Advocates are pushing a state proposal to make caregivers a more central part of a patient’s care.

UPMC Stops Transplants Following Mold Outbreak

Sep 23, 2015
Dr. Amesh Adalja /

Following a mold outbreak last week that infected four transplant patients at UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore, the hospital system has temporarily halted their transplant program. Three of the four patients have since died, although it’s not been confirmed whether the infections were the culprit.  Pittsburgh-based infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh Adalja explained to Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer that mold is particularly difficult to contain because it’s so easy to spread.

A spokesman for state Attorney General Kathleen Kane says he doesn’t know when she will follow through on her latest promise to release all uncovered pornographic e-mails exchanged with current and former employees of the Office of Attorney General.

Catholic Church of England and Wales

More than 1,000 pilgrims from the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will be in Philadelphia to attend the World Meeting of Families Congress. But the bigger draw is the pontiff's first visit to the United States.

Official White House photo / Pete Souza

How Pittsburgh and Allegheny County can increase opportunities for boys and young men of color is the focus of two local forums this week.

screenshot from CPRB hearing video

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Pittsburgh and an officer with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police alleging intimidation and harassment of three black residents in September 2013.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto submitted Tuesday a $517.5 million operating budget for 2016 to the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. The spending plan, which comes with no tax increases, is nearly $10 million, or 1.9 percent, more than this year’s budget. 

'Emerge Pennsylvania' Encourages Women To Run For Office

Sep 22, 2015
Rep. Pam Snyder / Facebook

Pennsylvania does not get high marks when it comes to women in political office. There are no women in the entire Congressional delegation, and the commonwealth has never elected a female governor or U.S. Senator. 

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

From vegetable garden bounties to sliced and diced ingredients to plated meals, pictures of food are ubiquitous on social media. Anyone with a smartphone can make beautiful photographs of food.

Workplace Diversity Low In Pittsburgh Region

Sep 22, 2015
Perry Quan / flickr

Flashback to Pittsburgh in the 1950s and 60s: steel mills thrived, the economy boomed and the region was a destination for minorities looking to secure a job and start a life.  This reputation, however, began a decline throughout the next couple decades.  In a study released this year by Pittsburgh Today and Vibrant Pittsburgh, the area’s workforce ranked lowest among 15 comparable regions. Pittsburgh Today director Doug Heuck says the problem started more than 30 years ago. 

Dan Moyle / Flickr

  Southwestern Pennsylvania experienced a summer surge in home listings this year, according to a report by West Penn Multi-List, Inc.

Supporters and opponents of House Bill 1506, which would make English the official state language in Pennsylvania, testified Monday at a House Committee hearing.

Under the legislation, introduced by Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette), all state government documents would be required to be in English.

It would be illegal to sell or transport powdered alcohol in Pennsylvania under Senate Bill 773, which passed the Senate unanimously last week (49-0).

“This is a gigantic step toward protecting our young people in our state today” said Senator Shirley Kitchen (D-Philadelphia), who authored the measure.

Court Suspends PA Attorney General's Law License

Sep 21, 2015
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Pennsylvania's highest court on Monday ordered the temporary suspension of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's law license, a step that could trigger efforts to remove her from office as she fights criminal charges.

Pittsburgh Code For America Fellows Working In City Hall

Sep 21, 2015
Code for America / flickr

Code for America fellows are a group of young, tech-savvy individuals who travel throughout the country working to improve the accessibility and delivery of public services. In Pittsburgh, they’re collaborating with officials in City Hall to implement more efficient software to ease the daily tasks of city workers and Pittsburgh residents.  2015 Code for America Fellows Patrick Hammons and Shelly Ni stop by Essential Pittsburgh to explain their mission here in the Steel City and describe their newest creation, “Beacon.

'Nanograms' Looks At World Of Tomorrow, Today

Sep 21, 2015
90.5 WESA

Premiering on the 24th, a new program will join the 90.5 WESA line up. “Nanograms” is a podcast created from the mind of Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson.  The show looks at technology and its impact on culture, or, as the show’s tag line reads “brief messages from the very near future.”

Implementing Accessible Technology Throughout Pittsburgh

Sep 21, 2015
Michael Coghlan / flickr

Handheld supercomputers, or, what we all know as smartphones, are increasing our access to information more than ever.  Pittsburgh is full of developers and engineers who want to tap into the abilities of that tiny device and improve the lives of individuals by delivering resources directly to their fingers. Representatives from PNC, Carnegie Mellon UniversityIagnosis, NoWait, Better Body ImageSavvior and Tagalong Tours share why the created their “apps” and what need they aim to fill.

Cotholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

Thousands of Pittsburghers will travel to Philadelphia this week to see Pope Francis including Pittsburgh Catholic Dioceses Bishop David Zubik. 

The papal visit will likely occur surprise-free, Zubik said. Unlike Pope Paul II -- known as a philosopher -- and Pope Benedict XVI, who was a theologian, Pope Francis has built his reign on the pastoral relationship between the Vatican and the common men and women it serves.

todo / flickr

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is asking residents to help develop a plan to cut carbon pollution in the state.

The EPA finalized the Clean Power Plan on Aug. 3. It’s the first set of national standards to limit carbon emissions from power plants, the largest source of emissions in the U.S.

The plan sets to reduce 2005 emission levels nationally by 32 percent by 2030.

Each state will have to write an implementation plan with. The first listening session in Allegheny County is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 21 on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus.

International Peace Day

  The United Nations established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to raise awareness about how violent behavior affects nations, schools and families alike, encouraging cease fires in war-torn nations and local reflection on how individual action affects others.

For the 15th year, Pittsburgh is participating with a rally, non-denominational prayer service and a festival. Sister Barbara Finch, the co-founder and co-organizer of the local observance of the International Day of Peace, said locals can take this as an opportunity to assess.

Dylan Lovan / AP Photo

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is wrapping up his week-long, 10-city "Ready for Success" bus tour in Pittsburgh today. Duncan held a rally this afternoon for students at Barack Obama Academy of International Studies in East Liberty and appeared at Carnegie Mellon University to discuss college access and STEM education. He spoke with Essential Pittsburgh host Paul Guggenheimer about why he felt it was important to make Pittsburgh part of the tour.

The state Senate has passed what may be a doomed interim state budget meant to get public money flowing again to schools, social services providers, and a variety of other projects.

Debate wrapped up quickly Friday as the Republican-controlled Senate voted along party lines to pass the stopgap budget.

Gov. Tom Wolf has vowed to veto the package, criticizing the GOP’s concern for schools and social services as disingenuous.

Courtesy: City of Pittsburgh

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority a $1.2 million grant for transit-related development in Uptown.

Development carved through Uptown, Oakland, Downtown and the East End, known to senior city planner Justin Miller as the “EcoInnovation District,” is designed to make more effective use of the city's resources as a key component to its Bus Rapid Transit corridor.

Andrew Rush / AP Images

Keeping the family intact, streamlining the annulment process and the “Pope Francis effect” were among the topics addressed by Pittsburgh Catholic Dioceses Bishop David Zubik in a wide-ranging discussion on 90.5 WESA Essential Pittsburgh Friday. 

Life Lessons From Being A Big Brother Or Big Sister

Sep 17, 2015
Big Brothers Big Sisters

Mentoring is one of the most important roles members of Big Brother Big Sister can play in the role of their “little.”  However, the “big” also benefits from the relationship. According to Tom Baker, chief community affairs officer at Big Brothers Big Sisters, “Being a ‘big’ I always say has been the second best decision of my life after marrying my wife.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

The Midwife Center in the Strip District expects 470 babies will be born at the center this year, almost double the births five years ago.

Executive Director Christine Haas said this increase is reflected nationally as women want more options and a holistic approach to pregnancy.

Constistency Is Key To Successful Big/Little Relationships

Sep 17, 2015
Big Brothers Big Sisters

When Kara Olsen’s father died while she was growing up in Cincinnati,  a void was left in her family. Luckily, one organization was there to help fill that void; Big Brothers Big Sisters. Now a part of the Pittsburgh branch, Olsen spoke with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to tell her story of how having a big sister changed her life.

    Even with the fire alarm going, Josh and Rachel are DETERMINED to bring you all things social going on in Pittsburgh. They are so brave.

Carnegie Science Center 21+ Night- Robots is happening Friday, September 18th.  Learn about all things robotic, check out some of the most famous robots around, see the Omnimax theater, listen to live music and enjoy some great food. The Omnimax will be showing the film ROBOTS. It’s only $10!

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director, Stephen Bucar, will leave his post next month, Mayor Bill Peduto’s office announced Thursday. 

Bucar accepted a position as Deputy Commissioner of Staff with the Pennsylvania State Police in Harrisburg. He was hired by Peduto in May 2014 following a national search.

Pittsburgh Public Schools /

Middle and high school students from the Wilkinsburg Public School District could be going to Pittsburgh schools next year. 

In a joint move Wednesday night, the Wilkinsburg district announced it will close its grades 7-12 school building and send those 200-plus students to Westinghouse 6-12 next year.  The plan is still pending approval next month by the boards of both districts.