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Order! Order! It’s time for Social Club. If you are like WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel,  you have been watching way too much Netflix, so it’s time to go out and explore all the fun things going on in the city. You can always watch Making a Murderer and Jessica Jones when you get back.

'Suitable' Helps Connect College Students To Future Careers

Jan 14, 2016
Suitable / Facebook

To help college students be better prepared for the real world, Mark Visco came up with an idea. The result is Suitable a startup company tracking students out of classroom experiences. Mark Visco joins us to explain how his company could be a game-changer for college students.

Matt Rourke / AP

One legacy of Pennsylvania’s 2015 budget gridlock may prove to be the wave of retirement announcements from longtime state lawmakers.

More than a dozen House and Senate members are calling it quits, most of them with more than a decade of service under their belts.

Their reasons vary.

“Let me put it this way: the impasse didn’t convince me to stay,” said Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery), elected in 2006.

“The art of compromise needs to be revisited in the Capitol,” Vereb said, “and I think the art of the deal – someone should read up on it.”

Pittsburgh Today

People of color who live in the city are significantly less likely to recommend Pittsburgh and say race plays a more significant role in their jobs than their white counterparts. 

That was the finding of a survey done by the University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh. It’s called the Pittsburgh Regional Diversity Survey.

Western PA's Community Colleges In Decline?

Jan 14, 2016
State Farm / flickr

Community colleges are praised for their ability to provide a quality education at an affordable price. In addition, they've been a resource for communities when workers need retraining. However, declining enrollment is one of the challenges facing two-year colleges in western PA. Joining us to address this issue are Quintin Bullock, president of Community College of Allegheny County and Chris Reber, president of the Community College of Beaver County.

Daniel Lobo / flickr

Pittsburgh public transit users could pay less to ride the bus, or T, starting next year.

Allegheny County Port Authority officials are considering a flat $2.50 fare for one-way rides on the city's light rail and bus lines. It would be the system's first fare decrease in 35 years.

Customers currently maneuver two fare zones; a trip through one costs $2.50 and riding through two costs $3.75.

Keith Srakocic / AP

During his final state of the union address, Pres. Barack Obama once again called for support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. But Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who usually lines up politically with the president, said it is a bad idea.

Ken Marshall / Flickr

State lawmakers are bracing for a dizzying prospect: planning the next fiscal year’s spending before the current year’s budget has been finalized.

Dates are set for Governor Tom Wolf’s February budget address and the legislative hearings that follow.

“I will say it will be a little bit different if we don’t have a budget concluded,” said Republican House Majority Leader Dave Reed.

Matt Rourke / AP

Ed Rendell blew into Harrisburg Tuesday, late to a hearing and wearing running shoes with his suit, to tell the state Senate they’ve got it all wrong when it comes to state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

The former Democratic governor was a last-minute testifier at a hearing meant to give Kane a chance to defend herself from suggestions that she be removed. Kane did not attend, though she sent her chief of staff.

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

During his first regular visit to Essential Pittsburgh of 2016, Mayor Bill Peduto previewed what is projected to be a great year in the Steel City.

Tuesday morning marked Mayor Peduto’s official announcement of Wendell Hissrich as the city’s new acting Public Safety Director.  A Forest Hills native, volunteer firefighter, and Duquesne University graduate, Hissrich’s extensive resume includes work with Pittsburgh EMS, as well as 25 years with the FBI.  Mayor Peduto says that with Hissrich’s diverse background, the public safety department is adopting a new focus centralized in community outreach.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto officially introduced Acting Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich Tuesday morning, two weeks after announcing the hiring of the former Pittsburgh paramedic.

Burfict Ending? Evaluating Last Week's Steelers Wild Card Game

Jan 12, 2016
Gary Landers / AP Images

It's being called one of the greatest games in Pittsburgh Steelers history. Their come from behind 18-16 playoff victory over the arch rival Cincinnati Bengals was filled with thrilling, hold-your-breath moments. But there were plenty of ugly ones provided by several players including Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict who knocked the Steelers' two biggest offensive stars out of the game. In the wake of the release of the movie "Concussion," is this the image that the NFL wants to project? We'll put that question to John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and the Director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism an Penn State.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Would you leave your travel plans in the hands of a stranger not knowing where you’re going until you’ve reached your point of departure? Our guest Lillian Rafson, founder and CEO of the start-up Pack Up & Go bet on this premise when she made her pitch to the judges of the Invest in Her competition. The result - she won the competition which came with a cash prize to fund the venture.

swong95765 / flickr

The Pittsburgh International Airport is adding nonstop flights to Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga. and expanding nonstop service to Paris. The airport also announced Frontier Airlines will return in June, with nonstop flights to five cities.

Frontier will fly to Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas and Orlando Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The airline will fly to Chicago on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.   

The destinations are already serviced nonstop by other carriers, but Spokesman Bob Kerlik said the added airline gives travelers more options.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Works crews will continue to work 12-hour shifts for the duration of the current snowfall event, according to city spokesperson Katie O’Malley.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

    

New research found that one hookah session could leave you with much higher rates of toxicants than a cigarette.

University of Pittsburgh researchers took the findings of 542 scientific articles and pared them down to 17 studies comparing hookah use to smoking cigarettes. 

Imagens Evangélicas / Flickr

State legislators touted Pennsylvania’s improvements in anti-human trafficking laws, as Monday marked the 9th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Evan Vucci / AP Images

President Obama is set to deliver his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress tonight. His speech is expected to be “non-traditional,” focusing more on his legacy as president and less on work with the legislature. Many speculate he’ll also return to his original campaign mantra of “hope,” encouraging every American that they have the ability to succeed.  Here to preview the President’s address is Dr. Jerry Shuster, University of Pittsburgh professor of presidential rhetoric and political communication. 

Parker Knight / Flickr

A slate of changes to the state’s early childhood development and learning programs are in the works, including extending how long children can access subsidized child care and providing more assistance to low-income families.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The 100 school crossing guards in Pittsburgh are training this month to learn how to effectively mentor the students who cross their paths.

The Buhl Foundation offered a $25,000 grant to Allies for Children, which is training the crossing guards as part of the Everyday Mentors program.

East End's 'Print' Returns To Neighborhood Reporting

Jan 11, 2016
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A new newspaper has been started in the East End. It's called "Print" because it's not on the web. It's a throw back to the days of the community weekly and even carries the police blotter and the school lunch menu. We'll talk with "Print" founders Ann Belser and Brian Hyslop.

Bridget Coila / flickr

For couples living with mixed HIV status, risk and stigma are unavoidable.  The infected partner carries the medical burden associated with their positive status and the uninfected partner must take precautions to prevent transmission. For couples wanting to conceive a child, however, these issues present greater challenges.  Fortunately for two families, the parent’s serodiscordant status didn’t stop them from having a healthy, uninfected baby.  The stories of these couples are chronicled by author and journalist Heather Boerner in “Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science’s Surprising Victory Over HIV.”

PA House of Representatives

 

A veteran Democrat state lawmaker from Pittsburgh's western suburbs is retiring.

State Rep. Nick Kotik, of Robinson Township, says he won't run to retain his 45th District House seat this year.

Kotik was elected in 2002 and is the House Democratic Chairman of the Gaming Oversight Committee. He is known for leading the contingent of Blue Dog Democrats, socially conservative lawmakers mostly from western Pennsylvania.

Kotik recently turned 65 and says seven terms in the House is long enough to serve.

Kotik lives in Robinson Township.

Legendary Musician David Bowie Dies Of Cancer At 69

Jan 11, 2016
Associated Press

David Bowie, the other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, nonconformity, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust, died of cancer Sunday. 

daveynin / flickr

Nearly six years after CONSOL Energy Center's completion, officials say it still doesn't have the public art that was promised along with the building. 

Pennsylvania DEP / YouTube

Pennsylvania health officials are urging residents to be aware of a deadly gas that is found in many homes, radon. It’s is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause lung cancer.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Health. January is National Radon Action Month and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is trying to raise awareness through statewide public service announcements.

Naosuke / flickr

Citing the withholding of state and federal school funding “illegal” and “unconstitutional,” the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is suing Governor Tom Wolf and the state legislature, calling for courts to weigh in and force the state to pass through federal funds.

Harrisburg Pulls Police From NRA Show Security Detail

Jan 10, 2016
Emily Previti / Keystone Crossroads

 

The Great American Outdoor Show's brought tens of millions of tourism dollars to the Capitol region for 25 years.

It's also sponsored by the NRA.

This February, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse says police won't provide security inside the Farm Show Complex, as is customary.

Papenfuse says his decision is tied to the NRA's support of the state law that made it easier to sue Pennsylvania cities over their firearms ordinances. 

darkday / Flickr

A Pennsylvania water authority has turned down a $65 million grant that would have allowed the group to replace its 100-year-old water system.

The Cambria Somerset Authority voted to reject the offer Thursday, saying the deal was legally feasible for the public authority.

Commercial Real Estate Financing CEO Terry Smith says his firm is distributing $400 million in United Nations grants for green energy projects. Smith says he could give the authority funds to replace all 22 miles of pipelines, but the board would have to sign an agreement by Monday.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

It’s not just Friday, it’s Steelers Friday.

The Courthouse Courtyard was a sea of black and gold Friday as enthusiastic Steelers fan gathered for a playoff rally. The team will take on the Cincinnati Bengals in a last-chance wild card bid at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he sensed the energy all over town.

“It’s not exactly Steeler weather, but tomorrow it’s going to be, when we come back with a victory,” he said. 

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