News

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Health insurer Highmark is launching a new mobile health clinic in an attempt to bring care to those who find it difficult to get to the doctor’s office.

Anna Haensch / LMFDB

So much of our lives are lived online these days. Whether it’s paying bills or socializing the concern about keeping our personal information is ever-present. However, a team of mathematicians from around the world have been working on a database that will make our internet, credit and debit transactions even more secure. Our guest, Anna Haensch, assistant professor of mathematics at Duquesne University has been part of this effort and joins us to explain how it will impact our lives.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

  A few blocks from where City of Asylum writers live and work during their residency, is the former Masonic Building. The organization is redeveloping that building into a permanent home for staff. The 9,000-square-foot building will also serve as a venue for the artists’ events.

For the past decade, writers exiled from their native countries have lived in housing on Sampsonia Way. Board member and poet Toi Derricotte said that street became a sanctuary for writers to continue their work.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

A recent effort to collect teddy bears for Pittsburgh police officers to hand out to children in emergency situations far outstripped its intended scope.

Melinda Roeder / 90.5 WESA

A doctorate project-turned-start up by two University of Pittsburgh students has grown from its days sharing a space at AlphaLab in East Liberty.

Kasey Catt and Noah Snyder first started InterPhase Materials with the intent of developing nontoxic coatings to be used inside the body for brain or dental implants. But after hitting roadblocks with the FDA, they refocused their efforts on coatings to keep marine life, such as mussels and barnacles, and mold from sticking to boats and buildings. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

It’s remake learning week in in Pittsburgh and one of the ways learning is being “remade” is through a national effort known as the Digital Promise, which aims to put more technology into schools.  The White House-supported program has launched an additional effort it is calling the Maker Promise. Karen Cator, CEO, Digital Promise, said the maker concept incorporates several skills that are important into the workplace. 

FAME Fund Provides Resources And Support For Minority Students

May 10, 2016
FAME Academy / Facebook

Providing scholarships to minority students will help create a stronger, more diverse future for the city of Pittsburgh, says Darryl Wiley, CEO of the Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education, or FAME.

Flickr user Macroscopic Solutions

Pennsylvania has 58 separate species of non-native forest pests threatening trees and plant life, according to a new study out Tuesday in the journal Ecological Applications.

“That’s second only to New York state in terms of the number of pests,” said lead author Gary Lovett, senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in upstate New York.

Discover How Pittsburgh Became A Leader In 'Remaking Learning'

May 10, 2016
Alan Cleaver / flickr

Education is constantly evolving and has come a long way since the days of the “new math.” Remake learning is the latest trend in education. Emphasizing digital learning, creativity and innovation we’ll discover how Pittsburgh has become a leader in this movement with Anne Sekula, director of the Remake Learning Council. Also taking part in the conversation is Kevin Gavin, WESA’s executive producer for special projects. 

CDC

The number of Pennsylvanians infected with acute hepatitis C more than doubled from 2009 to 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC report shows that after the infection rate leveled off for a few years, it jumped from 39 cases per every 100,000 Pennsylvanians in 2009 to 81 in 2013, the latest year data is available. That translates to about 10,000 Pennsylvanians currently living with the liver disease.

In 1680, English nobleman Edward Coke codified his country's common law regarding fetal homicide.

"[T]his is a great misdemeanour, and no murder," Coke wrote of the intentional death of a fetus in utero "by Potion, Battery, or other cause."

Remake Learning

Learning doesn’t just have to happen in a classroom.

That’s the message that education groups and members of the Remake Learning Network hope to send by hosting more than 280 events this week. The events will promote innovative educational opportunities for children with hands-on learning such as woodworking, sewing, robotics, 3-D printing and student-led panels.

"Remake Learning" is an expression used to describe the idea that children can learn anytime and anywhere, including at museums and libraries.

Molly Riley / AP Images

Prior to 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs faced a great deal of negative press for allegations of mishandling medical care for veterans, including the creation of false waiting lists that delayed crucial treatment. Since the appointment of Robert McDonald in 2014, the department has conducted an evaluation and drafted new strategies to improve the way Veterans Affairs operates.  

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

 

Harrisburg has a corruption problem. The current trial against former mayor Stephen Reed, who is fighting 449 counts of theft, bribery and racketeering that he accumulated during his nearly three decades of public service, is only the latest example of a public official misbehaving in our state's capital.

John Amis / AP

School nurses in Allegheny County will soon begin reporting HPV vaccination rates to the county Health Department.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

All taxpayers in Pennsylvania pay for the state police, and the state police serves all taxpayers. It just serves some taxpayers a bit more.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, 1,287 of the 2,561 municipalities in Pennsylvania have no local police force. 

Don Stranger

Ask a Pittsburgher where the best pizza in the city is and you’re bound to get a different answer depending on which pie lover you ask.

For anyone looking to make an informed decision, more than a dozen pizza shops will come together May 14 for the second Steel City Pizza Fest in Lawrenceville.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

The spread of the Zika virus has researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health partnering with a Brazilian foundation to find a cure. Zika is a mosquito borne virus that can also be transmitted sexually. We'll talk with Dr. Ernesto Marques, a native of Brazil and a professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at Pitt who says his long-term goal is to develop a Zika vaccine. Also joining us in studio is Pitt epidemiology professor Jennifer Adibi.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Lindsey Coy and Mindi Doyle work in a nice office Downtown for People’s Natural Gas, but they spent the last week counting down the days until they could sand off layers of peeling paint from an old East McKeesport door.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Images

New information in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal shocked many Thursday when a line in a court document alleged Penn State University head coach Joe Paterno was aware of Sandusky's molestation of children as early as 1976. PennLive reporter Charles Thompson broke the story and joined us with the context of the allegations and how PSU fans have responded.

ESO / M. Kornmesser via AP Images

The transit of Mercury, a rare planetary event, will take place on Monday, May 9th. In other celestial three Earth-like planets have been discovered around a red-dwarf star. Joining us to explain the scientific significance of this news is Point Park University professor and astrophysicist Brendan Mullan.

Megan Fair / 90.5 WESA

Carnegie Science Center visitors can check out the USGA's "American Golf History-Coming To Life" experience in Highmark Sportsworks. We'll talk with Eric Steighner about the custom golf simulator that allows visitors to try hitting a golf ball with period-specific clubs from the 1930's to the modern era.  

Celebrating Oakmont's Love Affair With The U.S. Open

May 6, 2016
Krzysztof Urbanowicz / flickr

The U.S. Open golf tournament has been held at Oakmont Country Club eight times, more than any other course. Why does the U.S. Open keep coming back to Oakmont? And what are some of the great moments that have happened there. We'll talk with USGA historian Victoria Student who is also bringing the U.S. Open trophy to our studio.

    Guess what? It is our 100th episode of Social Club!  Thank you to all who have listened and helped us to make Social Club so special! For this special occasion, let’s do what we do best. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on all the weekend’s events. Grab mom and go out and explore the city this Mother’s Day weekend.

Felipe Dana / AP

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is stepping up its efforts to learn about the Zika virus, which has been linked to an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil and other parts of Latin America.

South Hills Interfaith Movement / Facebook

Every Monday and Friday Marisa Niwa spends time with her father volunteering at the South Hills Interfaith Movement, or SHIM, food pantry.

“I volunteer and keep things neat and organized," said Niwa's father, Joe Murray. 

Murray said he, his wife and their daughter have a long history of doing volunteer work for people with intellectual disabilities, but when the opportunity at SHIM came up, they thought they would give it a try.

Officials Investigating Pipeline Explosion In Western Pennsylvania

May 6, 2016
Kerry Jobe / AP

  Last Friday, a natural gas pipeline exploded in Westmoreland County, just east of Pittsburgh. One man was hospitalized after his house went up in flames, while other nearby homes were damaged and residents were evacuated.

This week, armed security guards blocked off the site of the explosion, as federal pipeline investigators worked with the owner of the pipeline and state officials to determine the cause of the blast.

The underground pipeline, which is owned by Spectra Energy, carries natural gas from the Gulf Coast to the northeastern U.S. It was built in 1981.

UPMC Magee Women's Hospital

In a quiet, dimly-lit room of UPMC's Magee-Women's Hospital in Oakland, volunteer "cuddler" Donna Comfort held a tiny newborn in her arms. The baby was one of at least five in the hospital born dependent on heroin, prescription painkillers, addiction treatment medication or another form of opioid.

Alan Levine / Flickr

A report released Thursday by the Allegheny Health Network found a high rate of asthma in Allegheny County elementary school students. The study suggests poor air quality is partially responsible for the pervasive incidences of childhood asthma in the Pittsburgh region.

Deborah Gentile, the director of allergy and asthma clinical research at Allegheny Health Network, surveyed 267 fifth graders in the county and found 29 percent had asthma and 11 percent more were at risk of developing the disease.

Flickr user jrgcastro

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has signed a letter of intent to pursue an affiliation with a north-central Pennsylvania hospital network.

Susquehanna Health and UPMC jointly announced the letter of intent Thursday.

The details of the affiliation have yet to be determined.

Susquehanna serves 11 counties through four hospitals, Divine Providence, Muncy Valley, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial and Williamsport Regional Medical Center.

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