with the man who wrote the play Gene Collier.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Now seven weeks late, state budget negotiations have prompted rallies and protests by community groups, non-profit organizations, service providers and citizens all imploring Gov. Tom Wolf and the General Assembly to come to a consensus.

The Grandparents Support Group added their voice to the mix Tuesday at a gathering outside East Hills-based A Second Chance Inc., an agency that serves children being cared for by relatives or family friends.

“We cannot do anything, not unless the budget is passed. Our children are our future – no budget, no future,” said Shirley Pinnock, a grandmother from Wilkinsburg.

Matt Rourke / AP Images

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane is facing questions for using the trappings of her public office in the course of defending herself against criminal charges.

Dauphin County activist Gene Stilp filed a complaint to the state Ethics Commission Monday, requesting an investigation into Kane’s use of public resources for what he sees as her own personal gain.

Bruce Fingerhood / flickr

Governor Tom Wolf released a report Monday by Dr. Allan Zarembski focused on the safety of Pennsylvanians and protecting people from the potential of Bakken crude oil train derailments. In the report, Dr. Zarembski presents 27 recommendations. He joins us by phone to discuss what they are.

 

Philadelphia Starts Small (And Cheap) With Delaware River Waterfront Revitalization

Aug 18, 2015
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

For a long time, Philadelphia's Delaware Riverfront was...underwhelming.

Each winter, the city operated a harbor-side ice skating rink. There were also summer concerts and festivals on the waterfront, bursts of life that would fizzle out as soon as the events ended.

But most of the time, people didn't venture down to the river. For one thing, getting to the waterfront requires finding a place to cross I-95, the 10-lane highway that cuts through the city.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

A tentative proposal from Gov. Tom Wolf to change state pensions isn't sparking much agreement.

The governor has floated a "scenario" under which he would scale back retirement benefits for state and school workers, but top Republicans say the changes don't go far enough.

"It's just not even in the ballpark of what we would think we could acceptably sell to Republican members in the Senate," said Drew Crompton, chief counsel to GOP Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati.

Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

Four out of 10 black people in Allegheny County wanting to buy a home are denied a mortgage. That's two times the rate of white applicants, according to data released Monday in the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group’s 21st Annual Mortgage Lending Study.

“The level of African American lending is extremely low compared to all other groups,” said Rachel Rue, researcher with the PCRG.

Brad / flickr

An Instagram post by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison has rekindled a national discussion on whether we’re making our kids 'too soft'. The issue he addresses is the awarding of participation trophies to kids sports. Has this practice gone too far? We’ll discuss the issue with Aimee Kimball, Mental Training Specialist for KPEX Consulting and Ashley Merryman, author of the New York Times essay Losing is Good for You and the book Top Dog: the Science of Winning and Losing.

Note: There were inappropriate comments from a caller in today's live show that have been edited out from our website, podcasts and 8pm rebroadcast tonight. We apologize for the on-air error.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

City officials and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy unveiled restoration plans Monday for the Westinghouse Memorial in Schenley Park.

The months-long restoration to the 85-year-old memorial will include a new storm water management system.

“The plan for controlling the water and sending it to the right places is a real important part of this,” said Meg Cheever, conservancy president.

Millennial Women Are Closing The Gender Wage Gap

Aug 17, 2015
Peter Tobia / PublicSource

Currently a freelancer, Philadelphia resident Jillian Ivey is faced with a dilemma about her future and identity as a young woman.

The 31-year-old communications strategist wants children with her husband of nearly three years, but she feels that being pregnant and caring for an infant would be a direct choice not to make money or build her career.

Expert Assesses Risk Of Oil Train Derailment In Pennsylvania

Aug 17, 2015
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

With as many as 70 oil trains rumbling across Pennsylvania each week, the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday released a series of recommendations meant to reduce the risk of a catastrophic derailment, including reduced speeds through cities, beefed-up track inspections and a call for trackside communities to plan for an emergency.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

A close confidant to state Attorney General Kathleen Kane remains on the job, despite having been criminally charged for allegedly accessing secret grand jury information on her behalf.

Patrick Reese, a special agent who is part of Kane’s protection detail, was charged by Montgomery County prosecutors over a week ago in connection to the criminal case against Kane.

Gerry Dincher / flickr

A coalition representing students attending Mars Area School District teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union to fight a lawsuit brought by shale drilling corporations that contends the group’s actions are halting appropriate and legal drilling opportunities.

ACLU of Pennsylvania Legal Director Vic Walczak called the suit filed by Dewey Homes & Investment Properties a "SLAPP" suit, or strategic lawsuit against public participation. Such suits have been made illegal in nearly half of U.S. states including Pennsylvania.

“What these are is lawsuits that really have no merit that are typically filed by corporate interests, often developers, against political opponents," Walczak said. "And they have virtually no chance of succeeding.”

Two separate University of Pittsburgh research groups have received funding from America Makes to improve design development for three-dimensional printing.

Directed by faculty in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, the two projects will receive more than $1.7 million.

Each group has a different approach to 3-D printing research. One group, led by Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and material science, focuses on the design aspect of 3-D printing. The second group’s focus is on the process of additive manufacturing.

The Historic Waterfront Development That Helped Transform Pittsburgh: Point State Park

Aug 17, 2015
Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

On a recent weekend stroll at Point State Park, in Pittsburgh, visitors sunned themselves in the grass and along the low walls of the park. The park is a triangle of green at the very place where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet to form the Ohio River. At the tip of the Point kids splashed in a fountain, and a rainbow shimmered through the spray. Looking east along the rivers bridges stitched the city together with yellow seams.

Prolonged seizures can happen to anyone, at any age and depending on the severity, can affect the ability to think and remember, function normally and live independently. A clinical trial at 39 medical centers across the U.S. aims to determine what the best emergency room treatment is.

Currently, there is no standardized protocol for emergency treatment of a seizure or recurrent seizure lasting longer than five minutes. There are three commonly used medications given in emergency departments to treat the seizures, but which one is given depends on a number of factors, including physician preference.

For the last several years, a nationwide effort to connect veterans with a multitude of services has been growing; in September Stand Down Pittsburgh is holding its 8th annual event.

“What Stand Down is is the community’s attempt to work with the homeless veteran population, in this case within Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, and really try to provide respite services as well as connections to potential services that veterans who are homeless or near homeless may not be aware of,” said Jesse Rodriguez, chief development and finance officer with the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania.

22 Pirates Baseball Hats Sent To Cuba From Pittsburgh

Aug 17, 2015
Mayor Bill Peduto

Cubans love baseball. They especially love former Pittsburgh Pirate and Puerto Rican native Roberto Clemente so when Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto led a delegation of business leaders to the island nation in May, it was no surprise that the Pirates and Clemente often came up in conversation. 

What was a surprise was the email Bill Peduto received after returning home.

American Public Media

 Beginning Monday, August 17th, 90.5 WESA will air Newshour from the BBC World Service at 9:00 a.m. weekdays.

The program is hosted by Razia Iqbal, who grew up listening to the World Service in Nairobi, Kenya.

Iqbal recently spoke with 90.5 WESA morning host Josh Raulerson about how she came to work there.

 

State Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) is urging the Senate to take action before a program that provides a financial benefit to Gulf War veterans expires at the end of August.

State legislature isn’t scheduled to officially reconvene until Sept. 21. 

“[I’m] asking the Senate to come back prior to Aug. 31 and pass this no-brainer of a bill so that the veterans don’t have a lapse in benefits,” Sabatina said.

Allegheny CleanWays

At last count, Joe Divack noted 15 abandoned garages and more than 30 trashed, vacant lots in Beltzhoover, most so overgrown he said he’d need a machete just to uncover it all.

Overhauling those sites will be the next year-long focus for the Clean Pittsburgh Commission’s new effort to reclaim blighted Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

Pittsburgh's Zone 4 police are warning homeowners in Shadyside, Squirrel Hill and Point Breeze to be alert for thieves attempting to steal copper downspouts like those affixed to drainage gutters.

Commander Daniel Herrmann said he's collected more than 25  theft reports since June.

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